Metric anomaly detection
Branch: master
Clone or download
nathanielc Merged pull request #55 from nathanielc/nc-always-return
Always return data, annotated with anomaly score.
Latest commit c9874e8 Sep 1, 2017
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
counter fix duplicate metric registration Sep 2, 2017
docs @ 005de70 update docs link Oct 27, 2016
fingerprinters if all values are zero, allow sigma to consider them a match Jul 27, 2017
vendor/ always return the batch data, simple augment with anomalous field Sep 2, 2017
.gitmodules add docs Jun 12, 2014
.travis.yml switch to using golang dep tool to vendor dependencies. May 1, 2017
Gopkg.lock always return the batch data, simple augment with anomalous field Sep 2, 2017
Gopkg.toml always return the batch data, simple augment with anomalous field Sep 2, 2017
LICENSE start adding license Feb 6, 2014 always return the batch data, simple augment with anomalous field Sep 2, 2017
detector.go Expose metrics over HTTP /metrics endpoint. Jul 27, 2017
fingerprint.go Convert Morgoth to Kapacitor UDF (#29) Jun 12, 2016
window.go Convert Morgoth to Kapacitor UDF (#29) Jun 12, 2016

Morgoth Build Status

Morgoth is a framework for flexible anomaly detection algorithms packaged to be used with Kapacitor

Morgoth provides a framework for implementing the smaller pieces of an anomaly detection problem.

The basic framework is that Morgoth maintains a dictionary of normal behaviors and compares new windows of data to the normal dictionary. If the new window of data is not found in the dictionary then it is considered anomalous.

Morgoth uses algorithms, called fingerprinters, to compare windows of data to determine if they are similar. The Lossy Counting Algorithm(LCA) is used to maintain the dictionary of normal windows. The LCA is a space efficient algorithm that can account for drift in the normal dictionary, more on LCA below.

Morgoth uses a consensus model where each fingerprinter votes for whether it thinks the current window is anomalous. If the total votes percentage is greater than a consensus threshold then the window is considered anomalous.

Getting started


Morgoth can be installed via go:

go get


Morgoth can run as either a child process of Kapacitor or as a standalone daemon that listens on a socket.

Child Process

Morgoth is a UDF for Kapacitor. Add this configuration to Kapacitor in order to enable using Morgoth.

      prog = "/path/to/bin/morgoth"
      timeout = "10s"

Restart Kapacitor and you are ready to start using Morgoth within Kapacitor.


To use Morgoth as a socket UDF start the morgoth process with the -socket option.

   morgoth -socket /path/to/morgoth/socket

Next you will need to configure Kapacitor to use the morgoth socket.

      socket = "/path/to/morgoth/socket"
      timeout = "10s"

Restart Kapacitor and you are ready to start using Morgoth within Kapacitor.


Here is an example TICKscript for detecting anomalies in cpu data from Telegraf.

        .where(lambda: "cpu" == 'cpu-total')
        // track the 'usage_idle' field
        // label output data as anomalous using the 'anomalous' boolean field.
        // The window is anomalous if it occurs less the 5% of the time.
        // Use the sigma fingerprinter
        // Multiple fingerprinters can be defined...
        // Trigger a critical alert when the window is marked as anomalous.
        .crit(lambda: "anomalous")


A fingerprinter is a method that can determine if a window of data is similar to a previous window of data. In effect the fingerprinters take fingerprints of the incoming data and can compare fingerprints of new data to see if they match. These fingerprinting algorithms provide the core of Morgoth as they are the means by which Morgoth determines if a new window of data is new or something already observed.

An example fingerprinting algorithm is a sigma algorithm that computes the mean and standard deviation of a window and store them as the fingerprint for the window. When a new window arrives it compares the fingerprint (mean, stddev) of the new window to the previous window. If the windows are too far apart then they are not considered at match.

By defining several fingerprinting algorithms Morgoth can decide whether new data is anomalous or normal.

Lossy Counting Algorithm

The LCA counts frequent items in a stream of data. It is lossy because to conserve space it will drop less frequent items. The result is that the algorithm will find frequent items but may loose track of less frequent items. More on the specific mathematical properties of the algorithm can be found below.

There are two parameters to the algorithm, error tolerance (e) and minimum support (m). First e is in the range [0, 1] and is an error bound, interpreted as a percentage value. For example given and e = 0.01 (1%), items less the 1% frequent in the data set can be dropped. Decreasing e will require more space but will keep track of less frequent items. Increasing e will require less space but will loose track of less frequent items. Second m is in the range [0, 1] and is a minimum support such that items that are considered frequent have at least m% frequency. For example if m = 0.05 (5%) then if an item has a support less than 5% it is not considered frequent, aka normal. The minimum support becomes the threshold for when items are considered anomalous.

Notice that m > e, this is so that we reduce the number of false positives. For example say we set e = 5% and m = 5%. If a normal behavior X, has a true frequency of 6% than based on variations in the true frequency, X might fall below 5% for a small interval and be dropped. This will cause X's frequency to be underestimated, which will cause it to be flagged as an anomaly, triggering a false positive. By setting e < m we have a buffer to help mitigate creating false positives.


The Lossy Counting algorithm has three properties:

  1. there are no false negatives,
  2. false positives are guaranteed to have a frequency of at least (m - e)*N,
  3. the frequency of an item can underestimated by at most e*N,

where N is the number of items encountered.

The space requirements for the algorithm are at most (1 / e) * log(e*N). It has also been show that if the item with low frequency are uniformly random than the space requirements are no more than 7 / e. This means that as Morgoth continues to processes windows of data its memory usage will grow as the log of the number of windows and can reach a stable upper bound.


Morgoth exposes metrics about each detector and fingerprinter. The metrics are exposed as a promethues /metrics endpoint over HTTP. By default the metrics HTTP endpoint binds to :6767.

NOTE: Using the metrics HTTP endpoint only makes sense if you are using Morgoth in socket mode as otherwise each new process would collide on the bind port.

Metrics will have some or all of these labels:

  • task - the Kapacitor task ID.
  • node - the ID of the morgoth node within the Kapacitor task.
  • group - the Kapacitor group ID.
  • fingerprinter - the unique name for the specific fingerprinter, i.e. sigma-0.

The most useful metric for debugging why Morgoth is not behaving as expected is likely to be the morgoth_unique_fingerprints gauge. The metric reports the number of unique fingerprints each fingerprinter is tracking. This is useful because if the number is large or growing with each new window its likely that the fingerprinter is erroneously marking every window as anomalous. By providing visibility into each fingerprinter, Morgoth can be tuned as needed.

Using Kapacitor's scraping service you can scrape the Morgoth UDF process for these metrics and consume them within Kapacitor. See this tutorial for more information.