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15-Minute Quick Start

If you are a trial user, thank you for signing up for a trial with SignalFx! This guide is written especially for you. (If you are not a trial user but are new to SignalFx, skip to View infrastructure status using the Infrastructure Navigator to start learning about how your data is presented in SignalFx.)

In the 15 minutes or less it will take you to go through the tasks below, you will:

  • Start collecting and sending data.
  • Learn how to monitor key information about your system using the Infrastructure Navigator, along with built-in dashboards and charts.
  • Sign up to begin receiving alerts when certain conditions are met.

Start sending data

The first step to productivity with SignalFx is to install an integration and begin sending data to SignalFx. We suggest you start with any cloud service you might be using, such as Amazon Web Services, and the SignalFx Smart Agent, which monitors your infrastructure. You can find these integrations under Essential Services on the Integrations page.

  1. In a new window or tab, log into SignalFx.

  2. Click Integrations on the navigation bar.

    Integrations option on the navigation bar

  3. In the Essential Services section at the top of the page, click the tile for the cloud service you’d like to monitor. Click Create new integration and follow the installation instructions. When installation is complete, SignalFx begins listening for data from your account.

  4. While you are waiting for data to start coming in from the cloud service (which can take a few minutes), click the SignalFx Smart Agent tile and follow the installation instructions to install the Smart Agent on a single host.

    If you think you have correctly installed an integration, but data doesn’t arrive after several minutes, contact us at


    While you start the installation process from a tile on the Integrations page, the installation instructions are also listed below for your reference.

  5. After you have installed your desired integrations, continue with the next section to start exploring your data in SignalFx.

View infrastructure status using the Infrastructure Navigator

The Infrastructure Navigator provides a data-driven visualization of all the resources in your environment that are visible to SignalFx. Each is colored based on the value of one of several metrics. The metrics vary depending on what is being monitored (host, docker container, AWS instance, and so on).

To display the Infrastructure Navigator, click Infrastructure on the navigation bar.



The rest of this page reflects content that is visible if you install the SignalFx Smart Agent. Similar content is shown if you installed a different integration, but instead you see resources specific to your system (such as AWS instances if you installed the Amazon Web Services integration).

Multiple hosts view

The Infrastructure Navigator displays a square representing each host on which the SignalFx agent has been installed. Each square is colored according to the value of the metric chosen in the Color By selector in the control bar above. The color of each host ranges from green (low) to red (high) depending on the value of the metric. When your cursor hovers above a box, you can see the host ID, name and the value of the metric.


You will see one square for each host on which you have installed the SignalFx agent. As a first-time user, you may see only one host (if you’ve only installed the agent on a single host). The illustrations below show what the Infrastructure page looks like with multiple hosts reporting.

Infrastructure Navigator

Use the Color By selector to color the squares using the reported values of any of the following metrics:

  • CPU utilization (cpu.utilization)
  • Memory utilization (memory.utilization)
  • Disk utilization (disk.summary_utilization)
  • Total network traffic (
  • Total disk operations (
  • Most severe alert (red if there is a critical alert on the host, etc)

When you are looking at multiple hosts, you can “slice and dice” your view by using the Filter and Group By selectors in the control bar. This feature is generally more useful if you have installed the Smart Agent on multiple hosts, or when viewing data associated with a cloud service. For example, you might filter by a specific AWS availability zone to view only hosts in that zone. Alternately, you might group your hosts by availability zone to see the hosts in each zone. You can use either or both selectors to narrow down and customize your view.

You can use the tabs below the navigator to display additional information.

  • The List tab displays several types of information about each host.

  • The Alerts tab displays the currently active alerts for the hosts.


  • The System Metrics tab contains a dashboard showing a curated set of infrastructure metrics gathered by the SignalFx agent.

Single host view

To zoom in to view details about a single host,select one of the hosts by clicking on the appropriate square. When you have selected a single host, the Alerts tab will be filtered down to show information for the selected host, and the System Metrics tab will display a built-in dashboard showing information about just that host.


In addition, you will see tabs that provide more information about that single host:

  • Processes. A list of the active processes on the host, updated every 10 seconds, that can be sorted by various parameters.
  • Properties. The properties of the selected host that can be used for filtering and group‑by in the Multiple Hosts view.
  • If SignalFx integrations for additional services have been deployed on the host, tabs for these services will appear here as well. Each tab displays a built-in dashboard for that service. Built-in dashboards are discussed in the next section.

To exit the single host view, click the X in the border around the selected host.

View charts on a built-in dashboard

As discussed above, you can see the built-in dashboard for a service from the single host view in the Infrastructure Navigator. You can see the same dashboard, but with information on multiple hosts, on the Dashboards page.

To open the Dashboards page, hover over Dashboards on the navigation bar and select All dashboards.

Dashboards are groupings of charts and visualizations of metrics. SignalFx has three types of dashboards and dashboard groups: Built-in, Custom, and User. All dashboards, irrespective of type, belong to a dashboard group, and Built-In and Custom dashboard groups are displayed by default when you go to the Dashboards page.

To see the same dashboard you saw in the System Metrics tab for a single host in the Infrastructure Navigator, but with aggregated values for all hosts:

  1. Go to Built-in Dashboard Groups.
  2. Click Infrastructure to open the Infrastructure dashboard group.
  3. Click Infrastructure (a) to see the dashboard for all hosts. (The “a” stands for “aggregated.”)

You’ll see a number of charts, similar to those shown below. Scroll through the dashboard to see a wide range of information relevant to your system.


Detect anomalies and subscribe to alerts

In SignalFx, a detector monitors your applications and infrastructure for conditions or events that you care about. Those conditions or events are expressed as one or more rules that will trigger an alert when the conditions in the rules are met. If you subscribe to an alert, a notification will be sent to your email address when it is triggered and another notification will be sent when it clears.

While it is possible to create detectors from scratch, the Detector menu on every chart makes it easy to create recommended detectors based on built-in templates. Being able to view and create detectors directly from a chart makes it easy for you to begin viewing alerts and receiving notifications with just a few keystrokes.

In this section, you’ll sign up to start receiving notifications when a specific condition is met.

Create and subscribe to detector from a built-in template

To create an alert based on a recommended built-in detector template:

  1. Return to the Infrastructure (a) dashboard.

  2. At the top right corner of the CPU % chart, click the bell icon to display the Detector menu.

  3. In the Create New Detector from Built-In Template section of the menu, select High CPU Utilization %.


    A popup appears with information about the detector.

  1. Click Add recipient to add a new notification to this detector, such as your email address, and then click Activate.

You will now start receiving notifications when the detector conditions are met and when the condition clears. You can also view a list of all current active alerts.

What’s next?

To familiarize yourself with various features in SignalFx, check out Getting Around the User Interface.

The more data you send to SignalFx, the more visibility you have into your environment. As these instructions assume you have installed the SignalFx Smart Agent, try installing the Smart Agent on more hosts. You can do this on an individual basis, or using a tool like chef or puppet, as described in the installation instructions.

If you want the Smart Agent to discover additional metrics, configure the associated Smart Agent monitors. For information on configuring all our supported monitors, see Monitor Configuration.

Check out the many other ways to send data to SignalFx!