How do you tell systemd that a requirement is satisfied with one of any instance from a list of instances?

Say that I have a target called main_target.target and a service template called serv@.service. During normal operation, the only instances of serv@.service that exist are:

  • serv@ex1
  • serv@ex2
  • serv@ex3

Only one of those instances exist at any given time, and I want to tell main_target.target that it's satisfied whenever any of the three instances exist.

Intuitively, I'd like something similar to SMF's require_any tag, but I haven't been able to find anything like that in any of the systemd documentation.

Note 1: I know that I can make serv@ex1, serv@ex2, serv@ex3 and mutually exclusive with the Conflicts= directive.

Note 2: I also know that I can use the Before= and After= directives to tier the three instances to start in a certain order.

  • What do you mean by "satisfy a target"? Normal targets are just a way to group together units, when the target is run it doesn't really care if a service succeeds or not, that's the service's responsibility. – Centimane Apr 5 '17 at 20:46

As you mention you can make the services mutually exclusive with the Conflicts= directive. The systemd targets are only a method for grouping together units, they do not have complex dependency options.


A unit configuration file whose name ends in ".target" encodes information about a target unit of systemd, which is used for grouping units and as well-known synchronization points during start-up.

This unit type has no specific options. See systemd.unit(5) for the common options of all unit configuration files. The common configuration items are configured in the generic [Unit] and [Install] sections. A separate [Target] section does not exist, since no target-specific options may be configured.

systemd.unit for reference.

You can only use directives included in systemd.unit, and it does not include a method for starting only one of multiple services.

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