Docs » Integrations Guide » Use the Smart Agent » Legacy Filtering

Legacy Filtering 🔗

This page describes the old style of filtering and is deprecated and removed in agent version 5.0+. See Filtering for how to configure filtering in SignalFx Smart Agent 4.7.0+.

Old-style inclusion list filtering 🔗

In the Smart Agent prior to version 4.7.0, custom metrics were filtered out of the agent by means of a whitelist.json file that was referenced under the metricsToExclude section of the standard distributed config file. This method is now deprecated but will continue to work if already configured as such. If you upgrade to 4.7.0 or later, you will continue to need the whitelist.json custom-metric filtering until you set enableBuiltInFiltering: true in your config. You should remove the reference to whitelist.json in your config at the same time you set that flag.

Essentially the effect of setting enableBuiltInFiltering: true and removing the reference to whitelist.json is to make the monitors inherently emit the metrics that were in whitelist.json by default, which makes it significantly easier to configure monitors to emit additional metrics in a single step.

We recommend upgrading the agent to at least 4.7.0 and setting the enableBuiltInFitlering: true flag, as it is much easier to configure and understand than the old metricsToExlude/metricsToInclude mechanism. The only reason to not set enableBuiltInFiltering: true is if you have extensive modifications to the allowed metrics (especially via metricsToInclude) and you don’t want to rewrite all of that using extraMetrics (the new built-in filtering will filter out metrics before they can be processed by metricsToInclude, so that config will have no effect if built-in filtering is enabled).

Global datapoint filtering 🔗

DEPRECATED – The following information is about filtering datapoints at a global level (i.e. outside of monitor configuration). It will continue to work, but we recommend putting filter definitions at the monitor level instead.

Filters can be specified with the metricsToExclude config at the top-level of the agent config. This parameter should be a list of filters that specify the metric name and/or dimensions to match on. These filters should be used sparingly, as every single datapoint emitted by monitors must be processed by these filters, resulting in higher CPU usage.

Metric names and dimension values can be either globbed (i.e. where * is a wildcard for zero or more characters, and ? is a wildcard for a single character) or specified as a Go-compatible regular expression (the value must be surrounded by / to be considered a regex).

You can limit the scope of a filter to a specific monitor type with the monitorType option in the filter item. This value matches the monitor type used in the monitor config. This is very useful when trying to filter on a heavily overloaded dimension, such as the plugin_instance dimension that most collectd-based monitors emit.

Sometimes it is easier to filter the metrics you want to allow through. You can do this by setting the negated option to true on a filter item. This makes all metric name and dimension matching negated so that only datapoints with that name or dimension are allowed through. You would also use this option to specify custom metrics that you want to send to SignalFx. The monitorType option is never negated, and always serves to scope a filter item to the specified monitor type, if given. In the case where multiple filters overlap, they will be combined by the agent. If metrics are matched by two filters which have opposite negation, the agent will favor exclusion.


  # If a metric matches any one of these filters it will be excluded.
    # Excludes all metrics that start with 'container_spec_memory_'
    - metricName: container_spec_memory_*

    # Excludes multiple metric names in a single filter
    - metricNames:
      - container_start_time_seconds
      - container_tasks_state

    # Excludes networking metrics about flannel interfaces that match the
    # pattern (e.g. 'flannel.1', 'flannel.2', etc.)
    - metricName: pod_network_*
        interface: /flannel\.\d/

    # This is a metric from collectd.  All instances of it will be suppressed.
    - metricName:

    # This filter will only match against datapoints from the collectd/df
    # monitor
    - dimensions:
        plugin_instance: dm-*
      monitorType: collectd/df

    # This only allows cpu and memory metrics from the docker monitor to come
    # through.  Note that the monitorType is never negated, and metrics from
    # other monitors will not be excluded since this filter is scoped to a
    # single monitor.
    - metricNames:
      - cpu*
      - memory*
      monitorType: docker-container-stats
      negated: true

    # This indicates that you want to monitor the custom metrics
    # gauge.cluster.status and for the
    # elasticsearch monitor.
    - metricNames:
      - elasticsearch.cluster.status
      monitorType: elasticsearch
      negated: true

    # This will be automatically merged with the above filter to produce one
    # Filter on three metric names for elasticsearch
    - metricNames:
      - elasticsearch.thread_pool.inactive
      monitorType: elasticsearch
      negated: true

    # This will override the above filter, exclusion is always favored
    - metricNames:
      - elasticsearch.thread_pool.inactive
      monitorType: elasticsearch

Inclusion filtering 🔗

Sometimes it is necessary to specify metrics that you want to include even when they would be otherwise excluded by filters in metricsToExclude. Therefore, there is the metricsToInclude option that should be a list of the same type of metric filters used in metricsToExclude.

The main difference between a filter in metricsToExclude that has negated: true and a filter in metricsToInclude is that the filter in metricsToExclude will actually exclude metrics that don’t match the filter, whereas the filter in metricsToInclude will never exclude anything, but only override the exclusion in metricsToExclude.

For example:

   - metricNames:
     - request_size
     - response_size
   # This allows through datapoints with the name `request_size` that have the
   # specified dimension but still excludes other datapoints without those
   # dimensions.  All `response_size` metrics are still excluded.
   - metricName: request_size
       app: bigapp

This can be useful for overridding the built-in inclusion list for metrics.