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Netdata-TSRelay

What's this?

This program is designed to accept JSON streams from Netdata clients, and write metrics to a PostgreSQL table - specifically, Timescale backed tables (though that's not technically a requirement.)

Installation

You'll need a working Nim build environment and PostgreSQL development headers to compile the binary.

Simply run make to build it. Put it wherever you please.

Configuration

There are a few assumptions that should be satisfied before running this successfully.

Database setup

You'll need to create the destination table.

CREATE TABLE netdata (
    time timestamptz default now() not null,
    host text not null,
    metrics jsonb default '{}'::jsonb not null
);

Index it based on how you intend to query the data, including JSON functional indexing, etc. See PostgreSQL documentation for details.

Strongly encouraged: Promote this table to a Timescale "hypertable". See Timescale docs for that, but a quick example to partition automatically at weekly boundaries would look something like this, if you're running v0.9.0 or better:

SELECT create_hypertable( 'netdata', 'time', migrate_data => true, chunk_time_interval => '1 week'::interval );

Timescale also has some great examples and advice for efficient JSON indexing and queries.

Netdata

You'll likely want to pare down what netdata is sending. Here's an example configuration for netdata.conf -- season this to taste (what charts to send and frequency.)

[backend]
    hostname           = your-hostname
    enabled            = yes
    type               = json
    data source        = average
    destination        = machine-where-netdata-tsrelay-lives:14866
    prefix             = n
    update every       = 60
    buffer on failures = 5
    send charts matching = !cpu.cpu* !ipv6* !users* nfs.rpc net.* net_drops.* net_packets.* !system.interrupts* system.* disk.* disk_space.* disk_ops.* mem.*

Running the Relay

Options

  • [-q|--quiet]: Quiet mode. No output at all. Ignored if -d is supplied.
  • [-d|--debug]: Debug mode. Show incoming data.
  • [--dbopts]: PostgreSQL connection information. (See below for more details.)
  • [-h|--help]: Display quick help text.
  • [--listen-addr]: A specific IP address to listen on. Defaults to INADDR_ANY.
  • [--listen-port]: The port to listen for netdata JSON streams. Default is 14866.
  • [-T|--dbtable]: Change the table name to insert to. Defaults to netdata.
  • [-t|--timeout]: Maximum time in milliseconds to wait for data. Slow connections may need to increase this from the default 500 ms.
  • [-v|--version]: Show version.

Notes

Nim option parsing might be slightly different than what you're used to. Flags that require arguments must include an '=' or ':' character.

  • --timeout=1000 valid
  • --timeout:1000 valid
  • -t:1000 valid
  • --timeout 1000 invalid
  • -t 1000 invalid

All database connection options are passed as a key/val string to the dbopts flag. The default is:

"host=localhost dbname=netdata application_name=netdata-tsrelay"

... which uses the default PostgreSQL port, and connects as the running user.

Reference the PostgreSQL Documentation for all available options (including how to store passwords in a separate file, enable SSL mode, etc.)

Daemonizing

Use a tool of your choice to run this at system startup in the background. My personal preference is daemontools, but I won't judge you if you use something else.

Here's an example using the simple daemon wrapper tool:

# daemon \
    -o /var/log/netdata_tsrelay.log \
    -p /var/run/netdata_tsrelay.pid \
    -u nobody -cr \
    /usr/local/bin/netdata_tsrelay \
        --dbopts="dbname=metrics user=metrics host=db-master port=6432 application_name=netdata-tsrelay"

Scaling

Though performant by default, if you're going to be storing a LOT of data (or have a lot of netdata clients), here are some suggestions for getting the most bang for your buck:

  • Use the pgbouncer connection pooler.
  • DNS round robin the hostname where netdata_tsrelay lives across N hosts -- you can horizontally scale without any gotchas.
  • Edit your netdata.conf file to only send the metrics you are interested in.
  • Decrease the frequency at which netdata sends its data. (When in "average" mode, it averages over that time automatically.)
  • Use Timescale hypertables.
  • Add database indexes specific to how you intend to consume the data.
  • Use the PostgreSQL JSON Operators, which take advantage of GIN indexing.
  • Put convenience SQL VIEWs around the data you're fetching later, for easier graph building with Grafana (or whatever.)