Interacting With Running CI Jobs

How to interact with jobs currently running on the CI cluster for your pull requests.


When tests are executed for proposed changes to a repository in a PR, a number of OpenShift clusters may be involved. End-to-end tests for a component of OpenShift Container Platform or any operator deployed on OpenShift require a running OCP cluster to host them. Colloquially, these are known as ephemeral test clusters as they are created to host the test and torn down once it’s over. Furthermore, in OpenShift CI, all test workloads themselves run as Pods on a fleet of long-running OpenShift clusters known as build farm clusters. Developers may also launch short-lived development clusters that incorporate changes from their pull requests but that run outside of CI.

For most end-to-end tests, the code that manages the lifecycle of the ephemeral test cluster and the code that orchestrates the test suite run on the build farm cluster. It is possible to follow the logs of test Pods in the build farm clusters and to even interact with the ephemeral test cluster that was launched for a pull request. When a repository builds some component of OpenShift Container Platform itself, the ephemeral test cluster runs a version of OCP that incorporates the changes to that component in the PR for which the test is running. Interacting with the test logs or ephemeral test cluster itself is useful when debugging test failures or to diagnosing and confirming OCP behavior due to your changes.

How and Where Do the Tests Run?

For each set of unique inputs (like the commits being tested, the version of the tests being run, and the versions of dependencies) a unique Namespace in the build farm clusters is created that has a name like ci-op-<hash>. In this project, ci-operator launches Pods that administer the test suites. For example, with a pull request in the openshift-apiserver repository, several jobs are triggered. The initial tests such as ci/prow/images, ci/prow/unit, and ci/prow/verify clone and validate your changes to build the openshift-apiserver artifacts (running make build, make test, for example) and also build an ephemeral release payload that merges the latest versions of other OCP images with those built from this pull request. For more details, see the ci-operator documentation.

Once the images are built, jobs that require a test cluster will start. These jobs, such as e2e-aws, e2e-cmd, e2e-*-upgrade run the OpenShift installer extracted from the updated release payload to launch an ephemeral test cluster in the configured cloud (GCP, AWS, Azure, or other). All repositories that publish components of OCP will run the same central end-to-end conformance suites for OpenShift and Kubernetes. With this testing strategy, a change in any repository making up OpenShift is ensured to be compatible with the over 100 other repositories that make up OpenShift. With every merge in every repository, the integration streams are updated to contain the latest version of each component image. Merges for every repository happen in small pools and undergo a final run of tests to ensure pull requests merging simultaneously are also compatible.

Access the Namespace on Cluster/Project of the Running CI Job

It is possible to authenticate to CI build farms with Red Hat Single-Sign-On: The corresponding Red Hat kerberos ID to the author of a pull request is permitted to accessing the Namespace that run jobs.

From a pull request page on GitHub, you can access the build logs from the Details link next to each job listed in the checkbox at the bottom of the PR description page. This gives an overall picture of the test output, but you might want to follow each job and test more closely while it runs. It is especially useful to follow a PR through the CI system if it is updating a test workflow or adding a new test. In that case, you can access the CI cluster console. From the job Details, grep for this line near the top of the Build Logs to locate the Namespace on the build farm cluster where your test is running:

2021/02/04 04:37:08 Using namespace

As the pull request author, you are the administrator of the project (ci-op-mtn6xs34 in example above). You will therefore have access to the link above. From the console, to login, choose GitHub. Once in the console, you can follow the logs from the running pods or you can grab the login command from the upper right ? -> Command Line Tools -> Copy Login Command. Again, choose the GitHub authentication, then Display Token. Copy in your terminal to access the CI build farm cluster. Before running the login command, you might run unset KUBECONFIG if you currently have an active development cluster and local $KUBECONFIG, since this login command will either update the currently set $KUBECONFIG or write/update to ~/.kube/config. The login command will look similar to this:

oc login --token=sha256~dMKQv... --server=

As the project administrator, you may give access to your project to other users. After logging into the project with oc, use this command to give other members access to the project running your pull request:

$ oc adm policy add-role-to-user admin <username> -n ci-op-xxxxxxx

Access Test Logs

From GitHub, you can access the build logs from the Details link next to each job listed in the checkbox at the bottom of the pull request description page. This gives an overall picture of the test output, but you might want to follow each job and test more closely while it runs. In that case, from the CI build farm cluster console accessed above, you have a choice between Administrator and Developer menu. Choose Administrator if it is not already chosen. You can access the Pods running the tests from Workloads -> Pods and then the Logs tab across the top. Pods usually have multiple containers, and each container can be accessed from the dropdown menu above the logs terminal. This is equivalent to running the following from your local terminal, if you are currently logged into the CI cluster:

$ oc project ci-op-xxxxxxx
$ oc get pods
$ oc logs -f <pod-name> -c <container-name>

Access the Terminal of the Pod Running the Tests

From the console, you can access the running pod through the Terminal tab across the top of the selected pod. (Workloads -> Pods -> Terminal). This will give you a shell from which you can check expected file locations, configurations, volume mounts, etc. This is useful when setting up a new test workflow to get everything working. This is roughly equivalent to the following from your local terminal, if you are currently logged into the CI cluster:

$ oc -n ci-op-xxxxxxx rsh <pod-name> -c <container-name>

Access the External Cluster Launched With Your Changes

If you are debugging a job during which a test cluster was launched (e2e-aws, e2e-*), you might find it useful to access the ephemeral test cluster. After the installer pod has successfully completed (usually this is ~30 min after the job was triggered), an e2e-*-test pod will launch. From the project accessed above, (Home->Projects) you can grab the KUBECONFIG for the test cluster and copy it to your local system, to access the test cluster against which the extended test suites are running. Below is how to access the $KUBECONFIG file from the installer pod. Access the Terminal tab of the running test pod (Workloads -> Pods -> Terminal). Find the kubeconfig file in the *-install-install pod’s /tmp/installer/auth directory. Or, from your local system, if currently logged into the CI cluster, create the following script as


set -o errexit
set -o nounset
set -o pipefail

function cleanup() {
	for job in $( jobs -p ); do
		kill -SIGTERM "${job}"
		wait "${job}"

trap cleanup EXIT

if [[ -z "${namespace}" || -z "${test}" ]]; then
	echo "USAGE: $0 <namespace> <test>"
	exit 1

echo "Scanning ${namespace} for the \$KUBECONFIG for the ${test} test..."
output="$( mktemp -d /tmp/kubeconfig.XXXXX )"
cat <<EOF >"${output}/"

if [[ "\${2}" != "${test}" ]]; then
	# we saw a change to an unrelated secret, nothing to do
	exit 0

oc extract --namespace "${namespace}" "secret/${test}" --keys=kubeconfig --to="${output}" >/dev/null
if [[ -s "${output}/kubeconfig" ]]; then
	exit 0
echo "No \\\$KUBECONFIG for the ${test} test has been created yet, waiting..." 1>&2
chmod +x "${output}/"

if ! oc --namespace "${namespace}" get secrets >/dev/null; then
	echo "You do not have permissions to see secrets for this namespace. Did you enter the namespace correctly?"
	exit 1
oc --namespace "${namespace}" observe secrets --no-headers -- "${output}/" &

while true; do
	if [[ -s "${output}/kubeconfig" ]]; then
		echo "\$KUBECONFIG saved to ${output}/kubeconfig"
		exit 0
	sleep 1

Then, run the script:

$ ci-op-xxxxxxx e2e-aws

The following files should be copied to your local system:

$ ls /tmp/kubeconfig.Z7SNI

Once copied to your local system, you can proceed to run oc commands against the test cluster by setting $KUBECONFIG environment variable or passing --kubeconfig to oc. Again, this is intended for work-in-progress pull requests only. The test cluster will be terminated whenever the job completes. It is usually more productive to launch a development cluster using cluster-bot through Slack and manually run openshift-tests suites against that, rather than through a pull request job’s cluster. For how to run the openshift-tests binary and to find more information about the test suites, see the documentation on how to run the test suites outside of CI.

How Do I Know What Tests Will Run?

It can be quite confusing to find the test command that is running in CI. Jobs are configured in the release repository. The YAML job definitions are generated from the step-registry workflow and/or the ci-operator/config files. For jobs that aren’t configured with the ci-operator/step-registry, you can find test commands in release/ci-operator/config/openshift. For example, the ci/prow/unit test command for openshift-apiserver is make test-unit.

For jobs configured with the step-registry workflow, such as all the jobs that require test clusters, you can get more information with the step-registry viewer. There you’ll find detailed overviews of the workflows with a search toolbar for locating specific jobs. The viewer provides links to the code in GitHub, or you can locate the OWNERS of the workflows if you have further questions.

How To Run the Test Suites Outside of CI

While iterating upon a work-in-progress pull request, for those jobs that install and run tests against a test cluster, it’s useful to run the openshift-tests binary against a development cluster you have running rather than follow a pull request job in the CI cluster. You can run the openshift-tests binary against any development cluster for which you have a KUBECONFIG file. CoreOS Slack offers a cluster-bot tool you can utilize to launch a cloud-based development cluster from one or more pull requests. For more information on what cluster-bot can do, find cluster-bot under Apps in CoreOS Slack or direct message cluster-bot "help" to list its functions. For example, to launch a development cluster in AWS from a release payload that includes openshift-apiserver pull request #400, direct message cluster-bot in Slack the following:

/msg @cluster-bot launch openshift/openshift-apiserver#400 aws

or, to launch from release payload that includes multiple pull requests:

/msg @cluster-bot launch openshift/openshift-apiserver#400,openshift/cluster-authentication-operator#501 aws

Upon successful install, you will receive login information with a downloadable kubeconfig for the development cluster.

If you are not modifying or adding tests to the openshift-tests binary and simply want to run a test suite or single test against a development cluster, you can do the following:

$ podman pull --authfile ~/path-to-pull-secret
$ podman run -it --rm -v ~/path/to/local/auth/kubeconfig:/tmp/kubeconfig sh
# export KUBECONFIG=/tmp/kubeconfig
# openshift-tests run

openshift-tests run will list all the suites in the binary. You can find individual tests with something like:

$ openshift-tests run openshift/conformance --dry-run

You can run an individual test or subset with the following (remove the last portion to only list first):

$ openshift-tests run all --dry-run | grep -E "<REGEX>" | openshift-tests run -f -

If you are adding a test or modifying a test suite, the test binary can be built from openshift/origin repository and all of the e2e individual tests are found in origin/test/extended. First, clone the origin repository with:

$ git clone
$ cd origin
$ make

Then from your local system and origin directory:

$ export KUBECONFIG=~/kubeconfig
(add openshift-tests to PATH or can run ./openshift-tests)
$ openshift-tests run

See the openshift-tests README for more information.