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StatsD is a system to collect data from any application. Applications send metrics to it, usually via non-blocking UDP communication, and StatsD servers collect these metrics, perform a few simple calculations on them and push them to backend time-series databases.

If you want to learn more about the StatsD protocol, we have written a blog post about it!

Netdata is a fully featured statsd server. It can collect statsd formatted metrics, visualize them on its dashboards and store them in it's database for long-term retention.

Netdata statsd is inside Netdata (an internal plugin, running inside the Netdata daemon), it is configured via netdata.conf and by-default listens on standard statsd port 8125. Netdata supports both TCP and UDP packets at the same time.

Since statsd is embedded in Netdata, it means you now have a statsd server embedded on all your servers.

Netdata statsd is fast. It can collect several millions of metrics per second on modern hardware, using just 1 CPU core. The implementation uses two threads: one thread collects metrics, another thread updates the charts from the collected data.

Available StatsD synthetic application charts

Netdata ships with a few synthetic chart definitions to automatically present application metrics into a more uniform way. These synthetic charts are configuration files (you can create your own) that re-arrange statsd metrics into a more meaningful way.

On synthetic charts, we can have alarms as with any metric and chart.

Metrics supported by Netdata

Netdata fully supports the StatsD protocol and also extends it to support more advanced Netdata specific use cases. All StatsD client libraries can be used with Netdata too.

  • Gauges

    The application sends name:value|g, where value is any decimal/fractional number, StatsD reports the latest value collected and the number of times it was updated (events).

    The application may increment or decrement a previous value, by setting the first character of the value to + or - (so, the only way to set a gauge to an absolute negative value, is to first set it to zero).

    Sampling rate is supported. Tags are supported for changing chart units, family and dimension name.

    When a gauge is not collected and the setting is not to show gaps on the charts (the default), the last value will be shown, until a data collection event changes it.

  • Counters and Meters

    The application sends name:value|c, name:value|C or name:value|m, where value is a positive or negative integer number of events occurred, StatsD reports the rate and the number of times it was updated (events).

    :value can be omitted and StatsD will assume it is 1. |c, |C and |m can be omitted and StatsD will assume it is |m. So, the application may send just name and StatsD will parse it as name:1|m.

    • Counters use |c (etsy/StatsD compatible) or |C (brubeck compatible)

    • Meters use |m

      Sampling rate is supported. Tags are supported for changing chart units, family and dimension name.

      When a counter or meter is not collected, StatsD defaults to showing a zero value, until a data collection event changes the value.

  • Timers and Histograms

    The application sends name:value|ms or name:value|h, where value is any decimal/fractional number, StatsD reports min, max, average, 95th percentile, median and standard deviation and the total number of times it was updated (events). Internally it also calculates the sum, which is available for synthetic charts.

    • Timers use |ms

    • Histograms use |h

      The only difference between the two, is the units of the charts, as timers report milliseconds.

      Sampling rate is supported. Tags are supported for changing chart units and family.

      When a counter or meter is not collected, StatsD defaults to showing a zero value, until a data collection event changes the value.

  • Sets

    The application sends name:value|s, where value is anything (number or text, leading and trailing spaces are removed), StatsD reports the number of unique values sent and the number of times it was updated (events).

    Sampling rate is not supported for Sets. value is always considered text (so 01 and 1 are considered different).

    Tags are supported for changing chart units and family.

    When a set is not collected, Netdata defaults to showing a zero value, until a data collection event changes the value.

  • Dictionaries

    The application sends name:value|d, where value is anything (number or text, leading and trailing spaces are removed), StatsD reports the number of events sent for each value and the total times name was updated (events).

    Sampling rate is not supported for Dictionaries. value is always considered text (so 01 and 1 are considered different).

    Tags are supported for changing chart units and family.

    When a set is not collected, Netdata defaults to showing a zero value, until a data collection event changes the value.

Sampling Rates

The application may append |@sampling_rate, where sampling_rate is a number from 0.0 to 1.0 in order for StatD to extrapolate the value and predict the total for the entire period. If the application reports to StatsD a value for 1/10th of the time, it can append |@0.1 to the metrics it sends to statsd.


The application may append |#tag1:value1,tag2:value2,tag3:value3 etc, where tagX and valueX are strings. :valueX can be omitted.

Currently, Netdata uses only 2 tags:

  • units=string which sets the units of the chart that is automatically generated
  • family=string which sets the family of the chart that is automatically generated (the family is the submenu of the dashboard)
  • name=string which sets the name of the dimension of the chart that is automatically generated (only for counters, meters, gauges)

Other tags are parsed, but currently are ignored.

Charts are not updated to change units or dimension names once they are created. So, either send the tags on every event, or use the special zinit value to initiaze the charts at the beginning. zinit is a special value that can be used on any chart, to have netdata initialize the charts, without actually setting any values to them. So, instead of sending my.metric:VALUE|c|#units=bytes,name=size every time, the application can send at the beginning my.metric:zinit|c|#units=bytes,name=size and then my.metric:VALUE|c.

Overlapping metrics

Netdata's StatsD server maintains different indexes for each of the metric types supported. This means the same metric name may exist under different types concurrently.

How to name your metrics

A good practice is to name your metrics like application.operation.metric, where:

  • application is the application name - Netdata will automatically create a dashboard section based on the first keyword of the metrics, so you can have all your applications in different sections.
  • operation is the operation your application is executing, like dbquery, request, response, etc.
  • metric is anything you want to name your metric as. Netdata will automatically append the metric type (meter, counter, gauge, set, dictionary, timer, histogram) to the generated chart.

Using Tags you can also change the submenus of the dashboard, the units of the charts and for meters, counters and gauges, the name of dimension. So, you can have a usable default view without using Synthetic StatsD charts

Multiple metrics per packet

Netdata accepts multiple metrics per packet if each is terminated with a newline (\n) at the end.

TCP packets

Netdata listens for both TCP and UDP packets. For TCP, is it important to always append \n on each metric, as Netdata will use the newline character to detect if a metric is split into multiple TCP packets.

UDP packets

When sending multiple metrics over a single UDP message, it is important not to exceed the network MTU, which is usually 1500 bytes.

Netdata will accept UDP packets up to 9000 bytes, but the underlying network will not exceed MTU.

You can read more about the network maximum transmission unit(MTU) in this cloudflare article.


You can find the configuration at /etc/netdata/netdata.conf:

# enabled = yes
# decimal detail = 1000
# update every (flushInterval) = 1
# udp messages to process at once = 10
# create private charts for metrics matching = *
# max private charts allowed = 200
# max private charts hard limit = 1000
# private charts memory mode = save
# private charts history = 3996
# histograms and timers percentile (percentThreshold) = 95.00000
# add dimension for number of events received = no
# gaps on gauges (deleteGauges) = no
# gaps on counters (deleteCounters) = no
# gaps on meters (deleteMeters) = no
# gaps on sets (deleteSets) = no
# gaps on histograms (deleteHistograms) = no
# gaps on timers (deleteTimers) = no
# listen backlog = 4096
# default port = 8125
# bind to = udp:localhost:8125 tcp:localhost:8125

StatsD main config options

  • enabled = yes|no

    controls if StatsD will be enabled for this Netdata. The default is enabled.

  • default port = 8125

    controls the default port StatsD will use if no port is defined in the following setting.

  • bind to = udp:localhost tcp:localhost

    is a space separated list of IPs and ports to listen to. The format is PROTOCOL:IP:PORT - if PORT is omitted, the default port will be used. If IP is IPv6, it needs to be enclosed in []. IP can also be * (to listen on all IPs) or even a hostname.

  • update every (flushInterval) = 1 seconds, controls the frequency StatsD will push the collected metrics to Netdata charts.

  • decimal detail = 1000 controls the number of fractional digits in gauges and histograms. Netdata collects metrics using signed 64-bit integers and their fractional detail is controlled using multipliers and divisors. This setting is used to multiply all collected values to convert them to integers and is also set as the divisors, so that the final data will be a floating point number with this fractional detail (1000 = X.0 - X.999, 10000 = X.0 - X.9999, etc).

The rest of the settings are discussed below.

StatsD charts

Netdata can visualize StatsD collected metrics in 2 ways:

  1. Each metric gets its own private chart. This is the default and does not require any configuration. You can adjust the default parameters.

  2. Synthetic charts can be created, combining multiple metrics, independently of their metric types. For this type of charts, special configuration is required, to define the chart title, type, units, its dimensions, etc.

Private metric charts

Private charts are controlled with create private charts for metrics matching = *. This setting accepts a space-separated list of simple patterns. Netdata will create private charts for all metrics by default.

For example, to render charts for all myapp.* metrics, except myapp.*.badmetric, use:

create private charts for metrics matching = !myapp.*.badmetric myapp.*

You can specify Netdata StatsD to have a different memory mode than the rest of the Netdata Agent. You can read more about memory mode in the documentation.

The default behavior is to use the same settings as the rest of the Netdata Agent. If you wish to change them, edit the following settings:

  • private charts memory mode
  • private charts history

Optimize private metric charts visualization and storage

If you have thousands of metrics, each with its own private chart, you may notice that your web browser becomes slow when you view the Netdata dashboard (this is a web browser issue we need to address at the Netdata UI). So, Netdata has a protection to stop creating charts when max private charts allowed = 200 (soft limit) is reached.

The metrics above this soft limit are still processed by Netdata, can be used in synthetic charts and will be available to be sent to backend time-series databases, up to max private charts hard limit = 1000. So, between 200 and 1000 charts, Netdata will still generate charts, but they will automatically be created with memory mode = none (Netdata will not maintain a database for them). These metrics will be sent to backend time series databases, if the backend configuration is set to as collected.

Metrics above the hard limit are still collected, but they can only be used in synthetic charts (once a metric is added to chart, it will be sent to backend servers too).

Example private charts (automatically generated without any configuration):


  • Scope: count the events of something (e.g. number of file downloads)
  • Format: name:INTEGER|c or name:INTEGER|C or name|c
  • StatsD increments the counter by the INTEGER number supplied (positive, or negative).



  • Scope: report the value of something (e.g. cache memory used by the application server)
  • Format: name:FLOAT|g
  • StatsD remembers the last value supplied, and can increment or decrement the latest value if FLOAT begins with + or -.



  • Scope: statistics on a size of events (e.g. statistics on the sizes of files downloaded)
  • Format: name:FLOAT|h
  • StatsD maintains a list of all the values supplied and provides statistics on them.


The same chart with sum unselected, to show the detail of the dimensions supported: image


This is identical to counter.

  • Scope: count the events of something (e.g. number of file downloads)
  • Format: name:INTEGER|m or name|m or just name
  • StatsD increments the counter by the INTEGER number supplied (positive, or negative).



  • Scope: count the unique occurrences of something (e.g. unique filenames downloaded, or unique users that downloaded files)
  • Format: name:TEXT|s
  • StatsD maintains a unique index of all values supplied, and reports the unique entries in it.



  • Scope: statistics on the duration of events (e.g. statistics for the duration of file downloads)
  • Format: name:FLOAT|ms
  • StatsD maintains a list of all the values supplied and provides statistics on them.


Synthetic StatsD charts

Use synthetic charts to create dedicated sections on the dashboard to render your StatsD charts.

Synthetic charts are organized in

  • application aka section in Netdata Dashboard.
  • charts for each application aka family in Netdata Dashboard.
  • StatsD metrics for each chart /aka charts and context Netdata Dashboard.

You can read more about how the Netdata Agent organizes information in the relevant documentation

For each application you need to create a .conf file in /etc/netdata/statsd.d.

For example, if you want to monitor the application myapp using StatsD and Netdata, create the file /etc/netdata/statsd.d/myapp.conf, with this content:

name = myapp
metrics = myapp.*
private charts = no
gaps when not collected = no
history = 60

m1 = metric1
m2 = metric2

# replace 'mychart' with the chart id
# the chart will be named: myapp.mychart
name = mychart
title = my chart title
family = my family
context = chart.context
units = tests/s
priority = 91000
type = area
dimension = myapp.metric1 m1
dimension = myapp.metric2 m2

Using the above configuration myapp should get its own section on the dashboard, having one chart with 2 dimensions.

[app] starts a new application definition. The supported settings in this section are:

  • name defines the name of the app.

  • metrics is a Netdata simple pattern. This pattern should match all the possible StatsD metrics that will be participating in the application myapp.

  • private charts = yes|no, enables or disables private charts for the metrics matched.

  • gaps when not collected = yes|no, enables or disables gaps on the charts of the application in case that no metrics are collected.

  • memory mode sets the memory mode for all charts of the application. The default is the global default for Netdata (not the global default for StatsD private charts). We suggest not to use this (we have commented it out in the example) and let your app use the global default for Netdata, which is our dbengine.

  • history sets the size of the round robin database for this application. The default is the global default for Netdata (not the global default for StatsD private charts). This is only relevant if you use memory mode = save. Read more on our [metrics storage(]/docs/store/ doc.

[dictionary] defines name-value associations. These are used to renaming metrics, when added to synthetic charts. Metric names are also defined at each dimension line. However, using the dictionary dimension names can be declared globally, for each app and is the only way to rename dimensions when using patterns. Of course the dictionary can be empty or missing.

Then, add any number of charts. Each chart should start with [id]. The chart will be called family controls the submenu on the dashboard. context controls the alarm templates. priority controls the ordering of the charts on the dashboard. The rest of the settings are informational.

Add any number of metrics to a chart, using dimension lines. These lines accept 5 space separated parameters:

  1. the metric name, as it is collected (it has to be matched by the metrics = pattern of the app)
  2. the dimension name, as it should be shown on the chart
  3. an optional selector (type) of the value to shown (see below)
  4. an optional multiplier
  5. an optional divider
  6. optional flags, space separated and enclosed in quotes. All the external plugins DIMENSION flags can be used. Currently the only usable flag is hidden, to add the dimension, but not show it on the dashboard. This is usually needed to have the values available for percentage calculation, or use them in alarms.

So, the format is this:


pattern is a keyword. When set, METRIC is expected to be a Netdata simple pattern that will be used to match all the StatsD metrics to be added to the chart. So, pattern automatically matches any number of StatsD metrics, all of which will be added as separate chart dimensions.


TYPE can be:

  • events to show the number of events received by StatsD for this metric
  • last to show the last value, as calculated at the flush interval of the metric (the default)

Then for histograms and timers the following types are also supported:

  • min, show the minimum value
  • max, show the maximum value
  • sum, show the sum of all values
  • average (same as last)
  • percentile, show the 95th percentile (or any other percentile, as configured at StatsD global config)
  • median, show the median of all values (i.e. sort all values and get the middle value)
  • stddev, show the standard deviation of the values

Example synthetic charts

StatsD metrics: foo and bar.

Contents of file /etc/netdata/stats.d/foobar.conf:

name = foobarapp
metrics = foo bar
private charts = yes

title = Hey, foo and bar together
family = foobar_family
context = foobarapp.foobars
units = foobars
type = area
dimension = foo 'foo me' last 1 1
dimension = bar 'bar me' last 1 1

Metrics sent to statsd: foo:10|g and bar:20|g.

Private charts:

screenshot from 2017-08-03 23-28-19

Synthetic chart:

screenshot from 2017-08-03 23-29-14

Renaming StatsD synthetic charts' metrics

You can define a dictionary to rename metrics sent by StatsD clients. This enables you to send response "200" and Netdata visualize it as succesful connection

The [dictionary] section accepts any number of name = value pairs.

Netdata uses this dictionary as follows:

  1. When a dimension has a non-empty NAME, that name is looked up at the dictionary.

  2. If the above lookup gives nothing, or the dimension has an empty NAME, the original StatsD metric name is looked up at the dictionary.

  3. If any of the above succeeds, Netdata uses the value of the dictionary, to set the name of the dimension. The dimensions will have as ID the original StatsD metric name, and as name, the dictionary value.

Use the dictionary in 2 ways:

  1. set dimension = myapp.metric1 '' and have at the dictionary myapp.metric1 = metric1 name
  2. set dimension = myapp.metric1 'm1' and have at the dictionary m1 = metric1 name

In both cases, the dimension will be added with ID myapp.metric1 and will be named metric1 name. So, in alarms use either of the 2 as ${myapp.metric1} or ${metric1 name}.

keep in mind that if you add multiple times the same StatsD metric to a chart, Netdata will append TYPE to the dimension ID, so myapp.metric1 will be added as myapp.metric1_last or myapp.metric1_events, etc. If you add multiple times the same metric with the same TYPE to a chart, Netdata will also append an incremental counter to the dimension ID, i.e. myapp.metric1_last1, myapp.metric1_last2, etc.

Dimension patterns

Netdata allows adding multiple dimensions to a chart, by matching the StatsD metrics with a Netdata simple pattern.

Assume we have an API that provides StatsD metrics for each response code per method it supports, like these:


In order to add all the response codes of myapp.api.get to a chart, we simply make the following configuration:

dimension = pattern 'myapp.api.get.* '' last 1 1

The above will add dimension named 200, 400 and 500. Netdata extracts the wildcard part of the metric name - so the dimensions will be named with whatever the * matched.

You can rename the dimensions with this:

get.200 = 200 ok
get.400 = 400 bad request
get.500 = 500 cannot connect to db

dimension = pattern 'myapp.api.get.* 'get.' last 1 1

Note that we added a NAME to the dimension line with get.. This is prefixed to the wildcarded part of the metric name, to compose the key for looking up the dictionary. So 500 became get.500 which was looked up to the dictionary to find value 500 cannot connect to db. This way we can have different dimension names, for each of the API methods (i.e. get.500 = 500 cannot connect to db while post.500 = 500 cannot write to disk).

To add all 200s across all API methods to a chart, you can do this:

dimension = pattern 'myapp.api.*.200 '' last 1 1

The above will add get, post, del and all to the chart.

If all is not wanted (a stacked chart does not need the all dimension, since the sum of the dimensions provides the total), the line should be:

dimension = pattern '!myapp.api.all.* myapp.api.*.200 '' last 1 1

With the above, all methods except all will be added to the chart.

To automatically rename the methods, you can use this:

method.get = GET = ADD
method.del = DELETE

dimension = pattern '!myapp.api.all.* myapp.api.*.200 'method.' last 1 1

Using the above, the dimensions will be added as GET, ADD and DELETE.

StatsD examples


It's really easy to instrument your python application with StatsD, for example using jsocol/pystatsd.

import statsd
c = statsd.StatsClient('localhost', 8125)
c.incr('foo') # Increment the 'foo' counter.
for i in range(100000000):
if i % 3:
c.timing('stats.timed', 320) # Record a 320ms 'stats.timed'.

You can find detailed documentation in their documentation page.

Javascript and Node.js

Using the client library by sivy/node-statsd, you can easily embed StatsD into your Node.js project.

  var StatsD = require('node-statsd'),
client = new StatsD();

// Timing: sends a timing command with the specified milliseconds
client.timing('response_time', 42);

// Increment: Increments a stat by a value (default is 1)

// Decrement: Decrements a stat by a value (default is -1)

// Using the callback
client.set(['foo', 'bar'], 42, function(error, bytes){
//this only gets called once after all messages have been sent
console.error('Oh noes! There was an error:', error);
} else {
console.log('Successfully sent', bytes, 'bytes');

// Sampling, tags and callback are optional and could be used in any combination
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, 0.25); // 25% Sample Rate
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, ['tag']); // User-defined tag
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, next); // Callback
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, 0.25, ['tag']);
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, 0.25, next);
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, ['tag'], next);
client.histogram('my_histogram', 42, 0.25, ['tag'], next);

Other languages

You can also use StatsD with:


Getting the proper support for a programming language is not always easy, but the Unix shell is available on most Unix systems. You can use shell and nc to instrument your systems and send metric data to Netdata's StatsD implementation.

Using the method you can send metrics from any script. You can generate events like: backup.started, backup.ended, backup.time, or even tail logs and convert them to metrics.


To send StatsD messages you need from the netcat package, the nc command. There are multiple versions of this package. Please try to experiment with the nc command you have available on your right system, to find the right parameters.

In the examples below, we assume the openbsd-netcat is installed.

If you plan to send short StatsD events at sporadic occasions, use UDP. The messages should not be too long (remember, most networks support up to 1500 bytes MTU, which is also the limit for StatsD messages over UDP). The good thing is that using UDP will not block your script, even if the StatsD server is not there (UDP messages are "fire-and-forget").

For UDP use this:

echo "APPLICATION.METRIC:VALUE|TYPE" | nc -u -w 0 localhost 8125

-u turns on UDP, -w 0 tells nc not to wait for a response from StatsD (idle time to close the connection).


  • APPLICATION is any name for your application
  • METRIC is the name for the specific metric
  • VALUE is the value for that metric (meters, counters, gauges, timers and histograms accept integer/decimal/fractional numbers, sets and dictionaries accept strings)
  • TYPE is one of m, c, g, ms, h, s, d to define the metric type.

For tailing a log and converting it to metrics, do something like this:

tail -f some.log | awk 'awk commands to parse the log and format statsd metrics' | nc -N -w 120 localhost 8125

-N tells nc to close the socket once it receives EOF on its input. -w 120 tells nc to stop if the connection is idle for 120 seconds. The timeout is needed to stop the nc command if you restart Netdata while nc is connected to it. Without it, nc will sit idle forever.

When you embed the above commands to a script, you may notice that all the metrics are sent to StatsD with a delay. They are buffered in the pipes |. You can turn them to real-time by prepending each command with stdbuf -i0 -oL -eL command to be run, like this:

stdbuf -i0 -oL -eL tail -f some.log |\
stdbuf -i0 -oL -eL awk 'awk commands to parse the log and format statsd metrics' |\
stdbuf -i0 -oL -eL nc -N -w 120 localhost 8125

If you use mawk you also need to run awk with -W interactive.


To set myapp.used_memory as gauge to value 123456, use:

echo "myapp.used_memory:123456|g|#units:bytes" | nc -u -w 0 localhost 8125

To increment myapp.files_sent by 10, as a counter, use:

echo "myapp.files_sent:10|c|#units:files" | nc -u  -w 0 localhost 8125

You can send multiple metrics like this:

# send multiple metrics via UDP
printf "myapp.used_memory:123456|g|#units:bytes\nmyapp.files_sent:10|c|#units:files\n" | nc -u -w 0 localhost 8125

Remember, for UDP communication each packet should not exceed the MTU. So, if you plan to push too many metrics at once, prefer TCP communication:

# send multiple metrics via TCP
cat /tmp/statsd.metrics.txt | nc -N -w 120 localhost 8125

You can also use this little function to take care of all the details:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# we assume nc is from the openbsd-netcat package

statsd() {
local options="-u -w 0" all="${*}"

# replace all spaces with newlines
all="${all// /\\n}"

# if the string length of all parameters given is above 1000, use TCP
[ "${#all}" -gt 1000 ] && options="-N -w 0"

# send the metrics to statsd
printf "${all}\n" | nc ${options} ${STATSD_HOST} ${STATSD_PORT} || return 1

return 0

if [ ! -z "${*}" ]
statsd "${@}"

You can use it like this:

# first, source it in your script

# then, at any point:
statsd "myapp.used_memory:123456|g|#units:bytes" "myapp.files_sent:10|c|#units:files" ...

or even at a terminal prompt, like this:

./ "myapp.used_memory:123456|g|#units:bytes" "myapp.files_sent:10|c|#units:files" ...

The function is smart enough to call nc just once and pass all the metrics to it. It will also automatically switch to TCP if the metrics to send are above 1000 bytes.

If you have gotten thus far, make sure to check out our community forums to share your experience using Netdata with StatsD.

StatsD Step By Step Guide

In this guide, we'll go through a scenario of visualizing our data in Netdata in a matter of seconds using k6, an open-source tool for automating load testing that outputs metrics to the StatsD format.

Although we'll use k6 as the use-case, the same principles can be applied to every application that supports the StatsD protocol. Simply enable the StatsD output and point it to the node that runs Netdata, which is localhost in this case.

In general, the process for creating a StatsD collector can be summarized in 2 steps:

  • Run an experiment by sending StatsD metrics to Netdata, without any prior configuration. This will create a chart per metric (called private charts) and will help you verify that everything works as expected from the application side of things.

    • Make sure to reload the dashboard tab after you start sending data to Netdata.
  • Create a configuration file for your app using edit-config: sudo ./edit-config statsd.d/myapp.conf

    • Each app will have it's own section in the right-hand menu.

Now, let's see the above process in detail.


  • A node with the Netdata installed.
  • An application to instrument. For this guide, that will be k6.

Understanding the metrics

The real in instrumenting an application with StatsD for you is to decide what metrics you want to visualize and how you want them grouped. In other words, you need decide which metrics will be grouped in the same charts and how the charts will be grouped on Netdata's dashboard.

Start with documentation for the particular application that you want to monitor (or the technological stack that you are using). In our case, the k6 documentation has a whole page dedicated to the metrics output by k6, along with descriptions.

If you are using StatsD to monitor an existing application, you don't have much control over these metrics. For example, k6 has a type called trend, which is identical to timers and histograms. Thus, k6 is clearly dictating which metrics can be used as histograms and simple gauges.

On the other hand, if you are instrumenting your own code, you will need to not only decide what are the "things" that you want to measure, but also decide which StatsD metric type is the appropriate for each.

Use private charts to see all available metrics

In Netdata, every metric will receive its own chart, called a private chart. Although in the final implementation this is something that we will disable, since it can create considerable noise (imagine having 100s of metrics), it’s very handy while building the configuration file.

You can get a quick visual representation of the metrics and their type (e.g it’s a gauge, a timer, etc.).

An important thing to notice is that StatsD has different types of metrics, as illustrated in the supported metrics. Histograms and timers support mathematical operations to be performed on top of the baseline metric, like reporting the average of the value.

Here are some examples of default private charts. You can see that the histogram private charts will visualize all the available operations.

Gauge private chart

Gauge metric example

Histogram private chart

Timer metric example

Create a new StatsD configuration file

Start by creating a new configuration file under the statsd.d/ folder in the Netdata config directory. Use edit-config to create a new file called k6.conf.

sudo ./edit-config statsd.d/k6.conf

Copy the following configuration into your file as a starting point.

name = k6
metrics = k6*
private charts = yes
gaps when not collected = no
memory mode = dbengine

Next, you need is to understand how to organize metrics in Netdata’s StatsD.

Synthetic charts

Netdata lets you group the metrics exposed by your instrumented application with synthetic charts.

First, create a [dictionary] section to transform the names of the metrics into human-readable equivalents. http_req_blocked, http_req_connecting, http_req_receiving, and http_reqs are all metrics exposed by k6.

http_req_blocked = Blocked HTTP Requests
http_req_connecting = Connecting HTTP Requests
http_req_receiving = Receiving HTTP Requests
http_reqs = Total HTTP requests

Continue this dictionary process with any other metrics you want to collect with Netdata.

Families and context

Families and context are additional ways to group metrics. Families control the submenu at right-hand menu and it's a subcategory of the section. Given the metrics given by K6, we are organizing them in 2 major groups, or families: k6 native metrics and http metrics.

Context is a second way to group metrics, when the metrics are of the same nature but different origin. In our case, if we ran several different load testing experiments side-by-side, we could define the same app, but different context (e.g http_requests.experiment1, http_requests.experiment2).

Find more details about family and context in our documentation.


Now, having decided on how we are going to group the charts, we need to define how we are going to group metrics into different charts. This is particularly important, since we decide:

  • What metrics not to show, since they are not useful for our use-case.
  • What metrics to consolidate into the same charts, so as to reduce noise and increase visual correlation.

The dimension option has this syntax: dimension = [pattern] METRIC NAME TYPE MULTIPLIER DIVIDER OPTIONS

  • pattern: A keyword that tells the StatsD server the METRIC string is actually a simple pattern. We don't use simple patterns in the example, but if we wanted to visualize all the http_req metrics, we could have a single dimension: dimension = pattern 'k6.http_req*' last 1 1. Find detailed examples with patterns in dimension patterns.

  • METRIC The id of the metric as it comes from the client. You can easily find this in the private charts above, for example: k6.http_req_connecting.

  • NAME: The name of the dimension. You can use the dictionary to expand this to something more human-readable.

  • TYPE:

    • For all charts:

      • events: The number of events (data points) received by the StatsD server
      • last: The last value that the server received
    • For histograms and timers:

      • min, max, sum, average, percentile, median, stddev: This is helpful if you want to see different representations of the same value. You can find an example at the [iteration_duration] above. Note that the baseline metric is the same, but the name of the dimension is different, since we use the baseline, but we perform a computation on it, creating a different final metric for visualization(dimension).
  • MULTIPLIER DIVIDER: Handy if you want to convert Kilobytes to Megabytes or you want to give negative value. The second is handy for better visualization of send/receive. You can find an example at the packets submenu of the IPv4 Networking Section.

If you define a chart, run Netdata to visualize metrics, and then add or remove a dimension from that chart, this will result in a new chart with the same name, confusing Netdata. If you change the dimensions of the chart, make sure to also change the name of that chart, since it serves as the id of that chart in Netdata's storage. (e.g http_req --> http_req_1).

Finalize your StatsD configuration file

It's time to assemble all the pieces together and create the synthetic charts that will consist our application dashboard in Netdata. We can do it in a few simple steps:

  • Decide which metrics we want to use (we have viewed all of them as private charts). For example, we want to use k6.http_requests, k6.vus, etc.

  • Decide how we want organize them in different synthetic charts. For example, we want k6.http_requests, k6.vus on their own, but k6.http_req_blocked and k6.http_req_connecting on the same chart.

  • For each synthetic chart, we define a unique name and a human readable title.

  • We decide at which family (submenu section) we want each synthetic chart to belong to. For example, here we have defined 2 families: http requests, k6_metrics.

  • If we have multiple instances of the same metric, we can define different contexts, (Optional).

  • We define a dimension according to the syntax we highlighted above.

  • We define a type for each synthetic chart (line, area, stacked)

  • We define the units for each synthetic chart.

Following the above steps, we append to the k6.conf that we defined above, the following configuration:

name = http_req_total
title = Total HTTP Requests
family = http requests
context = k6.http_requests
dimension = k6.http_reqs http_reqs last 1 1 sum
type = line
units = requests/s

name = vus
title = Virtual Active Users
family = k6_metrics
dimension = k6.vus vus last 1 1
dimension = k6.vus_max vus_max last 1 1
type = line
unit = vus

name = iteration_duration_2
title = Iteration duration
family = k6_metrics
dimension = k6.iteration_duration iteration_duration last 1 1
dimension = k6.iteration_duration iteration_duration_max max 1 1
dimension = k6.iteration_duration iteration_duration_min min 1 1
dimension = k6.iteration_duration iteration_duration_avg avg 1 1
type = line
unit = s

name = dropped_iterations
title = Dropped Iterations
family = k6_metrics
dimension = k6.dropped_iterations dropped_iterations last 1 1
units = iterations
type = line

name = data
title = K6 Data
family = k6_metrics
dimension = k6.data_received data_received last 1 1
dimension = k6.data_sent data_sent last -1 1
units = kb/s
type = area

name = http_req_status
title = HTTP Requests Status
family = http requests
dimension = k6.http_req_blocked http_req_blocked last 1 1
dimension = k6.http_req_connecting http_req_connecting last 1 1
units = ms
type = line

name = http_req_duration
title = HTTP requests duration
family = http requests
dimension = k6.http_req_sending http_req_sending last 1 1
dimension = k6.http_req_waiting http_req_waiting last 1 1
dimension = k6.http_req_receiving http_req_receiving last 1 1
units = ms
type = stacked

Note that Netdata will report the rate for metrics and counters, even if k6 or another application sends an absolute number. For example, k6 sends absolute HTTP requests with http_reqs, but Netdata visualizes that in requests/second.

To enable this StatsD configuration, restart Netdata.

Final touches

At this point, you have used StatsD to gather metrics for k6, creating a whole new section in your Netdata dashboard in the process. Moreover, you can further customize the icon of the particular section, as well as the description for each chart.

To edit the section, please follow the Netdata documentation.

While the following configuration will be placed in a new file, as the documentation suggests, it is instructing to use dashboard_info.js as a template. Open the file and see how the rest of sections and collectors have been defined. = {
'k6': {
title: 'K6 Load Testing',
icon: '<i class="fas fa-cogs"></i>',
info: 'k6 is an open-source load testing tool and cloud service providing the best developer experience for API performance testing.'

We can then add a description for each chart. Simply find the following section in dashboard_info.js to understand how a chart definitions are used:

netdataDashboard.context = {
'system.cpu': {
info: function (os) {
void (os);
return 'Total CPU utilization (all cores). 100% here means there is no CPU idle time at all. You can get per core usage at the <a href="#menu_cpu">CPUs</a> section and per application usage at the <a href="#menu_apps">Applications Monitoring</a> section.'
+ netdataDashboard.sparkline('<br/>Keep an eye on <b>iowait</b> ', 'system.cpu', 'iowait', '%', '. If it is constantly high, your disks are a bottleneck and they slow your system down.')
+ netdataDashboard.sparkline('<br/>An important metric worth monitoring, is <b>softirq</b> ', 'system.cpu', 'softirq', '%', '. A constantly high percentage of softirq may indicate network driver issues.');
valueRange: "[0, 100]"

Afterwards, you can open your custom_dashboard_info.js, as suggested in the documentation linked above, and add something like the following example:

netdataDashboard.context = {
'k6.http_req_duration': {
info: "Total time for the request. It's equal to http_req_sending + http_req_waiting + http_req_receiving (i.e. how long did the remote server take to process the request and respond, without the initial DNS lookup/connection times)"

The chart is identified as <section_name>.<chart_name>.

These descriptions can greatly help the Netdata user who is monitoring your application in the midst of an incident.

The info field supports html, embedding useful links and instructions in the description.

Vendoring a new collector

While we learned how to visualize any data source in Netdata using the StatsD protocol, we have also created a new collector.

As long as you use the same underlying collector, every new myapp.conf file will create a new data source and dashboard section for Netdata. Netdata loads all the configuration files by default, but it will not create dashboard sections or charts, unless it starts receiving data for that particular data source. This means that we can now share our collector with the rest of the Netdata community.

  • Make sure you follow the contributing guide
  • Fork the netdata/netdata repository
  • Place the configuration file inside netdata/collectors/statsd.plugin
  • Add a reference in netdata/collectors/statsd.plugin/ For example, if we contribute the k6.conf file:
dist_statsdconfig_DATA = \
example.conf \
k6.conf \

Do you have any feedback for this page? If so, you can open a new issue on our netdata/learn repository.