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Oct 30, 2015

Instrumental Server Monitoring Tools

Instrumental is an application monitoring platform built for developers who want a better understanding of their production software. Powerful tools, like the Instrumental Query Language, combined with an exploration-focused interface allow you to get real answers to complex questions, in real-time.

This tool suite supports server monitoring through the instrumental_server daemon. It provides high-data reliability at high scale.


instrumental_tools is currently officially supported on 32-bit and 64-bit Linux, Windows systems and Mac OS X. There are prebuilt packages available for Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL and Win32 systems.

Installation instructions for supported platforms is available in The recommended installation method is to use a prebuilt package, which will automatically install the application as a service in your operating system's startup list.

Once you've installed the package, you will want to edit the /etc/instrumental.yml file with your Instrumental project token. Example /etc/instrumental.yml:



By default, Instrumental Tools will collect metrics on the following server data:

  • CPU (user, nice, system, idle, iowait and total in use)
  • Load (at 1 minute, 5 minute and 15 minute intervals)
  • Memory (used, free, buffers, cached, free_percent )
  • Swap (used, free, free_percent)
  • Disk Capacity (total, used, available, available percent for all mounted disks)
  • Disk Usage (percent_utilization for all mounted disks)
  • Filesystem stats (open_files, max_open_files)

Monitoring Services & Other Processes

Instrumental Tools monitors other processes through a powerful plugin system built on binary and shell scripts. Plugin installation and development instructions are listed in Existing plugins include:

Command Line Usage

Basic usage:

instrument_server -k <API_KEY>

To start instrument_server as a daemon:

instrument_server -k <API_KEY> start

The API key can also be provided by setting the INSTRUMENTAL_TOKEN environment variable, which eliminates the need to supply the key via command line option.

By default, instrument_server will use the hostname of the current host when reporting metrics, e.g. 'hostname.cpu.in_use'. To specify a different hostname:

instrument_server -k <API_KEY> -H <HOSTNAME>

The start command will start and detach the process. You may issue additional commands to the process like:

  • stop - stop the currently running instrument_server process
  • restart - restart the currently running instrument_server process
  • foreground - run the process in the foreground instead of detaching
  • status - display daemon status (running, stopped)
  • clean - remove any files created by the daemon
  • kill - forcibly halt the daemon and remove its pid file

Capistrano Integration

Add require "instrumental_tools/capistrano" to your capistrano configuration and instrument_server will be restarted after your deploy is finished. Additionally, you will need to add a new variable to your capistrano file.

set :instrumental_key, "API_KEY"

The following configuration will be added:

after "deploy", "instrumental:restart_instrument_server"
after "deploy:migrations", "instrumental:restart_instrument_server"

By default, this will attempt to restart the instrument_server command on all the servers specified in your configuration. If you need to limit the servers on which you restart the server, you can do something like this in your capistrano configuration:

namespaces[:instrumental].tasks[:restart_instrument_server].options[:roles] = [:web, :worker]

Troubleshooting & Help

We are here to help! Email us at


Server & Service Monitoring for Instrumental




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