The debug command starts a process that monitors a Vault server, probing information about it for a certain duration.

Gathering information about the state of the Vault cluster often requires the operator to access all necessary information via various API calls and terminal commands. The debug command aims to provide a simple workflow that produces a consistent output to help operators retrieve and share information about the server in question.

The debug command honors the same variables that the base command accepts, such as the token stored via a previous login or the environment variables VAULT_TOKEN and VAULT_ADDR. The token used determines the permissions and, in turn, the information that debug may be able to collect. The address specified determines the target server that will be probed against.

If the command is interrupted, the information collected up until that point gets persisted to an output directory.


Regardless of whether a particular target is provided, the ability for debug to fetch data for the target depends on the token provided. Some targets, such as server-status, queries unauthenticated endpoints which means that it can be queried all the time. Other targets require the token to have ACL permissions to query the matching endpoint in order to get a proper response. Any errors encountered during capture due to permissions or otherwise will be logged in the index file.

»Capture Targets

The -target flag can be specified multiple times to capture specific information when debug is running. By default, it captures all information.

configSanitized version of the configuration state.
hostInformation about the instance running the server, such as CPU, memory, and disk.
metricsTelemetry information.
pprofRuntime profiling data, including heap, CPU, goroutine, and trace profiling.
replication-statusReplication status.
server-statusHealth and seal status.

Note that the config, host,metrics, and pprof targets are only queried on active and performance standby nodes due to the the fact that the information pertains to the local node and the request should not be forwarded.

Additionally, host information is not available on the OpenBSD platform due to library limitations in fetching the data without enabling cgo.

»Output Layout

The output of the bundled information, once decompressed, is contained within a single directory. Each target, with the exception of profiling data, is captured in a single file. For each of those targets collection is represented as a JSON array object, with each entry captured at each interval as a JSON object.

$ tree vault-debug-2019-10-15T21-44-49Z/
├── 2019-10-15T21-44-49Z
│   ├── goroutine.prof
│   ├── heap.prof
│   ├── profile.prof
│   └── trace.out
├── 2019-10-15T21-45-19Z
│   ├── goroutine.prof
│   ├── heap.prof
│   ├── profile.prof
│   └── trace.out
├── 2019-10-15T21-45-49Z
│   ├── goroutine.prof
│   ├── heap.prof
│   ├── profile.prof
│   └── trace.out
├── 2019-10-15T21-46-19Z
│   ├── goroutine.prof
│   ├── heap.prof
│   ├── profile.prof
│   └── trace.out
├── 2019-10-15T21-46-49Z
│   ├── goroutine.prof
│   └── heap.prof
├── config.json
├── host_info.json
├── index.json
├── metrics.json
├── replication_status.json
└── server_status.json


Start debug using reasonable defaults:

$ vault debug

Start debug with different duration, intervals, and metrics interval values, and skip compression:

$ vault debug -duration=1m -interval=10s -metrics-interval=5s -compress=false

Start debug with specific targets:

$ vault debug -target=host -target=metrics


The following flags are available in addition to the standard set of flags included on all commands.

»Command Options

  • -compress (bool: true) - Toggles whether to compress output package The default is true.

  • -duration (int or time string: "2m") - Duration to run the command. The default is 2m0s.

  • -interval (int or time string: "30s") - The polling interval at which to collect profiling data and server state. The default is 30s.

  • -metrics-interval (int or time string: "10s") - The polling interval at which to collect metrics data. The default is 10s.

  • -output (string) - Specifies the output path for the debug package. Defaults to an time-based generated file name.

  • -target (string: all targets) - Target to capture, defaulting to all if none specified. This can be specified multiple times to capture multiple targets. Available targets are: config, host, metrics, pprof, replication-status, server-status.