Tetragon Daemon Configuration

Configure Tetragon daemon

Tetragon default controlling settings are set during compilation, so configuration is only needed when it is necessary to deviate from those defaults. This document lists those controlling settings and how they can be set as a CLI arguments or as configuration options from YAML files.

Tetragon Controlling Settings

Tetragon CLI arguments:

Tetragon - eBPF-based Security Observability and Runtime Enforcement

  tetragon [flags]

      --bpf-lib string                            Location of Tetragon libs (btf and bpf files) (default "/var/lib/tetragon/")
      --btf string                                Location of btf
      --config-dir string                         Configuration directory that contains a file for each option
      --data-cache-size int                       Size of the data events cache (default 1024)
  -d, --debug                                     Enable debug messages. Equivalent to '--log-level=debug'
      --disable-kprobe-multi                      Allow to disable kprobe multi interface
      --enable-export-aggregation                 Enable JSON export aggregation
      --enable-k8s-api                            Access Kubernetes API to associate Tetragon events with Kubernetes pods
      --enable-msg-handling-latency               Enable metrics for message handling latency
      --enable-pid-set-filter                     Enable pidSet export filters. Not recommended for production use
      --enable-pod-info                           Enable PodInfo custom resource
      --enable-policy-filter                      Enable policy filter code (beta)
      --enable-policy-filter-debug                Enable policy filter debug messages
      --enable-process-ancestors                  Include ancestors in process exec events (default true)
      --enable-process-cred                       Enable process_cred events
      --enable-process-ns                         Enable namespace information in process_exec and process_kprobe events
      --event-queue-size uint                     Set the size of the internal event queue. (default 10000)
      --export-aggregation-buffer-size uint       Aggregator channel buffer size (default 10000)
      --export-aggregation-window-size duration   JSON export aggregation time window (default 15s)
      --export-allowlist string                   JSON export allowlist
      --export-denylist string                    JSON export denylist
      --export-file-compress                      Compress rotated JSON export files
      --export-file-max-backups int               Number of rotated JSON export files to retain (default 5)
      --export-file-max-size-mb int               Size in MB for rotating JSON export files (default 10)
      --export-file-perm string                   Access permissions on JSON export files (default "600")
      --export-file-rotation-interval duration    Interval at which to rotate JSON export files in addition to rotating them by size
      --export-filename string                    Filename for JSON export. Disabled by default
      --export-rate-limit int                     Rate limit (per minute) for event export. Set to -1 to disable (default -1)
      --expose-kernel-addresses                   Expose real kernel addresses in events stack traces
      --field-filters string                      Field filters for event exports
      --force-large-progs                         Force loading large programs, even in kernels with < 5.3 versions
      --force-small-progs                         Force loading small programs, even in kernels with >= 5.3 versions
      --gops-address string                       gops server address (e.g. 'localhost:8118'). Disabled by default
  -h, --help                                      help for tetragon
      --k8s-kubeconfig-path string                Absolute path of the kubernetes kubeconfig file
      --kernel string                             Kernel version
      --kmods strings                             List of kernel modules to load symbols from
      --log-format string                         Set log format (default "text")
      --log-level string                          Set log level (default "info")
      --metrics-label-filter string               Comma-separated list of enabled metric labels. (e.g. "namespace,workload,pod,binary") By default all labels are enabled.
      --metrics-server string                     Metrics server address (e.g. ':2112'). Disabled by default
      --netns-dir string                          Network namespace dir (default "/var/run/docker/netns/")
      --process-cache-size int                    Size of the process cache (default 65536)
      --procfs string                             Location of procfs to consume existing PIDs (default "/proc/")
      --rb-queue-size string                      Set size of channel between ring buffer and sensor go routines (default 65k, allows K/M/G suffix) (default "65535")
      --rb-size string                            Set perf ring buffer size for single cpu (default 65k, allows K/M/G suffix) (default "0")
      --rb-size-total string                      Set perf ring buffer size in total for all cpus (default 65k per cpu, allows K/M/G suffix) (default "0")
      --release-pinned-bpf                        Release all pinned BPF programs and maps in Tetragon BPF directory. Enabled by default. Set to false to disable (default true)
      --server-address string                     gRPC server address (e.g. 'localhost:54321' or 'unix:///var/run/tetragon/tetragon.sock' (default "localhost:54321")
      --tracing-policy string                     Tracing policy file to load at startup
      --tracing-policy-dir string                 Directory from where to load Tracing Policies (default "/etc/tetragon/tetragon.tp.d")
      --verbose int                               set verbosity level for eBPF verifier dumps. Pass 0 for silent, 1 for truncated logs, 2 for a full dump

Configuration precedence

Tetragon controlling settings can also be loaded from YAML configuration files according to this order:

  1. From the drop-in configuration snippets inside the following directories where each filename maps to one controlling setting and the content of the file to its corresponding value:

    • /usr/lib/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/*
    • /usr/local/lib/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/*
  2. From the configuration file /etc/tetragon/tetragon.yaml if available, overriding previous settings.

  3. From the drop-in configuration snippets inside /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/*, similarly overriding previous settings.

  4. If the config-dir setting is set, Tetragon loads its settings from the files inside the directory pointed by this option, overriding previous controlling settings. The config-dir is also part of Kubernetes ConfigMap.

When reading configuration from directories, each filename maps to one controlling setting. If the same controlling setting is set multiple times, then the last value or content of that file overrides the previous ones.

To summarize the configuration precedence:

  1. Drop-in directory pointed by --config-dir.

  2. Drop-in directory /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/*.

  3. Configuration file /etc/tetragon/tetragon.yaml.

  4. Drop-in directories:

    • /usr/local/lib/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/*
    • /usr/lib/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/*

Configuration examples

The examples/configuration/tetragon.yaml file contains example entries showing the defaults as a guide to the administrator. Local overrides can be created by editing and copying this file into /etc/tetragon/tetragon.yaml, or by editing and copying “drop-ins” from the examples/configuration/tetragon.conf.d directory into the /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/ subdirectory. The latter is generally recommended.

Each filename maps to a one controlling setting and the content of the file to its corresponding value. This is the recommended way.

Changing configuration example:

  • /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/bpf-lib with a corresponding value of:

  • /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/log-format with a corresponding value of:

  • /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/export-filename with a corresponding value of:


Restrict gRPC API access

The gRPC API supports unix sockets, it can be set using one of the following methods:

  • Use the --server-address flag:

    --server-address unix:///var/run/tetragon/tetragon.sock
  • Or use the drop-in configuration file /etc/tetragon/tetragon.conf.d/server-address containing:


Then to access the gRPC API with tetra client, set --server-address to point to the corresponding address:

sudo tetra --server-address unix:///var/run/tetragon/tetragon.sock getevents

Configure Tracing Policies location

Tetragon daemon automatically loads Tracing policies from the default /etc/tetragon/tetragon.tp.d/ directory. Tracing policies can be organized in directories such: /etc/tetragon/tetragon.tp.d/file-access, /etc/tetragon/tetragon.tp.d/network-access, etc.

The --tracing-policy-dir controlling setting can be used to change the default directory from where Tracing policies are loaded.

The --tracing-policy controlling setting can be used to specify the path of one tracing policy to load.

Last modified October 26, 2023: doc: add daemon flags reference (8c6c8992)