Sensu Reports in your Motd with Puppet!


Sensu is a pretty cool monitoring framework. The authors designed it to be configured by a configuration management system from the beginning. Check out how easily I can make it put a report in my motd with a little bit of python and puppet.

The Report Script

Sensu’s API is super easy to work with. For this I will be using the Events endpoint. Here is a quick script to get the events for a host (gist):

#!/usr/bin/env python2
import json,sys,urllib2,socket

GREEN = '\033[92m'
RED = '\033[91m'
CLEAR = '\033[0m'

from optparse import OptionParser
parser = OptionParser()
parser.add_option("-s", "--server", dest="server",
                  help="sensu api server hostname", default='sensu')
parser.add_option("-p", "--port", dest="port",
                  help="sensu server api port", default='4567')
(options, args) = parser.parse_args()

response = urllib2.urlopen('http://' + options.server + ':' + options.port + '/events/' + socket.getfqdn())
data = json.load(response)
if len(data) > 0:
  print "Failed Sensu checks on this host:"
  for entry in data:
      sys.stdout.write("   " + RED + entry['check'] + ': ' + entry['output'] + CLEAR )
  print "All Sensu checks " + GREEN + "green " + CLEAR + "for this host."

 Puppet Glue

{% codeblock lang:ruby %} file { ‘/usr/bin/sensu_report’: mode => ‘0555’, source => ‘puppet:///files/sensu/sensu_report’, } -> cron { ‘sensu_report’: command => “/usr/bin/sensu_report -s $sensu_api_server > /etc/motd”, minute => fqdn_rand(60), } -> sensu::check { “sensu_report”: handlers => ‘default’, command => ‘/usr/lib/nagios/plugins/check_file_age -w 7200 -c 21600 -f /etc/motd’, subscribers => ‘sensu-test’ } {% endcodeblock %}

You can see that there are three things going on here (gist here):

  1. Puppet drops in the python report script file.
  2. Only if the script is in place, it will setup the cronjob to populate the motd
  3. And only if the cron job is in place, a sensu check is installed to verify that it is indeed working (test driven system administration?).



  • ¬†Puppet and Sensu make it easy to construct things like this. Wiring something like this manually with nagios would be a pain.
  • Adding failed checks right in the MTOD increases visibility for them, while decreasing the brain overload of looking a huge sensu dashboard with tons of red that a random user may not care about.
  • Putting checks in the MOTD makes it easy to disseminate information about what might be down on a host, to minimize support requests and increase transparency.