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pmdaprometheus - Prometheus PMDA


$PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus/pmdaprometheus [ -D ] [ -n ] [ -c config ] [ -t timeout ] [ -u user ]


pmdaprometheus is a Performance Metrics Domain Agent (PMDA) which creates PCP metrics from Prometheus endpoints, which provide HTTP based access to application metrics. The default config directory is $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus/config.d/ , see ``CONFIGURATION SOURCES'' below. The default URL fetch timeout is 2 seconds. The default user , if not specified with the -u option, is the current user. If the -n option is given, the list of configuration files will not be sorted prior to processing. This list is sorted by default but that can be expensive if there are a large number of configuration files (URLs and/or scripts).

If the -D option is given, additional diagnostic messages will be written to the PMDA log file, which is $PCP_LOG_DIR/pmcd/prometheus.log by default.

Further details on the Prometheus exposition format can be found at


As it runs, pmdaprometheus periodically recursively scans the $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus/config.d directory (or the directory specified with the -c option), looking for source URL files ( *.url ) and executable scripts or binaries. Any files that do not have the .url suffix or are not executable, are ignored - this allows documentation files such as "README" and non-executable "common" script function definitions to be present without being considered as config files.

A remote server does not have to be up or stay running - the PMDA tolerates remote URLs that may come and go over time. The PMDA will relay data and metadata when/if they are available, and will return errors when/if they are down. PCP metric IDs, internal and external instance domain identifiers are persisted and will be restored when individual metric sources become available and/or when the PMDA is restarted. In addition, the PMDA checks directory modification times and will rescan for new or changed configuration files dynamically. It is not necessary to restart the PMDA when adding, removing or changing configuration files.


Each file with the .url suffix found in the config directory or sub-directory contains one complete HTTP or HTTPS URL at which pmdaprometheus can reach a Prometheus endpoint. Local file access is also supported with a conventional file://somepath/somefile URL, in which case somepath/somefile should contain prometheus formatted metric data.

The first line of a .url config file should be the URL, as described above. Subsequent lines, if any, are prefixed with a keyword that can be used to alter the http GET request. A keyword must end with ':' (colon) and the text extends to the end of the line. Comment lines that start with # and blank lines are ignored. The only currently supported keyword is HEADER: .

HEADER: headername : value ... to end of line
Adds headername and its value to the headers passed in the http GET request for the configured URL. An example configuration file that provides 3 commonly used headers and an authentication token might be :

# this is a comment
HEADER: Accept: text/html
HEADER: Keep-Alive: 300
HEADER: Connection: keep-alive
HEADER: Authorization: token ABCDEF1234567890

As mentioned above, header values extend to the end of the line. They may contain any valid characters, including colons. Multiple spaces will be collapsed to a single space, and leading and trailing spaces are trimmed. A common use for headers is to configure a proxy agent and the assorted parameters it may require. Additional keywords may be added in future versions of pmdaprometheus e.g. to allow returned result filtering, label manipulation and so forth. Unrecognized keywords are reported in the PMDA log file but otherwise ignored.


Executable scripts present in the $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus/config.d directory or sub-directories will be executed and the stdout stream containing prometheus formatted metric data will be parsed as though it had come from a URL or file. The stderr stream from a script will be sent to the PMDA log file, which by default can be found in $(PCP_LOG_DIR)/pmcd/prometheus.log .

A simple example of a scripted config entry follows:

#! /bin/sh
awk '{
    print("# HELP loadavg local load average")
    print("# Type loadavg gauge")
    printf("loadavg {interval=\"1-minute\"} %.2f\n", $1)
    printf("loadavg {interval=\"5-minute\"} %.2f\n", $2)
    printf("loadavg {interval=\"15-minute\"} %.2f\n", $3)
}' /proc/loadavg

This script produces the following Prometheus-formatted metric data when run:

# HELP loadavg local load average
# Type loadavg gauge
loadavg {interval="1-minute"} 0.12
loadavg {interval="5-minute"} 0.27
loadavg {interval="15-minute"} 0.54

If the above script was saved and made executable in a file named $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus/config.d/local/ then this would result in a new PCP metric named prometheus.local.system.loadavg which would have three instances for the current load average values: 1-minute , 5-minute and 15-minute .

Scripted config entries may produce more than one PCP leaf metric name. For example, the above "" script could also export other metrics such as CPU statistics, by reading /proc/stat on the local system. Such additional metrics would appear as peer metrics in the same PCP metric subtree. In the case of CPU counters, the metric type definition should be counter , not gauge . For full details of the prometheus exposition formats, see .


All metrics from a file named JOB .* will be exported as PCP metrics with the prometheus.JOB metric name prefix. Therefore, the JOB name must be a valid non-leaf name for PCP PMNS metric names. If the JOB name has multiple dot-separated components, the resulting PMNS names will include those components and care is needed to ensure there are no overlapping definitions, e.g. metrics returned by JOB.response may overlap or conflict with metrics returned by JOB.response.time .

Config file entries (URLs or scripts) found in subdirectories of the config directory will also result in hierarchical metric names. For example, a config file named $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus/config.d/mysource/latency/get.url will result in metrics being created (by fetching that source URL) below prometheus.mysource.latency.get in the PCP namespace. Scripts found in subdirectories of the config directory similarly result in hierarchical PCP metric names.


As described above, changes and new additions can be made to files in the configuration directory without having to restart the PMDA. These changes are detected automatically and the PCP metric names below prometheus in the PMNS will be updated accordingly, i.e. new metrics will be dynamically added and/or existing metrics removed. In addition, pmdaprometheus honors the PMCD_NAMES_CHANGE pmFetch (3) protocol that was introduced in PCP version 4.0. In particular, if prometheus metrics are being logged by a PCP version 4.0 or later pmlogger (1), new metrics that appear as a result of changes in the PMDA configuration directory will automatically start to be logged, provided the root of the prometheus PMDA namespace is configured for logging in the pmlogger configuration file. See pmlogger (1) for details. An example of such a pmlogger configuration file is :

log mandatory on 2 second {
        # log all metrics below the root of the prometheus namespace


The PMDA maintains three special control metrics, as described below. Each of these metrics is a counter and has one instance for each configured metric source. The instance domain is adjusted dynamically as new sources are discovered. If there are no sources configured, the metric names are still defined but the instance domain will be empty and a fetch will return no values.
total number of times each configured metric source has been fetched (if it's a URL) or executed (if it's a script), since the PMDA started.
Total time in milliseconds that each configured metric source has taken to return a document, excluding the time to parse the document.
Total time in milliseconds that each configured metric source has taken to parse each document, excluding the time to fetch the document.

When converted to a rate, the calls metric represents the average fetch rate of each source over the sampling interval (time delta between samples). The fetch_time and parse_time counters, when converted to a rate, represent the average fetch and parsing latency (respectfully), during the sampling interval.


pmdaprometheus and libpcp internals impose some numerical constraints about the number of sources (4095), metrics (1024) within each source, and instances for each metric (4194304).


Install the Prometheus PMDA by using the Install script as root:

# cd $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus

# ./Install

To uninstall, do the following as root:

# cd $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/prometheus

# ./Remove

pmdaprometheus is launched by pmcd (1) and should never be executed directly. The Install and Remove scripts notify pmcd when the agent is installed or removed.

When scripts and .url files are added, removed or changed in the configuration directory, it is usually not necessary to restart the PMDA - the changes will be detected and managed on subsequent requests to the PMDA.


installation script for the pmdaprometheus agent
undo installation script for the pmdaprometheus agent
contains URLs and scripts used by the pmdaprometheus agent as sources of prometheus metric data.
default log file for error messages from pmdaprometheus
files containing internal tables for metric and instance ID number persistence (domain 144).


Environment variables with the prefix PCP_ are used to parameterize the file and directory names used by PCP . On each installation, the file /etc/pcp.conf contains the local values for these variables. The $PCP_CONF variable may be used to specify an alternative configuration file, as described in pcp.conf (5).


pmcd (1), pminfo (1), pmlogger (1), PMWEBAPI (3), pmFetch (3) and .