Journald logging driver

The journald logging driver sends container logs to the systemd journal. Log entries can be retrieved using the journalctl command, through use of the journal API, or using the docker logs command.

In addition to the text of the log message itself, the journald log driver stores the following metadata in the journal with each message:

CONTAINER_IDThe container ID truncated to 12 characters.
CONTAINER_ID_FULLThe full 64-character container ID.
CONTAINER_NAMEThe container name at the time it was started. If you use docker rename to rename a container, the new name isn't reflected in the journal entries.
CONTAINER_TAG, SYSLOG_IDENTIFIERThe container tag ( log tag option documentation).
CONTAINER_PARTIAL_MESSAGEA field that flags log integrity. Improve logging of long log lines.


To use the journald driver as the default logging driver, set the log-driver and log-opts keys to appropriate values in the daemon.json file, which is located in /etc/docker/ on Linux hosts or C:\ProgramData\docker\config\daemon.json on Windows Server. For more about configuring Docker using daemon.json, see daemon.json.

The following example sets the log driver to journald:

  "log-driver": "journald"

Restart Docker for the changes to take effect.

To configure the logging driver for a specific container, use the --log-driver flag on the docker run command.

$ docker run --log-driver=journald ...


Use the --log-opt NAME=VALUE flag to specify additional journald logging driver options.

tagoptionalSpecify template to set CONTAINER_TAG and SYSLOG_IDENTIFIER value in journald logs. Refer to log tag option documentation to customize the log tag format.
labelsoptionalComma-separated list of keys of labels, which should be included in message, if these labels are specified for the container.
labels-regexoptionalSimilar to and compatible with labels. A regular expression to match logging-related labels. Used for advanced  log tag options.
envoptionalComma-separated list of keys of environment variables, which should be included in message, if these variables are specified for the container.
env-regexoptionalSimilar to and compatible with env. A regular expression to match logging-related environment variables. Used for advanced  log tag options.

If a collision occurs between label and env options, the value of the env takes precedence. Each option adds additional fields to the attributes of a logging message.

The following is an example of the logging options required to log to journald.

$ docker run \
    --log-driver=journald \
    --log-opt labels=location \
    --log-opt env=TEST \
    --env "TEST=false" \
    --label location=west \

This configuration also directs the driver to include in the payload the label location, and the environment variable TEST. If the --env "TEST=false" or --label location=west arguments were omitted, the corresponding key would not be set in the journald log.

Note regarding container names

The value logged in the CONTAINER_NAME field is the name of the container that was set at startup. If you use docker rename to rename a container, the new name isn't reflected in the journal entries. Journal entries continue to use the original name.

Retrieve log messages with journalctl

Use the journalctl command to retrieve log messages. You can apply filter expressions to limit the retrieved messages to those associated with a specific container:

$ sudo journalctl CONTAINER_NAME=webserver

You can use additional filters to further limit the messages retrieved. The -b flag only retrieves messages generated since the last system boot:

$ sudo journalctl -b CONTAINER_NAME=webserver

The -o flag specifies the format for the retried log messages. Use -o json to return the log messages in JSON format.

$ sudo journalctl -o json CONTAINER_NAME=webserver

View logs for a container with a TTY enabled

If TTY is enabled on a container you may see [10B blob data] in the output when retrieving log messages. The reason for that is that \r is appended to the end of the line and journalctl doesn't strip it automatically unless --all is set:

$ sudo journalctl -b CONTAINER_NAME=webserver --all

Retrieve log messages with the journal API

This example uses the systemd Python module to retrieve container logs:

import systemd.journal

reader = systemd.journal.Reader()

for msg in reader:
    print '{CONTAINER_ID_FULL}: {MESSAGE}'.format(**msg)