How to retrieve all the data from kubectl describe pods <namespace> from an in-cluster client-go api call

by Ben Lord   Last Updated September 11, 2019 10:26 AM

I need to grab some pod information which will be used for some unit tests which will be run in-cluster. I need all the information which kubectl describe po gives but from an in cluster api call.

I have some working code which makes an api call to apis/, and have installed the metrics-server on minikube for testing which is all working and gives me output like this:

Namespace: kube-system
Pod name: heapster-rgnlj
SelfLink: /apis/
CreationTimestamp: 2019-09-10 12:27:13 +0000 UTC
Window: 30s
Timestamp: 2019-09-10 12:26:23 +0000 UTC
Name: heapster
Cpu usage: 82166n
Mem usage: 19420Ki 
func getMetrics(clientset *kubernetes.Clientset, pods *PodMetricsList) error {
    data, err := clientset.RESTClient().Get().AbsPath("apis/").DoRaw()
    if err != nil {
        return err
    err = json.Unmarshal(data, &pods)
    return err

func main() {

    config, err := rest.InClusterConfig()
    if err != nil {
    // creates the clientset
    clientset, err := kubernetes.NewForConfig(config)
    if err != nil {
    var pods PodMetricsList
    err = getMetrics(clientset, &pods)
    if err != nil {

    for _, m := range pods.Items {

        fmt.Print("Namespace: ", m.Metadata.Namespace, "\n", "Pod name: ", m.Metadata.Name, "\n", )
        fmt.Print("SelfLink: ", m.Metadata.SelfLink, "\n", "CreationTimestamp: ", m.Metadata.CreationTimestamp, "\n", )
        fmt.Print("Window: ", m.Window, "\n", "Timestamp: ", m.Timestamp, "\n", )

        for _, c := range m.Containers {
            fmt.Println("Name:", c.Name)
            fmt.Println("Cpu usage:", c.Usage.CPU)
            fmt.Println("Mem usage:", c.Usage.Memory, "\n")

As I say, what i really need is what you'd get with a 'describe pods' type call. Having looked through the kubernetes source this NodeDescriber looks like the right type of function, but I'm slightly at a loss as to how to integrate / implement it to get the desired results.


Line 2451 in 4f2d7b9

func (d *NodeDescriber) Describe(namespace, name string, describerSettings...etc)

I'm new to Go and not particularly familiar with kubernetes. Any pointers as to how to go about it would be greatly appreciated.

Answers 1

I didn't try, but I would suggest to start with:

1. using kubectl with --verbosity option to see the full api request

 kubectl describe pod xxx -v=8 


  GET https://xx.xx.xx.xx:6443/api/v1/namespaces/default/events?

It contains fields related to your POD: fieldSelector=involvedObject.uid,, involvedObject.namespace

2. I thing the good start it will be the code from github func describePod to start with.

Hope this help.

September 11, 2019 10:25 AM

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