Troubleshooting Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM) Metrics

In this blog post, I’ll look at some helpful tips on troubleshooting Percona Monitoring and Management metrics.

With any luck, Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM) works for you out of the box. Sometimes, however, things go awry and you see empty or broken graphs instead of dashboards full of insights.

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Before we go through troubleshooting steps, let’s talk about how data makes it to the Grafana dashboards in the first place. The PMM Architecture documentation page helps explain it:

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If we focus just on the “Metrics” path, we see the following requirements:

  • The appropriate “exporters” (Part of PMM Client) are running on the hosts you’re monitoring
  • The database is configured to expose all the metrics you’re looking for
  • The hosts are correctly configured in the repository on PMM Server side (stored in Consul)
  • Prometheus on the PMM Server side can scrape them successfully – meaning it can reach them successfully, does not encounter any timeouts and has enough resources to ingest all the provided data
  • The exporters can retrieve metrics that they requested (i.e., there are no permissions problems)
  • Grafana can retrieve the metrics stored in Prometheus Server and display them

Now that we understand the basic requirements let’s look at troubleshooting the tool.

PMM Client

First, you need to check if the services are actually configured properly and running:

Second, you can also instruct the PMM client to perform basic network checks. These can spot connectivity problems, time drift and other issues:

If everything is working, next we can check if exporters are providing the expected data directly.

Checking Prometheus Exporters

Looking at the output from pmm-admin check-network, we can see the “REMOTE ENDPOINT”. This shows the exporter address, which you can use to access it directly in your browser:

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You can see MySQL Exporter has different sets of metrics for high, medium and low resolution, and you can click on them to see the provided metrics:

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There are few possible problems you may encounter at this stage

  • You do not see the metrics you expect to seeThis could be a configuration issue on the database side (docs for MySQL and MongoDB), permissions errors or exporter not being correctly configured to expose the needed metrics.
  • Page takes too long to load. This could mean the data capture is too expensive for your configuration. For example, if you have a million tables, you probably can’t afford to capture per-table data.

mysql_exporter_collector_duration_seconds is a great metric that allows you to see which collectors are enabled for different resolutions, and how much time it takes for a given collector to execute. This way you can find and potentially disable collectors that are too expensive for your environment.

Let’s look at some more advanced ways to troubleshoot exporters.  

Looking at ProcessList

This shows us that the exporter is running, as well as specific command line options that were used to start it (which collectors were enabled, for example).

Checking out Log File

If you have problems such as authentication or permission errors, you will see them in the log file. In the example above, we can see the exporter reporting many connection errors (the MySQL Server was down).

Prometheus Server

Next, we can take a look at the Prometheus Server. It is exposed in PMM Server at /prometheus path. We can go to Status->Targets to see which Targets are configured and if they are working: correctly

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In this example, some hosts are scraped successfully while others are not. As you can see I have some hosts that are down, so scraping fails with “no route to host”. You might also see problems caused by firewall configurations and other reasons.

The next area to check, especially if you have gaps in your graph, is if your Prometheus server has enough resources to ingest all the data reported in your environment. Percona Monitoring and  Management ships with the Prometheus dashboard to help to answer this question (see demo).

There is a lot of information in this dashboard, but one of the most important areas you should check is if there is enough CPU available for Prometheus:

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The most typical problem to have with Prometheus is getting into “Rushed Mode” and dropping some of the metrics data:

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Not using enough memory to buffer metrics is another issue, which is shown as “Configured Target Storage Heap Size” on the graph:

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Values of around 40% of total memory size often make sense. The PMM FAQ details how to tune this setting.

If the amount of memory is already configured correctly, you can explore upgrading to a more powerful instance size or reducing the number of metrics Prometheus ingests. This can be done either by adjusting Metrics Resolution (as explained in FAQ) or disabling some of the collectors (Manual). 

You might wonder which collectors generate the most data? This information is available on the same Prometheus Dashboard:

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While these aren’t not exact values, they correlate very well with what the load collectors generate. In this case, for example, we can see that the Performance Schema is responsible for a large amount of time series data. As such, disabling its collectors can reduce the Prometheus load substantially.

Hopefully, these troubleshooting steps were helpful to you in diagnosing PMM’s metrics capture. In a later blog post, I will write about how to diagnose problems with Query Analytics (Demo).

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