FAQ

General

  • What is Hosted Graphite?
    Hosted Graphite is a provider of metric collection, storage and visualisation services.
  • Huh?
    Sorry. We provide ways for you to send us data about how your application and servers are running and we plot that data on graphs and dashboards for you. We give you the tools you need to send large amounts of data, and provide interesting ways for you to get accurate data back out, analyze it, and share it.
    When you have questions about any part of this process we respond quickly and give you useful advice.
  • What is a Metric?
    A metric is a time-series collection of name-value data. This data is sent to us as it is sampled (or aggregated with other sampled data) and it becomes available in your account for later graphing.
    In human terms, this means that you send us a number at a certain time, and we make sure that that number gets collected correctly with all the other numbers that lots of other servers could be sending at the same time.
  • What is Graphite?
    Graphite is a highly scalable, real-time graphing system. The metrics that you send us can be graphed using Graphite’s web interface or on Grafana Dashboards, available when you log into your Hosted Graphite account.
  • Why should I use Hosted Graphite?
    Hosted Graphite lets you measure, analyze and visualize large amounts of data about your applications and back-end systems without any of the hassles of setting up your own server, or worrying about scaling, backups or maintenance. There’s lots of supported tools, addons and plugins to let you get exactly the type of data you want out, and plenty of simple ways to get data in. Get an instant overview of how your technology is performing.
  • But I could just install the open-source version of Graphite?
    You could! Let’s say you take some time to figure out the docs and install it somewhere, then do some tests to get data in and make sure it’s giving you the right data back out. Let’s say it takes a few hours of pretty enjoyable tinkering, because I’m an optimist (your mileage may vary...).

    That’s the easy, fun part. Here’s the unfun part: at some point in the future, you’re going to have to drop some other important task because your monitoring setup stops working the way you want.
    • Maybe your company grows, and you need to send way more data than you originally thought and the server you picked can’t handle it. Now you need to reinstall somewhere, or multiple somewheres.
    • Maybe someone on your team isn’t getting the right answers out, and you need to help them debug it or create new dashboards.
    • Maybe your company releases the new badass version of your software, and even with your beefy new setup it swamps your monitoring. Now nobody know what’s happening in production and people are looking at you like you kicked their puppy.
    • Maybe now you can’t remember exactly what you were working on originally?
    • Maybe your boss is wondering why you’re spending all this time maintaining the graphs instead of writing that useful new feature the customers are waiting for?
    • Maybe you didn’t want to be the Graphite monkey, and all these problems need to just go away...
    That’s why we’re doing this - let us handle it for you.

Business

  • Do you provide an SLA or keep uptime statistics?
    Yes. We aim for (and achieve) three nines availability. We’re happy to give you more detailed stats upon request, contact us for details.
  • What are your support options for businesses?
    We provide email support for all plans, and we answer quickly. For large plans and above we also offer phone or skype support. The people giving you answers are experienced engineers.
  • Can you migrate our existing dashboards?
    Absolutely! Please contact help@hostedgraphite.com and we’ll talk you through the process.
  • We have a lot of metrics, how can we get them all hosted?
    We have customers sending millions of metrics. If you think you’re going to need a lot of metrics, we can onboard you at a pace that suits your schedule. If you have an existing Graphite setup, you can set up a relay that duplicates some or all of your metrics to us. This way you can determine whether our service suits your needs without ever losing control of your existing setup. If you decide that Hosted Graphite is right for you, you can then send metrics directly to us. If you have sales questions get in touch at sales@hostedgraphite.com, or help@hostedgraphite.com for more technical queries.
  • Who owns my data? Can I get it back or get data backups?
    The data is yours. Our Enterprise customers can benefit from regular data backups to Amazon S3. Other accounts can get one-time whisper exports of their data sets upon request.

Technical

  • Does Hosted Graphite use Whisper files as its back-end?
    No. Hosted Graphite has replaced Graphite’s traditional file-based whisper format with a compatible datastore running on Riak. This allows us to easily scale up to very large amounts of metrics, while also ensuring that there are multiple redundant copies of the data.
  • Does sending metrics affect the speed of my application?
    Sending metrics to Hosted Graphite will have a negligible impact on performance if implemented correctly. If you need to perform metric processing or aggregation before sending, consider doing this asynchronously to minimise performance impact e.g. in another thread.
  • When should I consider using TCP vs UDP?
    UDP is a simple way to get started as you can ‘fire and forget’. However, UDP is an unreliable protocol, if you want to be sure that the message was received a TCP Connection is preferred. If you choose TCP, we recommend that you make the connection asychronously (e.g. in another thread) to prevent network conditions from affecting performance of your system. The majority of our incoming traffic is TCP.
  • How long do you keep data for?
    Keywords: retention, resolution, rollup

    We store data at different resolutions:
    • 5 second data is stored for 1 day
    • 30 second data is stored for 7 days
    • 5 minute data is stored for 6 months
    • 1 hour data is stored for 2 years. Contact us for longer periods.
    Depending on your query, Graphite will serve data from the most appropriate resolution.
    For example, if you ask for the most recent 30 minutes, that data will come from the 5 second resolution. If you ask for 60 minutes, it’ll come from the 30 second resolution, because serving 5 second data for that query would produce too much data to meaningfully display. However, if you ask for 30 minutes of data from six hours ago, that’ll go back to the 5 second resolution because of how ‘zoomed in’ you are. In this way we allow for a fast, meaningful overview of your data as well as detailed investigation when it becomes necessary.

    In contrast to vanilla Graphite, our backend doesn’t just keep averages - we keep the min, max, avg, sum, and observations of the data sent allowing much more detailed insight into your metrics. We also provide arbitrary percentile data for even more interesting views of your metrics.
  • What version of Graphite do you offer?
    We offer Graphite version 0.9.12 with some fixes cherry-picked from upstream.

Account Metrics and Limiting

  • What happens if I go over the limits of my plan?
    If your metric limits go over the allowed number of metrics for your plan, we’ll send you a friendly reminder to ask you to either delete metrics or upgrade to the next plan.
    If your account is still over the allotted number of metrics for your plan after 7 days we’ll drop you a mail and your plan will be automatically upgraded. Any charges will be prorated.
  • What limits are on my account?
    See the Account Limits explanation documentation for information on what limits are in place, and why.
  • I spin up a lot of VMs, is this going to affect my metric limits?
    We can set up a metric expiry policy for metrics you know aren’t going to last long. You can set an expiration of 7, 14, 21, or 30 days which will automatically delete a metric if it hasn’t been updated in that time. See the documentation on metric expiry for more information.
  • Is there anything I should know when I’m sending data via Java?
    Yes. Java can cache DNS entries indefinitely, which causes problems when we need to replace or add servers to our system.
    Use our Java caching guide to ensure your DNS behaves like a good neighbour.
  • Are queries to Graphite cached?
    Hosted Graphite uses graphite’s default cache settings of 60s for metrics, data and rendered images. If you really need uncached results, add ‘&noCache=true’ to your query string.
  • Is it possible to control the data retention policy for my account?
    Not at the moment. Graphite’s usual backend rolls up metrics and then produces an average at a different resolution, we keep unaltered data at the resolution required.
  • What client languages do you support?
    Graphite is designed to be language agnostic - as long as you have some way to send a data packet over a network via TCP or UDP, integration is very easy. We provide sample code for the following:

Add-Ons

  • Can I use Hosted Graphite from my PAAS provider?
    We provide direct add-ons with the following PAAS providers:
    More add-ons are on the way! If you want to see an add-ons with your favorite provider, just let us know.
  • Can I connect Hosted Graphite to a service I’m running such as Tasseo, Tattle, Graphiti, Cabot or Seyren?
    Yes! On our Small plans and above, you have can create an access key which allows external applications the ability to read your graph, dashboard, and metric data.
  • How can I get alerts from Hosted Graphite metrics?
    If you create an access key, you can hook Hosted Graphite up to Seyren or Cabot. Both are excellent alerting frameworks that our customers like.
    There’s more detail in our Alerting Guide.
  • Is it possible to share my account with colleagues?
    Yes. Medium plans and above provide Team Access. You can invite other team members to use your account, and view your graphs. You have the option of giving them full or read-only access to your account. See the Team Access documentation.
  • Do you provide hosted StatsD?
    Yes! Hosted StatsD is available on our Small plan and above. We also provide data views which provide much of the functionality of StatsD. See our integration guide for StatsD for instructions on how to configure your own StatsD server to send data to Hosted Graphite.

Customization

Troubleshooting

  • Why don’t I see any metrics in the dashboard composer’s ‘Graphite’ folder?
    Ensure that your metrics are being sent using the correct format and using the correct API Key.
  • Why did I get an empty graph after selecting a metric in the dashboard composer’s ‘Graphite’ folder?
    If the metric appears in the folder, then it’s likely one (or both) of two things have happened.
    • No data for the currently selected time window - choose a more suitable time range. If you’re trying to test that a new metric was received, a 30 minute time range is a good choice.
    • The data is too sparse for the selected time range - try choosing the Connected Line graph style or enabling the Keep Last Value option - see the Graph Option Menu for more info on these options.
  • Why can’t I see any graphs on my dashboard?
    After adding graphs to a dashboard, you must explicitly save that dashboard, giving it a name. Then the dashboard can be recalled either via a menu or via a bookmarkable URL. See the Dashboard Guide for more information.
  • How long does it take for metrics to appear in the system?
    In general, it will take about 30 seconds for a new metric to be available in the metric tree. During slower times this might take a couple of minutes, but we try to keep it to around 30 seconds.
    The speed of new datapoints appearing for an existing metric will depend on the time scale of the graph you’re viewing.
    For a short graph timescale (e.g. within the last 24 hours) the metric will become available within a few seconds - 15 seconds at the minimum. If you’re looking at a timespan greater than 24 hours, it will take up to 10 minutes simply because each data point on a graph of that scale is represented by a larger amount of time. One data point received in that time interval is not a valid representation of the actual data stream, so data is only displayed when there is a valid amount collected.

Support

  • Where can I get further help?
    If you have any questions, feel free to mail help@hostedgraphite.com and one of our engineers will get back to you quickly. Most of the team is in Dublin, Ireland and you can expect a quick response during our office hours, and we try our best to provide cover during US office hours.