Created: 2011-07-19 03:11
Updated: 2016-10-14 08:36

Statsd setup

These recipes launch and configure a simple EC2 instance running Etsy's Statsd (for application statistics) and Graphite (for graphs and the web UI).


If you haven't already:

I store the key files in ~/.ec2/ locally.

$ sudo chmod 600 ~/.ec2/statsd_setup.pem  # set appropriate permissions on private key file

The EC2 API tools require certain environment variables to be set. I put the following in a local file (e.g., ~/bash/

export EC2_HOME=~/tools/ec2-api-tools-
export EC2_PRIVATE_KEY=~/.ec2/pk-statsd_setup.pem
export EC2_CERT=~/.ec2/cert-statsd_setup.pem
export JAVA_HOME=/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/CurrentJDK/Home
export PATH=$PATH:$EC2_HOME/bin

...and run the following to load them:

$ source ~/bash/

Finally, start the instances and modify some basic security settings:

$ ec2-run-instances ami-06ad526f -k statsd_setup  # start a new instance with a recent Ubuntu 11 image
$ ec2-authorize default -p 22                     # permit SSH
$ ec2-authorize default -p 80                     # permit HTTP
$ ec2-authorize default -p 8125 -P udp            # statsd will listen here

I use spatula to apply chef recipes to simple environments. Run ec2-describe-instances to view the new instance's external IP, then substitute it in the following commands (run from this project's root directory):

$ spatula prepare ubuntu@ --identity ~/.ec2/statsd_setup.pem    # set up chef prerequisites
$ spatula cook ubuntu@ node --identity ~/.ec2/statsd_setup.pem  # apply recipes for statsd and graphite

At this point, Statsd and Graphite are ready to start tracking metrics. Visit your instance in a browser to access Graphite's web interface.

Tracking application metrics

I added the statsd-ruby gem to my app's Gemfile and created an initializer with something like:

require 'statsd'
$statsd ='')  # substitute your host

Then, tracking stats is as simple as:

$statsd.increment('deploys')                 # increment a stat
$statsd.increment('successful_logins', 0.1)  # increment a stat, sampling 10%
$statsd.decrement('usage.active_users')      # decrement a stat
$statsd.count('cart.products_added', 3)      # track an arbitrary stat
$statsd.timing('partners.twitter_api', 650)  # track a time value (in ms)
$statsd.time('partners.facebook_api') {...}  # track time spent executing the given block

You can always terminate the instance with ec2-terminate-instance i-17fc3c76 (substituting the appropriate instance id).


All of the included cookbooks are from third parties and can be found at the Opscode Cookbooks Directory.

Statsd, of course, is the tiny and powerful daemon from Etsy for passing application event data to Graphite. See their blog post. It's based on earlier work from Flickr.

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