Writing Health Checks for devices

A health check is a special type of test job, designed to validate that the a test device and the infrastructure around it are suitable for running LAVA tests. Health checks jobs are run periodically to check for equipment and/or infrastructure failures that may have happened. If a health check fails for any device, that device will be automatically taken offline. Reports are available which show these failures and track the general health of the lab.


For any one day where at least one health check failed, there is also a table providing information on the failed checks:


Health checks are defined in /etc/lava-server/dispatcher-config/health-checks according to the template used by the device. Health checks are run as the lava-health user.


To generate the filename of the health check of a device, the scheduler takes the name of the template extended in the device dictionary (for instance qemu.jinja2 for qemu devices) and replace the extension with .yaml. The health check will be called /etc/lava-server/dispatcher-config/health-checks/qemu.yaml. The health check job database field in the device-type is unused.


Admins can temporarily disable health checks for all devices of a given type in the device-type admin page.

LAVA YAML health checks


Before enabling a health check, ensure that all devices of the specified type have been enabled as pipeline devices or the health check will force any remaining devices offline.

It is recommended that the YAML health check follows these guidelines:

  • It has a job name describing the test as a health check

  • It has a minimal set of test definitions

  • It uses gold standard files

The rest of the job needs no changes.

Device Types and templates

Some jinja2 device-type templates use multiple inheritance, e.g. juno. This is to allow devices to use multiple types of firmware in test jobs. Admins need to be aware that the device_type specified in the health check YAML must match a DeviceType name which exists in the database and which has devices available for health-check submissions. This can cause issues where admins want to share health checks between multiple instances.

For example, if the DeviceType database object has the name juno-r2, the device dictionary can use:

{% extends 'juno.jinja2' %}

However, the health check YAML needs to use device_type: juno-r2 or the health check will not run.

Check /var/log/lava-server/django.log if you get a 404 when trying to force a health check.

This situation can be avoided by converting a working test job into the health check on the same instance.

Tasks within health checks

The health check needs to at least check that the device will boot and deploy a test image. Multiple deploy tasks can be set, if required, although this will mean that each health check takes longer.

Wherever a particular device type has common issues, a specific test for that behavior should be added to the health check for that device type.

Checking infrastructure and peripherals in health checks

A device in LAVA increasingly includes not just the base board but peripherals and external hardware. Test writers may rely on such elements functioning correctly. Each case is different but there are ways that test writers and admins can work together to ensure that this support remains available.

One special case is where the external hardware is defined using static_info in the device dictionary and the test jobs (including health checks) use LXC:

{% set static_info = [{'board_id': 'S_NO18080201'}] %}

When the test job starts, this USB device needs to be added to the LXC, so LAVA will raise an infrastructure issue if the device cannot be found in udev.

For other hardware, peripherals etc., it can be necessary to write a test script which can:

  • download any tools needed to do the investigation

  • use parameters from the test job (or the device dictionary in some cases) to do the check.

  • ensure that the necessary element(s) are not only present but also functional (e.g. at a minimal level).

These scripts need to use lava-test-raise if any errors are detected. This will trigger an infrastructure issue to fail the health check and take the device offline.

The scripts need to be used in health checks but also in all test jobs using the extra hardware or peripherals. Write a portable test shell definition for each element and add to start of each test action.

See also

Call lava-test-raise if setup fails for information on writing setup scripts using shell (.. lava-common) and Python.

Using lava_test_shell inside health checks

It is a mistake to think that lava_test_shell should not be run in health checks. The consequence of a health check failing is that devices of the specified type will be automatically taken offline but this applies to a job failure, not a fail result from a single lava-test-case.

It is advisable to use a minimal set of sanity check test cases in all health checks, without making the health check unnecessarily long:

- test:
     minutes: 5
     - repository: git://git.linaro.org/lava-team/lava-functional-tests.git
       from: git
       path: lava-test-shell/smoke-tests-basic.yaml
       name: smoke-tests

These tests run simple Debian/Ubuntu test commands to do with networking and basic functionality - it is common for linux-linaro-ubuntu-lsusb and/or linux-linaro-ubuntu-lsb_release to fail as individual test cases but these failed test cases will not cause the health check to fail or cause devices to go offline.

Using lava_test_shell in all health checks has several benefits:

  1. health checks should use the same mechanisms as regular tests, including lava_test_shell

  2. devices are tested to ensure that test repositories can be downloaded to the device.

  3. device capabilities can be retrieved from the health check result bundles and displayed on the device type status page.

  4. tests inside lava_test_shell can provide a lot more information than simply booting an image and each device type can have custom tests to pick up common hardware issues

See also Writing Tests.

Infrastructure issues

If a health check fails, the device will be taken offline. If the failure was due to an infrastructure issue, then the device will continue to go offline.

If the investigation involves changing the health check test job, use lava-run directly on the worker to make local changes to the health check test job until you have a working test job whilst keeping the device offline.