Getting started with Graphite

Puppet Enterprise can export many metrics to Graphite, a third-party monitoring application that stores real-time metrics and provides customizable ways to view them. After Graphite support is enabled, Puppet Server exports a set of metrics by default that is designed to be immediately useful to Puppet administrators.

Note: A Graphite setup is deeply customizable and can report many different Puppet Server metrics on demand. However, it requires considerable configuration and additional server resources. For an easier, but more limited, web-based dashboard of Puppet Server metrics built into Puppet Server, use the developer dashboard. To retrieve metrics manually via HTTP, use the Status API.

To use Graphite with Puppet Enterprise, you must:

  • Install and configure a Graphite server.
  • Enable Puppet Server's Graphite support

Grafana provides a web-based customizable dashboard that's compatible with Graphite, and the Grafanadash module installs and configures it by default.

Using the Grafanadash module

The Grafanadash module quickly installs and configures a basic test instance of Graphite with the Grafana extension. When installed on a dedicated Puppet agent, this module provides a quick demonstration of how Graphite and Grafana can consume and display Puppet Server metrics.

CAUTION: The Grafanadash module referenced in this document is not a Puppet-supported module; it is for testing and demonstration purposes only. It is tested against CentOS 7 only. Also, install this module on a dedicated agent only. Do not install it on the Puppet master, because the module makes security policy changes that are inappropriate for a Puppet master:
  • SELinux can cause issues with Graphite and Grafana, so the module temporarily disables SELinux. If you reboot the machine after using the module to install Graphite, you must disable SELinux again and restart the Apache service to use Graphite and Grafana.

  • The module disables the iptables firewall and enables cross-origin resource sharing on Apache, which are potential security risks.

Installing the Grafanadash module

Install the Grafanadash module on a *nix agent. The module's grafanadash::dev class installs and configures a Graphite server, the Grafana extension, and a default dashboard.

  1. Install a *nix PE agent to serve as the Graphite server.
  2. As root on the Puppet agent node, run puppet module install puppetlabs-grafanadash.
  3. As root on the Puppet agent node, run puppet apply -e 'include grafanadash::dev'.

Running Grafana

Grafana is a dashboard that can interpret and visualize Puppet Server metrics over time, but you must configure it to do so.

Grafana runs as a web dashboard, and the Grafanadash module configures it at port 10000 by default. However, there are no Puppet metrics displayed by default. You must create a metrics dashboard to view Puppet's metrics in Grafana, or edit and import a JSON-based dashboard such as the sample Grafana dashboard that we provide.

  1. In a web browser on a computer that can reach the Puppet agent node, navigate to http://<AGENT'S HOSTNAME>:10000.
  2. Open the sample_metrics_dashboard.json file in a text editor on the same computer you're using to access Grafana.
  3. Throughout the file, replace our sample setting of with the hostname of your Puppet master. This value must be used as the metrics_server_id setting, as configured below.
  4. Save the file.
  5. In the Grafana UI, click search (the folder icon), then Import, then Browse.
  6. Navigate to and select the edited JSON file.

This loads a dashboard with nine graphs that display various metrics exported from the Puppet Server to the Graphite server. However, these graphs remain empty until you enable Puppet Server's Graphite metrics.

Enabling Puppet Server's Graphite support

Use the PE Master node group in the console to configure Puppet Server's metrics output settings.

  1. In the console, click Classification, and in the PE Infrastructure group, select the PE Master group.
  2. On the Configuration tab, in the puppet_enterprise::profile::master class, add these parameters:
    1. Set metrics_graphite_enabled to true (default is false).
    2. Set metrics_server_id to the Puppet master hostname.
    3. Set metrics_graphite_host to the hostname for the agent node on which you're running Graphite and Grafana.
    4. Set metrics_graphite_update_interval_seconds to a value to set Graphite's update frequency in seconds. This setting is optional, and the default value is 60.
  3. Verify that these parameters are set to their default values, unless your Graphite server uses a non-standard port:
    1. Set metrics_jmx_enabled to true (default value).
    2. Set metrics_graphite_port to 2003 (default value) or the Graphite port on your Graphite server.
    3. Set profiler_enabled to true (default value).
  4. Commit changes.
What to do next:
Note: In the Grafana UI, choose an appropriate time window from the drop-down menu.
Note: The puppet_enterprise::profile::master::metrics_enabled parameter used in Puppet Enterprise 2016.3 and earlier is no longer necessary and has been deprecated. If you set it, PE notifies you of the setting's deprecation.

Sample Grafana dashboard graphs

Use the sample Grafana dashboard as your starting point and customize it to suit your needs. You can click on the title of any graph, and then click edit to adjust the graphs as you see fit.

Sample Grafana dashboard code

Graph name Description
Active requests This graph serves as a "health check" for the Puppet Server. It shows a flat line that represents the number of CPUs you have in your system, a metric that indicates the total number of HTTP requests actively being processed by the server at any moment in time, and a rolling average of the number of active requests. If the number of requests being processed exceeds the number of CPUs for any significant length of time, your server might be receiving more requests than it can efficiently process.
Request durations This graph breaks down the average response times for different types of requests made by Puppet agents. This indicates how expensive catalog and report requests are compared to the other types of requests. It also provides a way to see changes in catalog compilation times when you modify your Puppet code. A sharp curve upward for all of the types of requests indicates an overloaded server, and they should trend downward after reducing the load on the server.
Request ratios This graph shows how many requests of each type that Puppet Server has handled. Under normal circumstances, you should see about the same number of catalog, node, or report requests, because these all happen one time per agent run. The number of file and file metadata requests correlate to how many remote file resources are in the agents' catalogs.
External HTTP Communications This graph tracks the amount of time it takes Puppet Server to send data and requests for common operations to, and receive responses from, external HTTP services, such as PuppetDB.
File Sync This graph tracks how long Puppet Server spends on File Sync operations, for both its storage and client services.
JRubies This graph tracks how many JRubies are in use, how many are free, the mean number of free JRubies, and the mean number of requested JRubies. If the number of free JRubies is often less than one, or the mean number of free JRubies is less than one, Puppet Server is requesting and consuming more JRubies than are available. This overload reduces Puppet Server's performance. While this might simply be a symptom of an under-resourced server, it can also be caused by poorly optimized Puppet code or bottlenecks in the server's communications with PuppetDB if it is in use. If catalog compilation times have increased but PuppetDB performance remains the same, examine your Puppet code for potentially unoptimized code. If PuppetDB communication times have increased, tune PuppetDB for better performance or allocate more resources to it. If neither catalog compilation nor PuppetDB communication times are degraded, the Puppet Server process might be under-resourced on your server. If you have available CPU time and memory, increase the number of JRuby instances to allow it to allocate more JRubies. Otherwise, consider adding additional compilers to distribute the catalog compilation load.
JRuby Timers This graph tracks several JRuby pool metrics.
  • The borrow time represents the mean amount of time that Puppet Server uses ("borrows") each JRuby from the pool.
  • The wait time represents the total amount of time that Puppet Server waits for a free JRuby instance.
  • The lock held time represents the amount of time that Puppet Server holds a lock on the pool, during which JRubies cannot be borrowed. This occurs while Puppet Server synchronizes code for File Sync.
  • The lock wait time represents the amount of time that Puppet Server waits to acquire a lock on the pool.
These metrics help identify sources of potential JRuby allocation bottlenecks.
Memory Usage This graph tracks how much heap and non-heap memory that Puppet Server uses.
Compilation This graph breaks catalog compilation down into various phases to show how expensive each phase is on the master.

Example Grafana dashboard excerpt

The following example shows only the targets parameter of a dashboard to demonstrate the full names of Puppet's exported Graphite metrics (assuming the Puppet Server instance has a domain of and a way to add targets directly to an exported Grafana dashboard's JSON content.

"panels": [
        "span": 4,
        "editable": true,
        "type": "graphite",


        "targets": [
                "target": "alias(,'num cpus')"
                "target": "alias(,'active requests')"
                "target": "alias(,'average')"
        "aliasColors": {},
        "aliasYAxis": {},
        "title": "Active Requests"

See the sample Grafana dashboard for a detailed example of how a Grafana dashboard accesses these exported Graphite metrics.