Learn how to get data into Wavefront.

How you get your data into Wavefront depends on your use case, but you have many options. Wavefront supports many integrations, or you can instrument your application and send data directly to Wavefront.

Watch this video to listen to Wavefront co-founder Clement Pang talk about getting data into Wavefront:

getting data into wavefront

The Big Picture

You can use Wavefront for:

The data flow is like this:

  1. The metrics originate with your infrastructure or application. They could come from Telegraf, or a cloud service, or you might collect metrics with a custom metrics pipeline.
  2. You send the metrics to Wavefront:
    • For cloud services, you use one of the Cloud integrations – you don’t have to install or set up a Wavefront proxy.
    • To monitor hosts, infrastructure, or applications, set up an integration. The integration Setup tab has instructions for getting the data flowing. For many integrations, you set up Telegraf to collect the metrics and create a Wavefront proxy (or select an existing proxy). The proxy forwards metrics from many sources to the Wavefront service.
    • If no built-in integration for your data source exists, you can set up one of the collector integrations (such as a Telegraf integration) or you can stream your data to the Wavefront proxy. The proxy accepts metrics in OpenTSB, Grafana, and Wavefront data format.
    • Another option is direct ingestion. In that case, you send data directly to the Wavefront service. Most customers and the DevOps team at Wavefront prefer using a proxy – there are many benefits.

data into wavefront

Step 1: Understand Your Use Case

Wavefront can help you get insight into the telemetry at all levels of your application stack. Here are the levels, and the associated use cases – for details on each use case see Step 2.

  • Infrastructure metrics (1) enable you to find bottlenecks, explore trends, and troubleshoot your environment. You may be interested in:
    • Metrics such as CPU loads, memory usage, and so on, from host operating systems.
    • Application-driven infrastructure data from NGINX, MySQL, and similar sources.
  • Application metrics (2) include data you want to collect from custom code in your proprietary applications, for example, to monitor business activity or to collect customer data such as website interactions.
  • Cloud metrics (3) are generated by cloud computing services such as AWS, Azure, or GCP. Wavefront lets you combine and correlate these metrics for unified visualizing, alerting, and troubleshooting..
  • Special cases don't readily fit into one of the use cases above. For example, you might already have a metrics pipeline in place, or you might want to pull metrics from log files to present them from analysis.
Different use cases: Custom code, NGINX, MySQL

We can help you retrieve, visualize, and alert on this information both for a more traditional environment and for Kubernetes environments.

Step 2: Get the Data In

The simplest path for any use case is to use a pre-built integration. If no integration exists, you can use one of the APIs.

Get Metrics from a Cloud Provider

Cloud integrations use a different setup process than other integrations. You log in to the cloud service, and give Wavefront read access to the metrics that you’re interested in. There’s no need to install or set up a Wavefront proxy.

Wavefront supports integrations for the most popular cloud services. This doc set has customization information for example, for AWS Metrics Integration, AWS ECS Integration, AWS Lambda Functions, and Pivotal Container Service.

Set up an Infrastructure Integration

For use cases that center around infrastructure data like CPU, memory, or database metrics, you can get your data into Wavefront by following these steps:

  1. Find the integration for your use case. See the complete list of integrations.

  2. Use the Setup steps in the integration to get data flowing from your application to Wavefront. As part of the setup, the integration lets you install a Wavefront proxy–or choose a Wavefront proxy if you already have one.

  3. If no built-in integration exists, set up a collector agent such as Telegraf or collectd to collect your metrics. Wavefront includes integrations for many custom collector agents. The collector agent can send your data to the Wavefront proxy.

    Some collector agents, such as Telegraf, include an output plug-in for Wavefront. You add a configuration file to Telegraf that specifies which data you want to get from which host, and select the proxy to send the data to.

    data flow

    Many of the built-in integrations use Telegraf. Wavefront supports different ways of using Telegraf, but also supports other agents. You can mix and match.

    • The Active Directory integration is an example for a Windows Telegraf input plugin.
    • The Mesos integration is an example for an environment where both primary and secondary server have to have Telegraf input plugins.
    • The JBoss AS integration is an example for a Linux Telegraf plugin that uses Jolokia.

Instrument your Code

For use cases that involve metrics from proprietary applications, you can instrument your code. Wavefront supports instrumentation libraries for popular programming languages. For example, you can create a Java Wavefront reporter object to use DropWizard metrics.

  1. Click Integrations and search for Application Integration to display the available application instrumentation integrations.
  2. Choose the integration that best suits your use case.
  3. Follow the Setup steps to register metrics and configure metric reporters. As part of the setup, the integration lets you install a Wavefront proxy or pick one if you have proxies in your environment.

Special Use Cases

If your company already has a custom metrics pipeline, follow these steps:

  1. Convert your data into one of the supported data formats. Wavefront accepts data in Wavefront data format, Graphite data format, and OpenTSDB data format.
  2. Set up a Wavefront proxy. If you have a proxy installed in your environment, consider using that - or you can install a new proxy. See Installing and Managing Proxies
  3. Send the metrics you’re interested in to the Wavefront proxy at port 2878. In production environments, customers use 2 proxies behind a load balancer. Otherwise, 1 proxy is usually enough.

If you have metrics recorded in log files, follow these steps:

  1. Use the Filebeat Log Data built-in integration.
  2. Customize the process as discussed in Log Data Metrics Integration

Step 3: Examine and Alert


Once data is flowing, you can use Wavefront for visualization and alerting. Wavefront dashboards allow you organize and customize the information about your environment. For example:
  • Most integrations include dashboards that collect commonly used metrics.
  • You can clone and customize existing dashboards or create charts from scratch and add them to your own dashboard.
The real power of Wavefront comes from alerts and special features such as anomaly detection, histograms, and distributed tracing. For example, you can add alerts to your charts and send them to alert targets such as PagerDuty or a custom Webhook target.
dashboard example

Learn More!


Our Customer Success team has put together a set of KBs that help you troubleshoot data ingestion issues. Here are some links: