Troubleshooting: Failure to delete orphaned Pod volume directory

| July 20, 2023

Applicable versions

All Longhorn versions.

Kubernetes versions before v1.28. A backported PR to v1.27 is awaiting merging.


In the event of a worker node failure, while hosting active Pods, the Pods are gracefully evicted as the node undergoes downtime and awaits restoration. During this period, the kubelet, which is responsible for managing the node, will generate the following error messages at regular intervals of two seconds.

orphaned pod <pod-uid> found, but error not a directory occurred when trying to remove the volumes dir


This situation occurs when a node goes through a downtime state and then takes some time before entering the recovery phase. During this process, the affected Pods are evicted and relocated to other nodes. However, due to the disruption, the connection between the kubelet and the longhorn-csi-plugin is severed. Therefore, the kubelet encountered difficulties when deleting the vol_data.json file. This process is used to perform self-housekeeping tasks to clean up orphan volume mount points associated with evicted Pods. The kubelet, while capable of removing directories, cannot delete individual files, resulting in incomplete cleanup in this specific situation. (source code).


Once the node and kubelet have been restored, the longhorn-csi-plugin will automatically restart, allowing the Pod to remount the volume and resume its running state.

However, in cases where the Pod and its associated volume are rescheduled to a different node, leaving behind a lingering vol_data.json file on the crashed node, manual intervention is required. You will need to manually delete the vol_data.json file located within the /var/lib/kubelet/pods/<pod-uid>/volumes/<pod-uid>/ directory.

Within the present Kubernetes master branch, the issue is addressed in version 1.28.x, thereby ensuring that orphaned Pod volume mount points are properly cleaned up within the reconciliation loop. Moreover, a PR addressing the issue has been backported to version 1.27 and is presently awaiting the merging process.

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