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Yelp sensu_handlers

Warning: These handlers are intended for use by Advanced sensu users. Do not use them if you are setting up Sensu for the first time. Use standard handlers from the community plugins repo

These work best with the Yelp monitoring_check or the pysensu-yelp python library to make checks that these handlers act upon.

To Repeat: these handlers are special and require special event data to work. If the special event data (like team) is not provided, these handlers will do nothing.

Available Handlers


The base handler is the only handler necissary to use. It is the default. All other handler behavior is derived from the event data.

This allows checks to use one handler, and we can add new features or deprecate old ones without changing client-side configuration.

The base handler also handles advanced filtering. It respects the following tunables:

  • alert_after - Seconds to wait before any handler is activated. Defaults to
  • realert_every - Integer which filters out repeat events (uses "mod"). realert_every => 2 would filter every other event. Defaults to -1 which is treated as a special input and does exponential backoff.

This handler also provides many helping functions to extract team data, etc.

All other handlers inherit the base handler.

nodebot (irc)

Uses the nodebot tool to send IRC notifications. Nodebot is helpful here as it retains a persistent connection to the IRC server, which can be expensive to setup.

  • Sends notification to the pages_irc_channel or ${team_name}-pages if the alert has page => true
  • Sends notification IRC messages to the array of irc_channels specified by the check, otherwise sends to the notifications_irc_channel specified in the team data.
  • If out of all that there are no channels, then no notifications will be sent.

mailer (notification emails)

Modification of the sensu-community-plugins mailer that can route emails to different destinations depending on the circumstance.

  • Sends an email to the notification_email destination if specified in the check.
  • Otherwise it uses the notification_email specified by the team.
  • Will refuse to send any email if notification_email => false.

pagerduty (pages)

Modification of the sensu-community-plugins handler that can open events on different Pagerduty services depending on the inputs.

  • Only activates if the page boolean key in the event data is set to true
  • Only creates an incident on "Critical" levels (Does not page for warnings)
  • Uses the pagerduty_api_key config set to the team to determine which service to open or close an event in.
  • Tries to provide maximum context in the pagerduty event details
  • Automatically closes events that are resolved.

jira (tickets)

This handler can make a JIRA ticket for an alert.

  • The alert must have ticket => true
  • Derives the Project to make the ticket in from the project key set in the event data
  • Falls back to the default project for the team if unset.
  • WARNING: The Jira project must not have special required fields
  • WARNING: Jira has special "transition" states in order to close tickets, this handler won't work if you have some custom "workflow"? (specifically, it won't be ble to close/fix/done issues. Patches welcome)
  • WARNING: Be sure to use exponential backoff in order to not overload your Jira server.


There are other handlers included here that are not yelp-specific in the sense that they do not use the team construct, and are included out of convenience.

Puppet Usage

If you are using the module itself, it can deploy the handlers and configure them.

class sensu_handlers {
  # See the teams section
  $teams => $team_data,

Puppet Parameters

See the inline docstrings in init.pp for parameter documentation.


The Sensu handlers must have the team declarations available for consumption. This data must be in hiera because currently the monitoring_check module also utilizes it.

On the plus side, hiera allows you to describe your team configuration easily:

    pagerduty_api_key: 1234
    pages_irc_channel: 'dev1-pages'
    notifications_irc_channel: 'dev1'
    pagerduty_api_key: 4567
    pages_irc_channel: 'dev2-pages'
    notifications_irc_channel: 'dev2'
    # The frontend team doesn't use pagerduty yet, just emails
    notifications_irc_channel: 'frontend'
    pages_irc_channel: 'frontend'
    notification_email: 'frontend+pages@localhost'
    project: WWW
    pagerduty_api_key: 78923
    pages_irc_channel: 'ops-pages'
    notifications_irc_channel: 'operations-notifications'
    notification_email: 'operations@localhost'
    project: OPS
    # Uses the ops Pagerduty service for page-worhty events,
    # but otherwise just jira tickets
    pagerduty_api_key: 78923
    project: METAL

Team Syntax

This is a very important aspect of the configuration of these sensu handlers. The team syntax determines the default behavior of the handlers, given an input team.

Warning: If you typo a team name, the Sensu handlers will not know how to associate an alert with the right outputs. This is a common source of mistakes.

Lets look at the team syntax in more detail:

    pagerduty_api_key: 78923
    pages_irc_channel: 'ops-pages'
    notifications_irc_channel: 'operations-notifications'
    notification_email: 'operations@localhost'
    project: OPS
  • sensu_handlers::teams: - Normal puppet-hiera lookup name. Matches 1:1 with the sensu_handlers module, teams parameter. This is a hash
  • ops: - Team name. This is the primary lookup key
  • pagerduty_api_key: deadbeef - In pagerduty, this corresponds to a "service". That service must use the "generic" or "sensu" api format. Sharing the api key with a "Nagios" service will NOT work
  • pages_irc_channel: ops-pages - If there is an event with page=>true, a notification will go to this channel. This parameter defaults to $team-pages. It can take an array of channels. No need to have the leading "#".
  • notifications_irc_channel: 'operations-notifications' - Non-paging events will appear here. If ommited, defaults to $team-notifications. This also can accept an array, and does not need a leading "#"
  • notification_email: 'operations@localhost' - If set, the handler will send emails for every event to this address. If ommited it will send no emails. You can send the email to multiple destinations by using comma separated list (like any email client)
  • project: OPS - Used by the JIRA handler. If a event comes in that has ticket=>true, the jira handler will open a ticket on this project. There no default for this parameter. Special considerations have to be made for the JIRA project to enable auto-opening and auto-closing of tickets, see the docs on the jira handler.

Manually Invoking These Handlers

You can manually invoke these handlers in order to test them, ensuring that (for example) a JIRA ticket is correctly raised. Simply pipe the Sensu alert in JSON into one of the handlers, and it should parse it as if it were a fresh alert.

$ grep 'failed' /var/log/sensu/sensu-server.log  | tail -n 1 | jq .event > last_failed_event.json
$ cat last_failed_event | sudo -u sensu ruby jira.rb


Please open a github issue for support.


Custom Sensu Handlers to support a multi-tenant environment, allowing checks themselves to emit the type of handler behavior they need in the event json




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