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 V2 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 used for devices which are able to run V1 test jobs. To migrate health checks out of the database, use the lava-server manage migrate-health-checks command. For more information, see https://lists.linaro.org/pipermail/lava-announce/2017-March/000027.html


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

Pipeline YAML health checks


Before enabling a pipeline 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.

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 behaviour should be added to the health check for that device type.

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/qa/test-definitions.git
       from: git
       path: ubuntu/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 a LAVA test shell definition.

Skipping health checks

When a device is taken online in the web UI, there is an option to skip the manual health check. Health checks will still run in the following circumstances when “Skip Health check” has been selected:

  • When the health status of the device is in Unknown, Fail or Looping
  • When the device has been offline for long enough that a health
    check is already overdue.