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15-Minute Quick Start

A Guide for Trial Users

Thank you for signing up as a trial user of SignalFx! This guide is written especially for you. In the 15 minutes or less it will take you to go through the tasks below, you will:

  • Start collecting and sending data using the SignalFx collectd agent.
  • 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 the SignalFx collectd agent.

When you sign in to SignalFx for the first time (after setting up your trial account), you will be greeted by a walkthrough that will guide you through the process of sending in data. During this process, you will install the SignalFx collectd agent. When installation is complete, SignalFx begins listening for data from your account.

When you have completed the walkthrough, continue with the next task to learn about the Infrastructure Navigator, a visual representation of the hosts that SignalFx has detected sending data from your organization.

Note

If you think the SignalFx collectd agent is installed and running correctly, but data doesn’t arrive after several minutes, schedule a help session with one of our experts. You can also email us at support@signalfx.com.

View infrastructure status using the Infrastructure Navigator

The Infrastructure Navigator provides a data-driven visualization of all the hosts and virtual machines in your environment that are visible to SignalFx. Each is colored based on the value of one of several infrastructure metrics.

If the Infrastructure Navigator isn’t displayed, click Infrastructure in the navigation bar.

../_images/infra-nav-bar-smaller.png

Multiple hosts view

The Infrastructure Navigator displays a square representing each host on which the SignalFx collectd 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.

Note

You will see one square for each host on which you have installed the SignalFx agent. First-time users 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.

../_images/infra-no-legend1.png

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 (network.total)
  • Total disk operations (disk_ops.total)

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 additional integrations, such as AWS. Integrations are discussed in What’s next? at the end of this document.) 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 Host List tab displays several types of information about each host.
  • The Alerts tab displays the currently active alerts for the hosts.
../_images/alerts-tab-in-infra.png


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

Single host view

To zoom in to view details about a single host, you can either:

  • Select one of the hosts by clicking on the appropriate square.
  • Click the name of a host in the Host List tab.
../_images/single-host1.png

When you have selected a single host, the Alerts and System Metrics tabs will be filtered down to show information for the selected 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.
../_images/processes.png
  • Properties. The properties of the selected host that can be used for filtering and group‑by in the Multiple Hosts view.
  • Collectd. A built-in dashboard showing additional infrastructure metrics for the selected host.
  • 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 in 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 collectd tab 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 Collectd(a) to see the dashboard.
../_images/dashboard-collectd.png

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. As you install additional integrations to your system (discussed in What’s next? at the end of this document), you’ll see more Built-In dashboard groups on the Dashboards page.

../_images/collectd-dashboard-charts.png

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 Collectd(a) dashboard.

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

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

    ../_images/detector-high-cpu.png

    A popup appears with information about the detector.

    ../_images/new-detector.png
  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.

Quick Start complete!

Congratulations! In 15 minutes or less, you now know how to view your system status in a variety of ways, and you will begin receiving alerts that let you address issues before they become serious enough to affect your users.

What’s next?

The more data you send to SignalFx, the more visibility you have into your environment. Try one or more of the following:

  • Install the SignalFx collectd agent on more hosts:
    1. Click Integrations in the navigation bar.
    2. Click the Chef or Puppet tab in the SignalFx Collectd Agent tile and follow the instructions.
  • Integrate SignalFx with Amazon Web Services (AWS) CloudWatch:
    1. Click Integrations in the navigation bar.
    2. Click the Amazon Web Services tile and follow the instructions to sync CloudWatch metrics into SignalFx.
    3. By default, metrics for all AWS services and regions associated with your AWS account will be imported. You can customize this further by clicking All Services or All Regions.
  • Check out the many other ways to send data to SignalFx!