Friday, January 1, 2016

Hawkular WildFly Agent API For Your Own Inventory and Metrics

The Hawkular WildFly Agent is well into development and is coming along nicely. It provides a way to monitor one or more WildFly or EAP application servers (including the one it is deployed into). It communicates with a Hawkular Server where the agent stores its inventory and metric data via the Hawkular Inventory and Hawkular Metrics components. You can use the Hawkular GUI to interact with your managed application servers: view historical graphs of metric data, deploy and undeploy applications, etc.

But the Hawkular WildFly Agent provides a hidden gem that might be useful to those developers that want to store metrics in a metric storage facility for later reporting and graphing but don't want to take the time to implement that storage facility. This hidden gem also provides a way for developers to store their own managed resource definitions in an inventory storage facility but, again, don't want to implement all of the backend required for such a thing.

The Hawkular WildFly Agent already integrates with Hawkular Inventory and Hawkular Metrics - this is to enable the agent to be able to store its own inventory and metrics. It makes sense to open that up for applications to use so they, too, can store inventory and metrics. To allow for this, Hawkular WildFly Agent stores a helpful object in JNDI called HawkularWildFlyAgentContext under the name "java:global/hawkular/agent/api" (side note: the agent can be told to bind this object to a different JNDI name if you want; it can also be told to not bind this hidden gem in JNDI at all if you do not wish to expose this feature).

The API this exposes is very simple - you can store or remove resources from inventory, and you can store metric data and availability data (availability data is just a "special" kind of metric that allows you to store "UP", "DOWN" or "UNKNOWN" availability states).

Any application that is deployed in the same WildFly or EAP application server as the agent can use this API by obtaining the agent context object via JNDI. A simple example of how you can obtain this agent context object from JNDI can be seen in a test war that is used in the agent integration tests - its a singleton EJB that gets this context object injected via @Resource. See the HawkularWildFlyAgentProvider class.

Once that HawkularWildFlyAgentContext object is obtained, your application can use it to store inventory, metric, and availability data. Note that you do not have to use all of these. For example, if you just want to store metrics in a historical time-based data store, just use the Metric Storage API that you get from the agent context object. This will send your data for storage to Hawkular Metrics. You could then do whatever you want with your data later - Hawkular Metrics provides a REST interface and some clients that you can use to query and report on your metric data.

The example test war can show you how the API is used to do these things - see the test This is just for integration testing, so it doesn't do anything earth-shattering, but it does show you how the API is used to create and remove managed resources from inventory, store metric data, and store availability data.

This feature of the Hawkular WildFly Agent is a relatively minor feature considering all the other main requirements that the agent must fulfill, but since it is rather hidden I decided to talk about it here.

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