Alerting and Notifications for Infrastructure Metrics
Setting up effective alerts is a vital component of any monitoring and observability strategy. In this guide, we'll walk you through the high-level steps to configure alerts in Grafana, an open-source platform for visualization and monitoring. With Grafana's robust alerting capabilities, you can proactively detect and respond to critical incidents.
We'll also provide examples of configuring alert channels for email and Slack, enabling you to notify your team quickly and efficiently.
Why Configure Alerts in Grafana?
Alerts in Grafana play a crucial role in keeping your systems and applications healthy. By defining alert conditions, you can automatically monitor metrics and trigger notifications when specific thresholds are crossed. This proactive approach ensures that you're aware of potential issues before they escalate.
With Logit.io, your team can get notified and receive alerts with our built-in integrations that complement your existing workflow. Choose from many notification options, including Email and Slack.
You can also receive webhooks into your applications to automatically restart a service or raise a PagerDuty alert to notify your team.
What type of scenarios can we alert on?
The most common alert types used in Grafana typically depend on the specific monitoring and alerting needs of an organization or system. However, some alert types are more frequently used due to their applicability to various scenarios. Here are some of the most common alert types in Grafana:
Threshold Alerts: These are among the most common alerts. They trigger when a metric value crosses a predefined threshold, such as CPU usage exceeding a certain percentage or response time exceeding a specified limit.
Relative Threshold Alerts: Alerts based on changes in metric values relative to a specified baseline. For example, alert when the error rate increases by a certain percentage compared to the previous day.
Deviation Alerts: These are used to detect anomalies or unexpected trends in data. Alerts can be configured to trigger when there are significant deviations from the expected patterns.
Duration Alerts: Alerts based on the duration of a specific condition. For instance, send an alert when a server remains unresponsive for a certain period.
Query Alerts: Custom query alerts allow for complex alert logic based on the results of data queries. They are versatile and can be tailored to specific use cases.
Single-Stat Alerts: Alerts based on the value of a single metric, are often used for monitoring critical key performance indicators (KPIs).
Composite Alerts: Combining multiple alert conditions into a single alert is useful for complex scenarios where multiple conditions must be met for an alert to trigger.
State Changes Alerts: Alert when there is a change in the state of a system or metric, such as transitioning from an operational state to a critical state.
Silence Alerts: Temporarily muting or silencing alerts is common to prevent alerts during maintenance windows or known periods of instability.
Recovery Alerts: These alerts notify users when a previously triggered alert condition returns to normal, indicating that an issue has been resolved.
Organizations often use a combination of these alert types to comprehensively monitor their systems and applications while minimizing false positives and optimizing their incident response processes.
To get started with alerting for Infrastructure Metrics choose Launch Metrics from your dashboard, this opens the Grafana dashboard, choose Alerting from the left menu.
You can then see the Grafana Alerting screen as shown below.
Configuring Alert Contact Points
Alert contact points are the communication channels through which Grafana sends notifications when an alert is triggered. Grafana provides many options for alert contact points including but not limited to Email, Slack, Webhooks, PagerDuty, Opsgenie and more.
Here are steps to set up alert contact points for email and Slack:
In Grafana, navigate to the "Alerting" section and select "Contact Points." Click on "New contact point" and choose "Email" as the contact point type.
Specify the email addresses of the recipients who should receive alert notifications. Grafana can send alerts to multiple email addresses.
Add a name for the contact point and choose save.
Create an incoming webhook integration in your Slack workspace. This webhook URL is used to send alert notifications to Slack channels.
Grafana Configuration: In Grafana, create a new Contact point and select "Slack" as the contact point type.
Webhook URL: Paste the Slack incoming webhook URL into the appropriate field in Grafana.
In Grafana, notification policies serve as the backbone of alert routing, ensuring that critical information reaches the right individuals or teams at the right time. The default behaviour in Grafana is that all alerts are directed to a default contact point. However, this can be customized and refined by employing matches in specific routing areas.
Default Contact Point:
By default, Grafana designates a primary contact point to receive all alerts. This is often a general channel or team responsible for initial alert handling.
In Grafana, the notification label, also known as a "label" or "label selector," is a key part of alert rules. It is used to determine which notifications are sent when an alert is triggered.
Suppose you have an alert label "team" with values "Database Team," "Network Team," and "Application Team." You can create notification policies that match alerts based on this label's value and route them accordingly. For instance, alerts with "team:Database Team" label go to the database team's contact point.
Here we have configured a Notification Policy that matches the label severity=warning, we will later see how Alert Rules can be configured to trigger this notification policy and send an alert to our Demo Stack Webhook as shown in the image above.
Defining Alert Conditions
Now that you've set up alert contact points, it's time to define the alert conditions. You can configure alerts based on various criteria.
Create a new alert rule or edit an existing one on the Alert Rules tab.
In the alert rule configuration, specify the conditions that should trigger the alert. This typically involves defining a metric or data query.
Within the alert conditions, include label-matching criteria that correspond to the alerts you want to trigger. Labels provide context to the alerts.
Activate the alert rule to start monitoring for the specified conditions. Alerts will be triggered when the conditions and label-matching criteria are met.
The example above is alerting when the Disk use average is above 80%.
And adding a label when it gets a hit severity=warning. This will match and fire our notification policy that we configured earlier. For some in-depth use cases for CPU, Disk and RAM usage alert configurations see the What’s Next links at the bottom of this article.
By configuring alerts in Grafana, you empower your monitoring system to proactively detect and respond to issues. Whether it's high CPU usage, a sudden drop in website traffic, or any other critical metric, Grafana's alerting capabilities ensure you're always in the know. With alert channels set up for email and Slack, your team can stay informed and act swiftly to maintain system reliability and performance.