Costa Tsaousis edited this page Nov 26, 2016 · 28 revisions


Running Netdata



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Netdata Configuration

Configuration files are placed in /etc/netdata.

Netdata Daemon

The daemon configuration file is read from /etc/netdata/netdata.conf.

In this file you can configure all aspects of netdata. Netdata provides configuration settings for plugins and charts found when started. You can find all these settings, with their default values, by accessing the URL https://netdata.server.hostname:19999/netdata.conf. For example check the configuration file of

The configuration file has sections stated with [section]. There will be the following sections:

  1. [global] for global netdata daemon options
  2. [plugins] for controlling which plugins the netdata will use
  3. [plugin:NAME] one such section for each plugin enabled
  4. [CHART_NAME] once such section for each chart defined

The configuration file is a name = value dictionary. Netdata will not complain if you set options unknown to it. When you check the running configuration by accessing the URL /netdata.conf on your netdata server, netdata will add a comment on settings it does not currently use.

[global] section options

setting default info
hostname auto-detected The hostname of the computer running netdata.
history 3600 The number of entries the netdata daemon will by default keep in memory for each chart dimension. This setting can also be configured per chart. Check Memory Requirements for more information.
config directory /etc/netdata The directory configuration files are kept.
plugins directory /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d The directory plugin programs are kept.
web files directory /usr/share/netdata/web The directory the web static files are kept.
cache directory /var/cache/netdata The directory the memory database will be stored if and when netdata exits. Netdata will re-read the database when it will start again, to continue from the same point.
log directory /var/log/netdata The directory the log files are kept. Check Log Files for more information.
host access prefix empty This is used in docker environments where /proc, /sys, etc have to be accessed via another path. You may also have to set SYS_PTRACE capability on the docker for this work. Check issue 43.
debug flags 0x00000000 Bitmap of debug options to enable. For more information check Tracing Options.
memory deduplication (ksm) yes When set to yes, netdata will offer its in-memory round robin database to kernel same page merging (KSM) for deduplication. For more information check Memory Deduplication - Kernel Same Page Merging - KSM
debug log /var/log/netdata/debug.log The filename to save debug information. This file will not be created is debugging is not enabled. You can also set it to syslog to send the debug messages to syslog, or none to disable this log. For more information check Tracing Options.
error log /var/log/netdata/error.log The filename to save error messages for netdata daemon and all plugins (stderr is sent here for all netdata programs, including the plugins). You can also set it to syslog to send the errors to syslog, or none to disable this log.
access log /var/log/netdata/access.log The filename to save the log of web clients accessing netdata charts. You can also set it to syslog to send the access log to syslog, or none to disable this log.
memory mode save When set to save netdata will save its round robin database on exit and load it on startup. When set to map the cache files will be updated in real time (check man mmap - do not set this on systems with heavy load or slow disks - the disks will continuously sync the in-memory database of netdata). When set to ram the round robin database will be temporary and it will be lost when netdata exits.
update every 1 The frequency in seconds, for data collection. For more information see Performance.
run as user netdata The user netdata will run as.
web files owner netdata The user that owns the web static files. Netdata will refuse to serve a file that is not owned by this user, even if it has read access to that file. If the user given is not found, netdata will only serve files owned by user given in run as user.
http port listen backlog 100 The port backlog. Check man 2 listen.
default port 19999 The default port to listen for web clients.
bind to * The IP address and port to listen to. This is a space separated list of IPv4 or IPv6 address and ports. The default will bind to all IP addresses. Example: bind to = [::1]:19999.
disconnect idle web clients after seconds 60 The time in seconds to disconnect web clients after being totally idle.
enable web responses gzip compression yes When set to yes, netdata web responses will be GZIP compressed, if the web client accepts such responses.

[plugins] section options

In this section there will be a boolean (yes/no) option for each plugin. Additionally, there will be the following options:

setting default info
checks no This is a debugging plugin for the internal latency of netdata.
enable running new plugins yes When set to yes, netdata will enable plugins not configured specifically for them. Setting this to no will disable all plugins you have not set to yes explicitly.
check for new plugins every 60 The time in seconds to check for new plugins in the plugins directory. This allows having other applications dynamically creating plugins for netdata.

Netdata Plugins

The configuration options for plugins appear in sections following the pattern [plugin:NAME].

Internal Plugins

Most internal plugins will provide additional options. Check Internal Plugins for more information.

External Plugins

External plugins will have only 2 options at netdata.conf:

setting default info
update every the value of [global].update every setting The frequency in seconds the plugin should collect values. For more information check Performance.
command options empty Additional command line options to pass to the plugin.

External plugins that need additional configuration may support a dedicated file in /etc/netdata. Check their documentation.

A note about netdata.conf

This config file is not needed by default. You can just touch it (to be empty) to get rid of the error message displayed when missing.

The whole idea came up when I was evaluating the documentation involved in maintaining a complex configuration system. My intention was to give configuration options for everything imaginable. But then, documenting all these options would require a tremendous amount of time, users would have to search through endless pages for the option they need, etc.

I concluded then that configuring software like that is a waste for time and effort. Of course there must be plenty of configuration options, but the implementation itself should require a lot less effort for both the devs and the users.

So, I did this:

  1. No configuration is required to run netdata
  2. There are plenty of options to tweak
  3. There is minimal documentation (or no at all)

Why this works?

The configuration file is a name = value dictionary with [sections]. Write whatever you like there as long as it follows this simple format.

Netdata loads this dictionary and then when the code needs a value from it, it just looks up the name in the dictionary at the proper section. In all places, in the code, there are both the names and their default values, so if something is not found in the configuration file, the default is used. The lookup is made using B-Trees and hashes (no string comparisons), so they are super fast. Also the names of the settings can be my super duper setting that once set to yes, will turn the world upside down = no - so goodbye to most of the documentation involved.

Next, netdata can generate a valid configuration for the user to edit. No need to remember anything. Just get the configuration from the server (/netdata.conf on your netdata server), edit it and save it.

Last, what about options you believe you have set, but you misspelled? When you get the configuration file from the server, there will be a comment above all name = value pairs the server does not use. So you know that whatever you wrote there, is not used.

Applying changes

After netdata.conf has been modified, netdata needs to be restarted for changes to apply:

sudo service netdata restart

If the above does not work, try the following:

sudo killall netdata; sleep 10; sudo netdata

Please note that your data history will be lost if you have modified history parameter in section [global].