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Nanny is a monitoring tool that monitors the absence of activity.

Nanny runs an API server, which expects to be called every N seconds, and if no such call is made, Nanny notifies you.

Nanny can notify you via these channels (for now):

  • print text to stderr
  • email
  • sentry
  • sms (twilio)
  • slack (webhook)
  • generic webhook (HTTP POST callback)
  • xmpp (jabber)


Run API server:

$ LOGXI=* ./nanny
14:21:07.969059 INF ~ Using config file
   path: nanny.toml
14:21:07.977322 INF ~ Nanny listening addr: localhost:8080

Call it via curl:

curl http://localhost:8080/api/v1/signal --data '{ "name": "my awesome program", "notifier": "stderr", "next_signal": "5s", "all_clear": false }'

With this call, you tell nanny that if program named my awesome program does not call again within next_signal (5s), it should notify you using stderr notifier. Additionally, nanny appends the IP or X-Forwarded-For HTTP header to the program name. You can disable this behaviour by sending a X-Dont-Modify-Name along with the request. If you activate all_clear you will get an additional notification when the program sends a signal to nanny for the first time after an alert was sent.

After 5s pass, nanny prints to stderr:

2018-06-26T14:24:29+02:00: Nanny: I haven't heard from "my awesome program@" in the last 5s! (Meta: map[])


The easiest way is to download .tar.gz from releases section, edit nanny.toml and run it.

Or you can clone this repository and compile it yourself:

git clone
cd nanny
make build

Note that Nanny requires Go >= 1.8 to run.

An alternative way of using Nanny is to run it inside a Docker container. You must build the Nanny container image first by using the command make docker/make buildah. Afterwards, a dockerized Nanny instance can be started like this:

docker run -d -p 8080:8080 -e "NANNY_NAME=MyNanny" lunemec/nanny:latest


  • Use the docker run environment variable parameter -e in combination with NANNY_<CONFIG_PROPERTY_HERE> to override nanny.toml file configurations.
  • Optionally, you can mount your own nanny.toml file (Docker option -v) into the containers' /opt directory to overwrite the default nanny.toml configuration. You then need to overwride the default CMD with --config /path/inside/container/to/nanny.toml.

Additionally, it's possible to run Nanny using the provided Docker Compose file (see docker-compose.yml):

docker-compose up -d


See nanny.toml for a configuration example. The fields are self-explanatory (I think). Please create an issue if anything does not make sense!

All enabled notifiers can be used via API, so enable only those you wish to allow.

ENV variables

ENV variables can be used to override the config file settings. They should be prefixed with NANNY_ and followed by same name as in nanny.toml.


NANNY_NAME="custom name" NANNY_ADDR="localhost:9090" LOGXI=* ./nanny


Nanny version

Print nanny version.

  • URL


  • Method:


  • Success Response:

    • Code: 200 Content: Nanny vX.Y


Signal Nanny to register notification with given parameters.

  • URL


  • Method:


  • Headers:

    X-Dont-Modify-Name: true If specified, Nanny won't modify the name specified in the JSON payload. Useful when your signals come from programs with dynamic IP addresses.

  • Data Params

      "name": "name of monitored program",
      "notifier": "stderr", # You can use only enabled notifiers, see config.
      "next_signal": "55s", # When to expect next call (or notify).
      "all_clear": false,   # Optional all-clear notification when a call is received after an alert was sent
      "meta": {             # Meta can contain any string:string values,
        "extra": "data"     # they are passed to the notifiers and will eventually
      }                     # be passed to the user.
  • Success Response:

    • Code: 200 Content: {"status_code":200, "status":"OK"}
  • Error Response:

    • Code: 400 Bad Request Content: {"status_code":400,"error":"unable to find notifier: "}


    • Code: 500 Internal Server Error Content: Message describing error, may be JSON or may be text.

Current signals

Return current signals as JSON.

  • URL


  • Method:


  • Success Response:

    • Code: 200 Content:
        "nanny_name": "Nanny",
        "signals": [
            "name":"my awesome program",
            "meta": {
              "current-step": "loading"
            "name":"my awesome program without meta",

Monitoring nanny

You can use one Nanny to monitor another Nanny or create a monitored Nanny-pair.

Run 1st nanny, on port 8080 that will use nanny at port 9090 as its monitor:

NANNY_ADDR="localhost:8080" LOGXI=* ./nanny --nanny "http://localhost:9090/api/v1/signal" --nanny-notifier "stderr"

Run 2nd nanny, on port 9090 that will use 1st nanny on port 8080:

NANNY_ADDR="localhost:9090" LOGXI=* ./nanny --nanny "http://localhost:8080/api/v1/signal" --nanny-notifier "stderr"

You may get some warnings until both Nannies are listening, but they will recover. If you stop one of them, the other will notify you.

Be sure to change nanny SQLite DB location! They would share the same DB and it could cause strange behavior. This can be done in the config file or by setting NANNY_STORAGE_DSN ENV variable.


By default, nanny logs only errors. To enable more verbose logging, use LOGXI=* environment variable.

Adding custom data (tags) to notifications

You can add extra meta-data to the API calls, which will be passed to all the notifiers. Metadata must conform to type map[string]string.

curl http://localhost:8080/api/v1/signal --data '{ "name": "my program", "notifier": "stderr", "next_signal": "5s", "all_clear": false, "meta":{"custom": "metadata"} }'

These metadata will be displayed in the messages for stderr and email, and in tags for sentry.


Contributions welcome! Just be sure you run tests and lints.

$ make
make build                            Build production binary.
make docker                           Build a Nanny Docker conainer using Docker
make buildah                          Build a Nanny Docker conainer using Buildah
make run                              Run Nanny in dev mode, all logging and race detector ON.
make test                             Run tests.
make vet                              Run go vet.
make lint                             Run golangci-lint (you have to install it).


Why write such a tool?

Sometimes you expect some job to run, say cron. But when someone messes up your crontab, or the machine is offline, you might not be notified.

Also often programs just log errors and fail silently, with nanny they fail loudly.

How do I secure my nanny?

To use HTTPS, or authentication you should use a reverse proxy like Apache or Nginx.

Get more details at