The Service Map for APM is here!

Live Containers


Datadog Live Containers enable real-time visibility into all containers across your environment.

Taking inspiration from bedrock tools like htop and ctop, live containers give you complete coverage of your container infrastructure in a continuously updated table with resource metrics at two-second resolution and faceted search. Coupled with integrations for Docker, Kubernetes, ECS, and other container technologies, plus built-in tagging of dynamic components, the live container view provides a detailed overview of your containers’ health, resource consumption, and deployment in real time:

Live containers with summaries


After deploying the Docker Agent, no other configuration is necessary.

Note: To collect container information in the standard install rather than with the Docker Agent, the dd-agent user must have permissions to access docker.sock.

Include/Exclude containers

It is possible to include and/or exclude containers from real-time collection:

  • Exclude containers either via passing the environment variable DD_AC_EXCLUDE or adding ac_exclude: in your datadog.yaml main configuration file.
  • Include containers either via passing the environment variable DD_AC_INCLUDE or adding ac_include: in your datadog.yaml main configuration file.

Both arguments take an image name as value; regular expressions are also supported.

For example, to exclude all Debian images except containers with a name starting with frontend, add these two configuration lines in your datadog.yamlfile:

ac_exclude: ["image:debian"]
ac_include: ["name:frontend.*"]

Note: For Agent 5, instead of including the above in the datadog.conf main configuration file, explicitly add a datadog.yaml file to /etc/datadog-agent/, as the Process Agent requires all configuration options here. This configuration only excludes containers from real-time collection, not from Autodiscovery.

Searching, Filtering, and Pivoting

Containers are, by their nature, extremely high cardinality objects. Datadog’s flexible string search matches substrings in the container name, ID, or image fields.

To combine multiple string searches into a complex query, you can use any of the following Boolean operators:

Operator Description Example
AND Intersection: both terms are in the selected events (if nothing is added, AND is taken by default) java AND elasticsearch
OR Union: either term is contained in the selected events java OR python
NOT / ! Exclusion: the following term is NOT in the event. You may use the word NOT or ! character to perform the same operation java NOT elasticsearch
equivalent: java !elasticsearch

Use parentheses to group operators together. For example, (NOT (elasticsearch OR kafka) java) OR python.


Containers are tagged with all existing host-level tags, as well as with metadata associated with individual containers.

All containers are tagged by image_name, including integrations with popular orchestrators, such as ECS and Kubernetes, which provide further container-level tags. Additionally, each container is decorated with Docker, ECS, or Kubernetes icons so you can tell which are being orchestrated at a glance.

ECS containers are tagged by:

  • task_name
  • task_version
  • ecs_cluster

Kubernetes containers are tagged by:

  • pod_name
  • kube_pod_ip
  • kube_service
  • kube_namespace
  • kube_replica_set
  • kube_daemon_set
  • kube_job
  • kube_deployment
  • kube_cluster

Filtering and Pivoting

The screenshot below displays a system that has been filtered down to a Kubernetes cluster of 9 nodes. RSS and CPU utilization on containers is reported compared to the provisioned limits on the containers, when they exist. Here, it is apparent that the containers in this cluster are over-provisioned. You could use tighter limits and bin packing to achieve better utilization of resources.

Over Provisioned

Container environments are dynamic and can be hard to follow. The following screenshot displays a view that has been pivotted by kube_service and host—and, to reduce system noise, filtered to kube_namespace:default. You can see what services are running where, and how saturated key metrics are:

Host x services

You could pivot by ECS ecs_task_name and ecs_task_version to understand changes to resource utilization between updates.

Tasks x version

Scatter Plots

Use the scatter plot analytic to compare two metrics with one another in order to better understand the performance of your containers.

To access the scatter plot analytic in the Containers page click on the Show Summary graph button and select the “Scatter Plot” tab:

scatterplot selection

By default, the graph groups by the short_image tag key. The size of each dot represents the number of containers in that group, and clicking on a dot displays the individual containers and hosts that contribute to the group.

The query at the top of the scatter plot analytic allows you to control your scatter plot analytic:

  • Selection of metrics to display.
  • Selection of the aggregation method for both metrics.
  • Selection of the scale of both X and Y axis (Linear/Log).

Real-time monitoring

While actively working with the containers page, metrics are collected at a 2-second resolution. This is important for highly volatile metrics such as CPU. In the background, for historical context, metrics are collected at 10s resolution.

Notes/known issues

  • This feature does not support Windows containers at this time.

  • Real-time (2s) data collection is turned off after 30 minutes. To resume real-time collection, refresh the page.

  • RBAC settings can restrict Kubernetes metadata collection. Refer to the RBAC entites for the Datadog Agent.

  • In Kubernetes the health value is the containers’ readiness probe, not its liveness probe.

Further Reading