Services and Daemons in Cumulus Linux

Services (also known as daemons) and processes are at the heart of how a Linux system functions. Most of the time, a service takes care of itself; you just enable and start it, then let it run. However, because a Cumulus Linux switch is a Linux system, you can dig deeper if you like. Services can start multiple processes as they run. Services are important to monitor on a Cumulus Linux switch.

You manage services in Cumulus Linux in the following ways:

  • Identify currently active or stopped services
  • Identify boot time state of a specific service
  • Disable or enable a specific service
  • Identify active listener ports

systemd and the systemctl Command

In general, you manage services using systemd via the systemctl command. You use it with any service on the switch to start, stop, restart, reload, enable, disable, reenable, or get the status of the service.

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl start | stop | restart | status | reload | enable | disable | reenable SERVICENAME.service

For example to restart networking, run the command:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl restart networking.service

The service name is written after the systemctl argument, not before it.

To show all the services currently running, run the systemctl status command. For example:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo systemctl status
● switch
    State: running
      Jobs: 0 queued
    Failed: 0 units
    Since: Thu 2019-01-10 00:19:34 UTC; 23h ago
    CGroup: /
            │ └─1 /sbin/init
              │ └─234 /usr/sbin/haveged --Foreground --verbose=1 -w 1024
              │ ├─  658 /bin/bash /usr/lib/cumulus/sysmonitor
              │ └─26543 sleep 60
              │ └─218 /lib/systemd/systemd-udevd
              │ └─ntp@mgmt.service
              │   └─vrf
              │     └─mgmt
              │       └─12108 /usr/sbin/ntpd -n -u ntp:ntp -g
              │ └─274 /usr/sbin/cron -f -L 38
              │ └─serial-getty@ttyS0.service
              │   └─745 /sbin/agetty -o -p -- \u --keep-baud 115200,38400,9600 ttyS0 vt220
              │ ├─332 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on;
              │ └─333 nginx: worker process
              │ └─235 /sbin/auditd
              │ └─275 /usr/sbin/rasdaemon -f -r
              │ └─11443 /usr/bin/python /usr/sbin/clagd --daemon peerlink.4094 44:39:39:ff:40:90
              --priority 100 --vxlanAnycas
              │ └─430 /usr/sbin/switchd -vx

systemctl Arguments

systemctl has a number of arguments that perform a specific operation on a given service.

  • status returns the status of the specified service.
  • start starts the service.
  • stop stops the service.
  • restart stops, then starts the service, all the while maintaining state. If there are dependent services or services that mark the restarted service as Required, the other services also restart. For example, running systemctl restart frr.service restarts any of the routing protocol services that are enabled and running, such as bgpd or ospfd.
  • reload reloads the configuration for the service.
  • enable enables the service to start when the system boots, but does not start it unless you use the systemctl start SERVICENAME.service command or reboot the switch.
  • disable disables the service, but does not stop it unless you use the systemctl stop SERVICENAME.service command or reboot the switch. You can start or stop a disabled service.
  • reenable disables, then enables a service. You might need to do this so that any new Wants or WantedBy lines create the symlinks necessary for ordering. This has no side effects on other services.

There is often little reason to interact with the services directly using these commands. If a critical service crashes or encounters an error, it is automatically restarted by systemd. systemd is effectively the caretaker of services in modern Linux systems and is responsible for starting all the necessary services at boot time.

Ensure a Service Starts after Multiple Restarts

By default, systemd is configured to try to restart a particular service only a certain number of times within a given interval before the service fails to start at all. The settings, StartLimitInterval (which defaults to 10 seconds) and StartBurstLimit (which defaults to 5 attempts) are stored in the service script; however, many services override these defaults, sometimes with much longer times. For example, switchd.service sets StartLimitInterval=10m and StartBurstLimit=3; therefore, if you restart switchd more than 3 times in 10 minutes, it does not start.

When the restart fails for this reason, you see a message similar to the following:

Job for switchd.service failed. See 'systemctl status switchd.service' and 'journalctl -xn' for details.

systemctl status switchd.service shows output similar to:

Active: failed (Result: start-limit) since Thu 2016-04-07 21:55:14 UTC; 15s ago

To clear this error, run systemctl reset-failed switchd.service. If you know you are going to restart frequently (multiple times within the StartLimitInterval), you can run the same command before you issue the restart request. This also applies to stop followed by start.

Keep systemd Services from Hanging after Starting

If you start, restart, or reload any systemd service that can be started from another systemd service, you must use the --no-block option with systemctl. Otherwise, that service or even the switch itself might hang after starting or restarting.

Identify Active Listener Ports for IPv4 and IPv6

You can identify the active listener ports under both IPv4 and IPv6 using the netstat command:

cumulus@switch:~$ netstat -nlp --inet --inet6
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      444/dnsmasq
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      874/sshd
tcp6       0      0 :::53                   :::*                    LISTEN      444/dnsmasq
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      874/sshd
udp        0      0 *                           839/dhclient
udp        0      0    *                           444/dnsmasq
udp        0      0    *                           839/dhclient
udp        0      0*                           907/ntpd
udp        0      0 *                           907/ntpd
udp        0      0   *                           907/ntpd
udp        0      0  *                           909/ptmd
udp        0      0  *                           909/ptmd
udp        0      0  *                           909/ptmd
udp6       0      0 :::58352                :::*                                839/dhclient
udp6       0      0 :::53                   :::*                                444/dnsmasq
udp6       0      0 fe80::a200:ff:fe00::123 :::*                                907/ntpd
udp6       0      0 ::1:123                 :::*                                907/ntpd
udp6       0      0 :::123                  :::*                                907/ntpd
udp6       0      0 :::4784                 :::*                                909/ptmd
udp6       0      0 :::3784                 :::*                                909/ptmd

Identify Services Currently Active or Stopped

To determine which services are currently active or stopped, run the cl-service-summary command:

cumulus@switch:~$ cl-service-summary
Service cron               enabled    active
Service ssh                enabled    active
Service syslog             enabled    active
Service asic-monitor       enabled    inactive
Service clagd              enabled    inactive
Service cumulus-poe                   inactive
Service lldpd              enabled    active
Service mstpd              enabled    active
Service neighmgrd          enabled    active
Service netd               enabled    active
Service netq-agent         enabled    active
Service ntp                enabled    active
Service portwd             enabled    active
Service ptmd               enabled    active
Service pwmd               enabled    active
Service smond              enabled    active
Service switchd            enabled    active
Service sysmonitor         enabled    active
Service rdnbrd             disabled   inactive
Service frr                enabled    inactive

You can also run the systemctl list-unit-files --type service command to list all services on the switch and see which ones are enabled:

cumulus@switch:~$ systemctl list-unit-files --type service
UNIT FILE                              STATE
aclinit.service                        enabled
acltool.service                        enabled
acpid.service                          disabled
asic-monitor.service                   enabled
auditd.service                         enabled
autovt@.service                        disabled
bmcd.service                           disabled
bootlog.service                        enabled
bootlogd.service                       masked  
bootlogs.service                       masked  
bootmisc.service                       masked  
checkfs.service                        masked  
checkroot-bootclean.service            masked  
checkroot.service                      masked
clagd.service                          enabled
console-getty.service                  disabled
console-shell.service                  disabled
container-getty@.service               static  
cron.service                           enabled
cryptdisks-early.service               masked  
cryptdisks.service                     masked  
cumulus-aclcheck.service               static  
cumulus-core.service                   static  
cumulus-fastfailover.service           enabled
cumulus-firstboot.service              disabled
cumulus-platform.service               enabled  

Identify Essential Services

If you need to know which services are required to run when the switch boots, run:

cumulus@switch:~$ systemctl list-dependencies --before

To see which services are needed for networking, run:

To identify the services needed for a multi-user environment, run:

Important Services

The following table lists the most important services in Cumulus Linux.

Service NameDescriptionAffects Forwarding?
switchdHardware abstraction daemon. Synchronizes the kernel with the ASIC.YES
sx_sdkInterfaces with the Spectrum ASIC. Only on Spectrum switches.YES
portwdPort watch daemon. Broadcom switches only. Reads pluggable information over the I2C bus. Identifies and classifies the modules that are inserted into the system. Manages setting related to the module types that are inserted.YES, eventually, if modules are added or removed
frrFRRouting. Handles routing protocols. There are separate processes for each routing protocol, such as bgpd and ospfd.YES if routing
clagCumulus link aggregation daemon. Handles MLAG.YES if using MLAG
neighmgrdSynchronizes MAC address information if using MLAG.YES if using MLAG
mstpdSpanning tree protocol daemon.YES if using layer 2
ptmdPrescriptive Topology Manager. Verifies cabling based on LLDP output. Also sets up BFD sessions.YES if using BFD
netdNCLU back end.NO
rsyslogHandles logging of syslog messages.NO
ntpNetwork time protocol.NO
ledmgrdLED manager. Reads the state of system LEDs.NO
sysmonitorWatches and logs critical system load (free memory, disk, CPU).NO
lldpdHandles Tx/Rx of LLDP information.NO
smondReads platform sensors and fan information from pwmd.NO
pwmdReads and sets fan speeds.NO