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What is the Stackdriver agent?

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015 01:43PM EDT

Stackdriver provides a system agent to enable monitoring for key system resources and application services. Agent metrics are monitored at 1-minute granularity.

By default, the agent will collect and send data about cpu utilization, cpu load, memory usage, swap usage, count of processes, disk usage, disk IO and network traffic.  This information is displayed on individual instance pages and is available for selection on custom and group dashboards. In addition, there are other services which can be set up for collection.  You can find more information on setting up for those services here.

The Stackdriver agent for Linux is a well-tested, custom, consistent package of collectd across all of the platforms that we support - regardless of the update and release schedule of other packages that vary across platforms.  We also have basic instructions on how to build from source for users who are running on a platform that we do not support today. We would like to thank the community of contributors to collectd for their work.

Installing the Stackdriver agent

Using the agent requires generating an API key to authenticate your instances. You can generate your API key here.

After you have an API key, you will need to install the agent on your instances. Follow the link below for the operating system you are using to install and configure the agent.  If your operating system isn't supported, let us know.

Linux

Click here to see the list of plugins that we support.

Click here to see the list of metrics that we collect by default.

The reason for creating a custom collectd package is as follows:
  • Plugins are optimized and tested for all platforms that we support
  • Fixes and new features are included before they're available in the standard distributions (ie. MongoDB and Redis Plugins)
  • Ensure that the source is the same across all linux environments where possible

Windows

The Windows agent is a custom process written in python that runs as a Windows service and records CPU Utilization, Memory, Pagefile, and Volume Usage.

Automated Installation

 

If you are using a config management system, open source modules have been contributed by some of our users to handle installing the agent on your systems for popular config management systems:

Extending the Stackdriver Agent


Extending the Linux Stackdriver Agent involves creating a new collectd plugin.  

Additionally, this new plugin's data model needs to be shared with the Stackdriver Engineering Team in order to adapt the incoming data to the internal Stackdriver data model for processing.

Ideally, the new collectd plugin would flow through the formal collectd project and included in the next release.
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