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DogStatsD over Unix Domain Socket

Starting with version 6.0, the Datadog Agent is able to ingest metrics via a Unix Domain Socket (UDS), as an alternative to UDP, when running on Linux systems.

While UDP works great on localhost, it can be a challenge to setup in containerized environments. Unix Domain Sockets allow you to easily establish the connection via a socket file, regardless of the IP of the Datadog Agent container. It also enables the following benefits:

  • Bypassing the networking stack brings a significant performance improvement for high traffic
  • While UDP has no error handling, UDS allows the Agent to detect dropped packets and connection errors, while still allowing a non-blocking use
  • DogStatsD is able to detect the container from which metrics originated, and tag those metrics accordingly

How it works

Instead of using an IP:port pair to establish connections, Unix Domain Sockets use a placeholder socket file. Once the connection is open, data is transmitted in the same datagram format as UDP.

When the Agent restarts, the existing socket is deleted and replaced by a new one. Client libraries detect this change and connect seamlessly to the new socket.

Note: By design, UDS traffic is local to the host, which means the Datadog Agent must run on every host you send metrics from.



Edit your datadog.yaml file to set the dogstatsd_socket option to the path where DogStatsD should create its listening socket:

dogstatsd_socket: /var/run/datadog/dsd.socket

Then restart your Agent. You can also set the socket path via the DD_DOGSTATSD_SOCKET environment variable.


Native support in client libraries

The following DogStatsD client libraries natively support UDS traffic:


Refer to the library’s documentation on how to enable UDS traffic.

Note: As with UDP, enabling client-side buffering is highly recommended to improve performance on heavy traffic. Refer to your client library’s documentation for instructions.

Using netcat

To send metrics from shell scripts, or to test that DogStatsD is listening on the socket, you can use netcat. Most implementations of netcat (ex. netcat-openbsd on Debian or nmap-ncat on RHEL) support Unix Socket traffic via the -U flag:

echo -n "|c" | nc -U -u -w1 /var/run/datadog/dsd.socket

Using socat as a proxy

If an application or a client library you use does not support UDS traffic, you can run socat to listen on UDP port 8125 and proxy the requests to the socket:

socat -s -u UDP-RECV:8125 UNIX-SENDTO:/var/run/datadog/dsd.socket

Accessing the socket across containers

When running in a containerized environment, the socket file needs to be accessible to the client containers. To achieve this, Datadog recommends mounting a host directory on both sides (read-only in your client containers, read-write in the Agent container).

Mounting the parent folder instead of the individual socket enables socket communication to persist across DogStatsD restarts.

Docker: bind mount

  • Start the Agent container with -v /var/run/datadog:/var/run/datadog
  • Start your containers with -v /var/run/datadog:/var/run/datadog:ro

Kubernetes: hostPath volume

Mount the folder in your datadog-agent container:

  - name: dsdsocket
    mountPath: /var/run/datadog
- hostPath:
    path: /var/run/datadog/
  name: dsdsocket

Expose the same folder in your client containers:

  - name: dsdsocket
    mountPath: /var/run/datadog
    readOnly: true                  # see note below
- hostPath:
    path: /var/run/datadog/
  name: dsdsocket

Note: Remove readOnly: true if your client containers need write access to the socket.

Using origin detection for container tagging

Origin detection allows DogStatsD to detect where the container metrics come from, and tag metrics automatically. When this mode is enabled, all metrics received via UDS is tagged by the same container tags as Autodiscovery metrics. Note: container_id, container_name and pod_name tags are not added to avoid creating too many custom metric contexts.

To use origin detection, enable the dogstatsd_origin_detection option in your datadog.yaml, or set the environment variable DD_DOGSTATSD_ORIGIN_DETECTION=true, and restart your Agent.

When running inside a container, DogStatsd needs to run in the host’s PID namespace for origin detection to work reliably. You can enable this via the Docker --pid=host flag. Note: This is supported by ECS with the parameter "pidMode": "host" in the task definition of the container. This option is not supported in Fargate. For more information, see the AWS documentation.

Client library implementation guidelines

Adding UDS support to existing libraries can be easily achieved as the protocol is very close to UDP. Implementation guidelines and a testing checklist are available in the datadog-agent wiki.

Further reading