Geneos ["Geneos"]
["Geneos > Gateway"]["User Guide"]

Dynamic Entities

Overview

Dynamic Entities can be created automatically based on metric datapoints provided by a Collection Agent. This allows you to monitor applications with transient lifetimes.

This type of monitoring is especially useful in an orchestrated environment, such as Kubernetes, where applications and instances can be created and removed dynamically. A mapping template is provided for Kubernetes and OpenShift environments. See, Data collection in an orchestrated environment in Data collection in an orchestrated environment.

Differences compared to Managed Entities

Gateways organise data into entities. An entity represents an object being monitored, such as an application or a Kubernetes pod. Gateways format data into the following hierarchy:

  • Entity
  • Sampler
  • Dataview
  • Row

However, Collection Agent datapoints do not follow this hierarchy. A datapoint is composed of, and uniquely defined by, a set of dimensions and a metric name. Where a dimension is a key-value pair.

You can configure mappings to construct a Geneos hierarchy from datapoints. The resulting Dynamic Entities are then created in the Gateway. Geneos includes many built-in mappings but you can also create custom mappings to fit your data and workflow.

For each Dynamic Entity that is created, the set of all dimensions belonging to the Dynamic Entity and any attributes it has must be unique. This set of dimensions is referred to as the Dynamic Entity's identifying dimensions.

For more information on the Collection Agent, see Introduction to Collection Agent.

Create Dynamic Entities

To create new Dynamic Entities:

  1. Install and configure a Collection Agent in the environment you want to monitor. For an example of configuring Collection Agent to monitor applications running in Kubernetes, see Overview in Prerequisites.

  2. Create one or more mappings and a mapping type that uses these mappings. For more information see, Dynamic Mapping configuration and Mapping type.

  3. Install and configure a Netprobe to collect data from your Collection Agent and use the mapping type you created. For more information, see Collection Agent setup.

Custom mappings

Custom mappings allow you to create bespoke mappings to fit your data and workflow. There are two key parts to a custom mapping:

  • Filters — you can apply a filter to determine which datapoints are processed by which mapping.

  • Geneos items — when a mapping is applied, the Geneos items fields determine how the labels of each datapoint are used to create Dynamic Entities and other items in the Geneos tree structure.

For detailed configuration information, see Dynamic entities > Mapping > Options > custom.

Mapping errors

Dynamic mappings are read by the Netprobe, if a mapping is not compatible this results in an error.

Note the following:

  • The names of objects, such as entities or rows, created by a dynamic mapping are determined by the value of the options specified in the mapping. Netprobe accepts names containing any ASCII characters except for !"'()[]^{|}`/*&.

  • All cells in a dataview row must have the same dimensions. If a new datapoint is mapped to a row and it does not have the same dimensions as the other datapoints already mapped to that row, then that datapoint will be rejected by the Netprobe.

  • If a mapping would map a new datapoint to an existing Dynamic Entity, but the identifying dimensions generated by the datapoint do not match the existing Dynamic Entity, then the datapoint is discarded and an Entity Dimension clash is recorded.

For more information about how Netprobes manage incoming datapoints, see Dynamic Entities Health and Dynamic Entities commands.

Single row pivoting

Any mapping that does not map a label to a row would normally generate a dataview with only a single row, instead this data is pivoted. As a result, when you view this dataview in Active Console there are two columns, name and value, and each named datapoint is mapped to a row. If the data is forwarded to Gateway Hub or Kafka, then it is pivoted back to the original format.

Dynamic Mapping configuration

Dynamic entities > Mapping > Name

A name for the mapping. This name must be unique to avoid ambiguity when using the name in other parts of the Gateway setup. This name is case-sensitive.

Mandatory: Yes

Dynamic entities > Mapping > Options

Specify if this mapping should use a built-in mapping or a custom mapping.

Mandatory: Yes

Dynamic entities > Mapping > Options > builtIn

Select a built-in mapping from the drop down list.

Built-in mappings are included with Gateway and stored in the resources/mappings directory. We aim to provide growing list of built-in mappings for monitoring standard environments.

The following built in mappings are available:

  • Collection Agent V2 — provides standard mappings for self-monitoring data provided by the Collection Agent.

  • Azure Monitor V2 — provides mappings to display the Azure Monitor plugin metrics in Geneos. This is only available beginning Geneos 5.8.x.

  • Prometheus V2 - provides mappings to display the metrics from the Prometheus server in Geneos. This is only available beginning Geneos 5.10.0.

Dynamic entities > Mapping > Options > custom

Note: Dimensions and properties of a datapoint are both referred to as labels when creating custom mappings.

Filter

This section allows you to filter which datapoints this mapping applies to based by specifying criteria their labels must meet.

You can apply one or more filters that apply simultaneously.

Field Description
Label Specify the name of a dimension or property.
Options

You can apply the following criteria to the specified label to determine if the mapping should be applied:

  • Exists — tests if the datapoint has a label with the specified name.

  • Equals — tests if the value of the named label is equal to a specified value.

  • Match — tests if the value of the named label matches a specified regex pattern.

Geneos items

This section allows you to define how items in the Geneos tree structure are generated from the labels of a datapoint.

When mapping Geneos items, note the following:

  • Mapping items, excluding attributes, stack so that each label is appended to the item name in the order listed here. If a mapping exists but the label is missing or empty then it will not be added to the item name. For example, if both Kubernetes namespace and Kubernetes pod name are mapped to Managed Entity and the namespace label is listed first then the Managed Entity name will be <namespace>-<pod_name>. If the Kubernetes namespace label does not exist, the Managed Entity name will be <pod_name>.

  • The dataview name is divided into two parts. The first part is defined by the mappings you provide and the second part is generated from the dimensions of the datapoint. This ensures that each dataview row has a unique set of dimensions.

Field Description
Label Specify the name of a dimension or property.
Options

You can map datapoint labels to the following Geneos items:

  • Attribute — mapping a label to an attribute adds a Managed Entity attribute with the label name to the Dynamic Entity created from the datapoint. The value of the Managed Entity attribute will be the value of the label. Multiple labels can be mapped to attributes. Each one will create a new Managed Entity attribute.

  • Dataview — mapping a label to a dataview results in using the value of the label for the dataview name. Multiple labels can be mapped to dataviews, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name.

  • Entity — mapping a label to an entity results in using the value of the label for the Dynamic Entity name. Multiple labels can be mapped to an entity, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name. Additionally, there are two flags that can be set on each entity mapping. The Required option instructs the Netprobe to add an existance filter for the label. The Use in display name option can be disabled to hide this label in the display name used by the Active Console.

  • Ignore — mapping a label to ignore results in this label being igored when creating Geneos items.

  • Row — mapping a label to a row results in using the value of the label as the beginning of the row name. Multiple labels can be mapped to a row, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name in the order listed here. Each unmapped label is also appended to the row name in alphabetical order after any explicitly mapped labels. If no labels are mapped to the row, only a single row is generated which is pivoted when viewed in Active Console. For more information, see Single row pivoting in Dynamic Entities.

  • Sampler — mapping a label to a sampler results in using the value of the label for the sampler name. Multiple labels can be mapped to a sampler, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name.

Dynamic entities > Mapping > Local attributes

Define zero or more attributes that are applied to every Dynamic Entity created by the mapping.

Available for both Built In and Custom mappings. The attribute values are strings that can include embedded variables. The variables are fetched from the environment specified in the dynamic mapping type.

Mandatory: No

Dynamic mapping group configuration

Dynamic mapping groups allow a set of mappings to be grouped in a Gateway setup.

These groups can be used to provide a more structured view in the Gateway Setup Editor, but they can also be used to simplify the configuration of Dynamic Entities.

A mapping group allows you to set Filters, Geneos items and Local Attributes that are inherited by child mappings. However, children that use built-in mappings only inherit Local Attributes.

To create a new dynamic mapping group:

  1. Right-click on the Dynamic Entities > Mapping section in the Navigation tree and select the New Mapping group option. This creates a new mapping group section.

  2. Name the mapping group.

  3. New mappings can be created in the group using the New Mapping button.

    • Existing mappings can also be added or removed from the group using drag-and-drop in the Navigation tree.

  4. (Optional) Add child mapping groups.

    • Child groups can be added by right-clicking on a mapping group in the Navigation tree and selecting the New Mapping group option.

    • Mapping groups can also be added and removed using drag-and drop in the Navigation tree.

  5. Configure the Filters, Geneos items and Local Attributes of the mapping groups you have created.

mappingGroup > filters

This section allows you to filter which datapoints this mapping applies to based by specifying criteria their labels must meet.

You can apply one or more filters that apply simultaneously.

Field Description
Label Specify the name of a dimension or property.
Options

You can apply the following criteria to the specified label to determine if the mapping should be applied:

  • Exists — tests if the datapoint has a label with the specified name.

  • Equals — tests if the value of the named label is equal to a specified value.

  • Match — tests if the value of the named label matches a specified regex pattern.

Note: If a mapping group and a mapping or a nested mapping group contain a filter for the same label, both will be applied.

mappingGroup > geneosItems

This section allows you to define how items in the Geneos tree structure are generated from the labels of a datapoint.

When mapping Geneos items, note the following:

  • Mapping items, excluding attributes, stack so that each label is appended to the item name in the order listed here. If a mapping exists but the label is missing or empty then it will not be added to the item name. For example, if both Kubernetes namespace and Kubernetes pod name are mapped to Managed Entity and the namespace label is listed first then the Managed Entity name will be <namespace>-<pod_name>. If the Kubernetes namespace label does not exist, the Managed Entity name will be <pod_name>.

  • The dataview name is divided into two parts. The first part is defined by the mappings you provide and the second part is generated from the dimensions of the datapoint. This ensures that each dataview row has a unique set of dimensions.

Field Description
Label Specify the name of a dimension or property.
Options

You can map datapoint labels to the following Geneos items:

  • Attribute — mapping a label to an attribute adds a Managed Entity attribute with the label name to the Dynamic Entity created from the datapoint. The value of the Managed Entity attribute will be the value of the label. Multiple labels can be mapped to attributes. Each one will create a new Managed Entity attribute.

  • Dataview — mapping a label to a dataview results in using the value of the label for the dataview name. Multiple labels can be mapped to dataviews, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name.

  • Entity — mapping a label to an entity results in using the value of the label for the Dynamic Entity name. Multiple labels can be mapped to an entity, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name. Additionally, there are two flags that can be set on each entity mapping. The Required option instructs the Netprobe to add an existance filter for the label. The Use in display name option can be disabled to hide this label in the display name used by the Active Console.

  • Ignore — mapping a label to ignore results in this label being igored when creating Geneos items.

  • Row — mapping a label to a row results in using the value of the label as the beginning of the row name. Multiple labels can be mapped to a row, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name in the order listed here. Each unmapped label is also appended to the row name in alphabetical order after any explicitly mapped labels. If no labels are mapped to the row, only a single row is generated which is pivoted when viewed in Active Console. For more information, see Single row pivoting in Dynamic Entities.

  • Sampler — mapping a label to a sampler results in using the value of the label for the sampler name. Multiple labels can be mapped to a sampler, in this case the value of each additional label is appended to the name.

Note: Mapping items defined at the mapping group level will stack before items defined in nested mapping groups or in mappings and any duplicate items are not removed.

mappingGroup > Local attributes

Define zero or more attributes that are applied to every Dynamic Entity created by the mapping.

Available for both Built In and Custom mappings. The attribute values are strings that can include embedded variables. The variables are fetched from the environment specified in the dynamic mapping type.

Mandatory: No

Note: Local attributes defined in nested groups or in mappings will override local attributes defined in their parent mapping groups.

Mapping type

Netprobes process Collection Agent data using a specified Mapping type and create or remove Dynamic Entities accordingly. Mapping types allow you to easily deploy the same configuration on multiple probes. This is useful when managing large estates.

A Mapping type provides an ordered list of mappings, and every datapoint received is checked against each mapping in the order. Data is then mapped according to the first match made.

Add a Mapping type to a Netprobe

To add a Mapping type:

  1. Expand the Probes top-level section and select a probe.
  2. Open the Dynamic Entities tab.
  3. In the Dynamic entities section, select a Mapping type from the drop-down list.
  4. Click Validate.
  5. Click Save.

Note: You can also apply Mapping types to probe groups. Probes will inherit the Mapping types specified in their parent group, unless one is specified explicitly on an individual probe. A Mapping type specified on a probe overrides a Mapping type specified on a probe group. For more information, see probes > probeGroup in Probes.

Mapping type configuration

Dynamic entities > Mapping type > Name

A name for the Mapping type. This name must be unique to avoid ambiguity when using the name in other parts of the Gateway setup. This name is case-sensitive.

Mandatory: Yes

Dynamic entities > Mapping type > Mappings

Specifies the mappings used to create dynamic entities. The Gateway will attempt to find matches using each mapping sequentially in the specified order.

Mandatory: No

Dynamic entities > Mapping type > Samplers

Specifies if any samplers should be created for Dynamic Entities that are created by this Mapping type. A sampler is only created when log data, that the sampler is configured to monitor, is being received.

Caution: You can use only the FKM and State Tracker plugins with Dynamic Entities. Attempting to specify a sampler using a different plugin will result in an error.

Mandatory: No

Dynamic entities > Mapping type > Environment

Specifies the environment used by Dynamic Entities created by using this type.

For more information, see User Variables and Environments.

Mandatory: No

Dynamic entities > Mapping type > Entity timeout

Specifies the duration for which no metric or log data, that contributes to a given Dynamic Entity, must be seen before that entity is considered stale and no longer monitored.

If an entity is not monitored, it does not appear in the Active Console and does not affect rules.

If this option is set too low and no data is arriving that contributes to a Dynamic Entity, then FKM information may disappear before any issues are resolved.

Mandatory: No

Unit: seconds

Dynamic entities > Mapping type > Stale data timeout

Specifies the duration for which no data must be seen before a dataview is marked as stale.

This setting applies only to dynamic dataviews that are created by dynamic Managed Entities and populated with data from a Collection Agent. Dataviews populated by other mechanisms, for example the FKM plugin, are unaffected.

Mandatory: No

Unit: seconds

Dynamic Entities commands

Command targets

The possible targets of Dynamic Entities commands are:

  • Dynamic Entities in the State Tree.
  • Cells in the Entities dataview created by the Dynamic Entities Health plugin.
  • Cells in the InvalidStreams dataview created by the Dynamic Entities Health plugin.

Show Dynamic Mappings

You can run this command in the Active Console to display the Dynamic Mapping that produced a target Cell.

The value of a Dynamic Entity dataview cell is determined by the value of a datapoint. The command shows each datapoint label and the mapping used to generate the target cell.

Datapoint information
Column Description
Label Name of the datapoint label.
Value

Value of the datapoint label.

This column will also show a Clash warning if a dimension or attribute clash occurs.

Expected

Expected value of the datapoint label, based on the existing dimensions or attributes of an entity or the existing dimensions of a dataview row.

This column is only shown when a Row Dimension clash, Entity Dimension clash, or Attribute Clash has occurred.

Type

Type of the label.

The options are:

  • Dimension
  • Dimension (Built)
  • Property
  • Property (Built)

Labels created using the label builder are indicated with a (Built) tag.

The mapping matched to the datapoint and applied is indicated.

Column Description
Mapping Name Name of the Dynamic Mapping.
Match Result Match status. A matched mapping is applied to the incoming datapoint.
Geneos Structure
Column Description
Geneos structure Object in the Geneos hierarchy.
Value

Shows the full string of the object name and the mapping that produced each element of the name.

Forget Dynamic Entity

You can run this command to remove a Dynamic Entity from Geneos and all associated dataviews from the Active Console.

Dynamic Entities are automatically removed after a timeout period if no new data has been received. This timeout period is determined by the earliest of the Entity timeout and the stale-metrics-threshold in the Collection Agent StatsD plugin configuration file.

This command allows you to remove an entity you have stopped monitoring but still appears in the Active Console since the timeout has not expired. This is common during testing or when reconfiguring production environments.

Note: If you run this command on an entity that is still being monitored, Geneos will recreate the dynamic entity when the next datapoint is received. As a result the command may appear to have no effect.

Appendix: Using regex

Mapping filters can be created using regular expression (regex) patterns. The following are common patterns that may be useful when creating mappings:

Pattern Description
^$ No matches.
.+ Matches any value. Requires that a value is present.
^A1$ Matches only A1 exactly.
A1 Matches any value that contains A1.