Monitoring and Alert Development

Aether leverages Prometheus to collect and store platform and service metrics, Grafana to visualize metrics over time, and Alertmanager to notify Aether operators of events requiring attention. This monitoring stack is running on each Aether cluster. This section describes how an Aether component can "opt in" to the Aether monitoring stack so that its metrics can be collected and graphed, and can trigger alerts.

Exporting Service Metrics to Prometheus

An Aether component implements a Prometheus exporter to expose its metrics to Prometheus. An exporter provides the current values of a components's metrics via HTTP using a simple text format. Prometheus scrapes the exporter's HTTP endpoint and stores the metrics in its Time Series Database (TSDB) for querying and analysis. Many client libraries are available for instrumenting code to export metrics in Prometheus format. If a component's metrics are available in some other format, tools like Telegraf can be used to convert the metrics into Prometheus format and export them.

A component that exposes a Prometheus exporter HTTP endpoint via a Service can tell Prometheus to scrape this endpoint by defining a ServiceMonitor custom resource. The ServiceMonitor is typically created by the Helm chart that installs the component.

Working with Grafana Dashboards

Once the local cluster's Prometheus is collecting a component's metrics, they can be visualized using Grafana dashboards. The Grafana instance running on the AMP cluster is able to send queries to the Prometheus servers running on all Aether clusters. This means that component metrics can be visualized on the AMP Grafana regardless of where the component is actually running.

In order to create a new Grafana dashboard or modify an existing one, first login to the AMP Grafana using an account with admin privileges. To add a new dashboard, click the + at left. To make a copy of an existing dashboard for editing, click the Dashboard Settings icon (gear icon) at upper right of the existing dashboard, and then click the Save as… button at left.

Next, add panels to the dashboard. Since Grafana can access Prometheus on all the clusters in the environment, each cluster is available as a data source. For example, when adding a panel showing metrics collected on the ace-menlo cluster, choose ace-menlo as the data source.

Clicking on the floppy disk icon at top will save the dashboard temporarily (the dashboard is not saved to persistent storage and is deleted as soon as Grafana is restarted). To save the dashboard permanently, click the Share Dashboard icon next to the title and save its JSON to a file. Then add the file to the AMP submodule of OnRamp so that it will be deployed by Ansible:

  • Change to directory aeher-onramp/deps/amp/roles/monitor-load/templates/

  • Copy the dashboard JSON file to the dashboards/ sub-directory

  • Edit kustomization.yaml and add the new dashboard JSON under configmapGenerator

Adding Service-specific Alerts

An alert can be triggered in Prometheus when a component metric crosses a threshold. The Alertmanager then routes the alert to one or more receivers (e.g., an email address or Slack channel).

Note

This section on alerts is specific to an operational instantiation of Aether that is no supported. A port of this capability to Aether OnRamp (so it is available to anyone that wants to operate Aether) is pending.

To add an alert for a component, create a PrometheusRule custom resource, for example in the Helm chart that deploys the component. This resource describes one or more rules using Prometheus expressions; if the expression is true for the time indicated, then the alert is raised. Once the PrometheusRule resource is instantiated, the cluster's Prometheus will pick up the rule and start evaluating it.

The Alertmanager is configured to send alerts with critical or warning severity to e-mail and Slack channels monitored by Aether OPs staff. If it is desirable to route a specific alert to a different receiver (e.g., a component-specific Slack channel), it is necessary to change the Alertmanager configuration. This is stored in a SealedSecret custom resource in the aether-app-configs repository. To update the configuration:

  • Change to directory aether-app-configs/infrastructure/rancher-monitoring/overlays/<cluster>/

  • Update the receivers and route sections of the alertmanager-config.yaml file

  • Encode the alertmanager-config.yaml file as a Base64 string

  • Create a file alertmanager-config-secret.yaml to define the Secret resource using the Base64-encoded string

  • Run the following command using a valid PUBLICKEY:

$ kubeseal --cert "${PUBLICKEY}" --scope cluster-wide --format yaml < alertmanager-config-secret.yaml > alertmanager-config-sealed-secret.yaml
  • Commit the changes and submit patchset to gerrit

Once the patchset is merged, verify that the SealedSecret was successfully unsealed and converted to a Secret by looking at the logs of the sealed-secrets-controller pod running on the cluster in the kube-system namespace.