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Setting up single instance of alerta for quick demo on aws, for testing purpose only

In my example, we are going to setup and launch one AWS EC2 instance which configures alerta. Please read the Pre-requisites below and make sure you are happy to proceed.

This example demostrates use of terraform, providing details with userdata, recording the instance details in consul (demo site, and finally doing a puppet run to configure alerta.

The end of the run, you should able get to http://<EC2_PUBLIC_DNS>


  1. Install Terraform. link
  2. Have an account on AWS (free Tier if possible). link
  3. Some basic knowledge of AWS.
  • Creating and download your key pair (.pem file). link
  • Create your Access key and access secret (one time creation). link
  • Check your default vpc, this example will use your default vpc.
  • Familiarity with the AWS console and aws clil
  • AWS training - I recommend Ryan Kroonemburg on Udemy. link
  1. basic knowlege of alerta. link

Note: These examples deploy resources into your AWS account. Although all the resources should fall under the AWS Free Tier, it is not my responsibility if you are charged money for this.

Now on your host (where you have installed Terraform)

Step 1 - Setup your credentails for using aws

In order for Terraform to be able to make changes in your AWS account, you will need to set the AWS credentials for your user. You can do this two ways

  1. Set as environment variables:
  2. Set details in in .aws/credentials file

Both ways is show below.

Setting as environment variables.

export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=(your access key id)
export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=(your secret access key)

Set in credentials file.

cat ~/.aws/credentials
aws_access_key_id = (your access key id)
aws_secret_access_key = (your secret access key)

It is recommended to keep your keys outside the git repo's so you dont commit the keys into git by mistake.

Or if you have aws clil installed, run configure to set your keys, which will create the file for you.

aws configure

Step 2 - Take a copy of my git repo.

It contains all the files you need for this example.

$ git clone 
$ cd alerta-terraform
$ terraform init 

Step 3 - Make variable changes to suit your environment

Make the following changes to these files in the code you have cloned:

Set the ssh keypair name in

variable "ssh_keypair_name" { default = "YOUR_KEYPAIR_NAME" }

If you need to set region, amis etc, in, or use default, eu-west-1.

NOTE: if you change AMI id, make sure it's ubuntu AMI for this example to work.

For ssh to work, do the following.
symlink or name your private ssh key pem file to my_aws_key.pem, I have the private key in ~/.aws dir. ( This the private key part of your keypair name you're using in ssh_keypair_name variable above. )

simplist is to just symlink it. (or you can update private_key in set this to location of your ssh private key (.pem) file)

$ln -s ~/.aws/akarim_ssh.pem ~/.aws/my_aws_key.pem

$grep private_key 
variable "private_key" { default = "~/.aws/my_aws_key.pem" }

You can also add your own public key(s) in user_data file, alerta_data.yml, in section ssh_authorized_keys:, replace with your pubkey.


Change consul id to avoid clash, set the consul_id to be unque to you, to avoid clash with someone else running this example as same time as you.

variable "consul_id" { default = "aka_alerta_demo" }

Step 4 - Run to launch the instance

Run plan and apply when ready

$ terraform  plan
$ terraform apply

alerta should be ready to be tested at http://<EC2_PUBLIC_DNS>

you can also go to to view the key that has been created in consul demo site. Remember this is demo site, so keys get reset back to default after a while.

Step 5 - Send test Alert to alerta

To send alert to the newly created instance.

Send alert using curl

you can use curl, run the below curl command in a shell. (change the json data as required)

export ALERTA_ENDPOINT=$(curl -s | python -c 'import sys, json; print json.load(sys.stdin)[0]["Value"]'|base64 --decode)

curl -XPOST http://${ALERTA_ENDPOINT}/api/alert \
-H 'Content-type: application/json' \
-d '{
      "attributes": {
        "region": "EU"
      "correlate": [
      "environment": "Production",
      "event": "HttpServerError",
      "group": "Web",
      "origin": "curl",
      "resource": "web01",
      "service": [
      "severity": "major",
      "tags": [
      "text": "Site is down.",
      "type": "exceptionAlert",
      "value": "Bad Gateway (501)"

You should get a json reposnse back and alert should appear in alerta gui.

Send alert using alerta command-line tool

Download alerta command-line tool.

pip install alerta

Now to send alert, you can do this using two option.

Option 1 - Use consul ID created

To use consul KV id created by terraform, just run below command (need curl,python and base64 util installed), you can run this from anywhere.

This will send a major alert to the alerta instance we just created, getting the alerta endpoint from consul.

NOTE: This is an example of service discovery. We are asking consul what our monitor_server endpoint address is.

alerta --endpoint-url=http://$(curl -s | python -c 'import sys, json; print json.load(sys.stdin)[0]["Value"]'|base64 --decode)/api send -r web01 -e NodeDown -E Production -S Website -s major -t "Web server is down." -v ERROR

Option 2 - set the endpoint in config file.

or alternative set alerta address in config

To use the command-line tool to submit a test alert without using the endpoint-url option, you you can create a configuration file that defines what API endpoint to use: This set to your newly created instance.

cat << EOF > ~/.alerta.conf
endpoint = http://<EC2_PUBLIC_DNS>/api

Send a test “critical” alert and confirm it has been received by viewing it in the web console:

$ alerta send --resource net01 --event down --severity critical --environment Development --service Network --text 'net01 is down.'

Note that the above can be shortened by using argument flags instead of the full argument names:

$ alerta send -r net01 -e down -s critical -E Code -S Network -t 'net01 is down.'

more details of alerta docs can be found here

NOTES on consul:

This example just demostrates use of consul provider in terraform, using the demo consul endpoint. If you have your own consul setup, then change the details in to point to your own consul endpoint. Goal here is set the alerta end point, so when launching other instances, we can retrieve the end point address using consul to know where to send our alerts to. Example is purely to show how one can do service discovery using consul.



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