Custom Agent Check
This page looks at a simple custom Agent check and the
min_collection_interval. Same as regular Agent based integrations, custom checks are scheduled to run at a fixed interval, which defaults to every 15 seconds.
Should you write an Agent check or an Integration?
Custom checks are well suited to collect metrics from custom applications or unique systems. However, if you are trying to collect metrics from a generally available application, public service, or open source project, it is recommended that you create a full fledged Agent Integration.
Datadog Agent v6.4+ allows integrations to be released and updated independently from Datadog Agent updates. It also provides an easier way for you to share integrations—and makes it easier for the wider Datadog community to use your integrations.
For more information about how to write an integration, see Creating New Integrations. See the integrations-extras GitHub repository to see other contributed integrations.
First, ensure the Agent is properly installed. If you run into any issues during the setup, contact Datadog support.
Note: If you are running Agent v7+ your custom Agent check should be Python 3 compatible. Otherwise, it should be Python 2.7+ compatible.
Custom Agent check
The names of the configuration and check files must match. If your check is called
mycheck.py, your configuration file must be named
In this example, the custom check sends a value of
1 for the metric
hello.world. The configuration file includes no real information but it is necessary to include a sequence called
instances containing at least one mapping, that can be empty. This goes in
The check itself inherits from
AgentCheck and sends a gauge of
hello.world on each call. This goes in
# the following try/except block will make the custom check compatible with any Agent version
# first, try to import the base class from new versions of the Agent...
from datadog_checks.base import AgentCheck
# ...if the above failed, the check is running in Agent version < 6.6.0
from checks import AgentCheck
# content of the special variable __version__ will be shown in the Agent status page
__version__ = "1.0.0"
def check(self, instance):
self.gauge('hello.world', 1, tags=['TAG_KEY:TAG_VALUE'] + self.instance.get('tags', ))
See datadog_checks.base.checks.base.AgentCheck for more details about the base class.
Note: When choosing a name for your custom check, you should prefix it with
custom_ in order to avoid conflict with the name of a preexisting Datadog Agent integrations. For instance, if you have a custom Postfix check, name your check files
custom_postfix.yaml instead of
To change the collection interval of your check, use
min_collection_interval in the configuration file. The default value is
15 which means the
check method from your class is invoked with the same interval as the rest of the integrations on the Agent.
min_collection_interval parameter is available for both standard and custom integrations.
For Agent 6,
min_collection_interval must be added at an instance level and is configured individually for each instance.
- min_collection_interval: 30
For Agent 5,
min_collection_interval is added to the
init_config section to define how often the check is run globally.
Note: If the
min_collection_interval is set to
30, it does not mean that the metric is collected every 30 seconds, but rather that it could be collected as often as every 30 seconds. The collector tries to run the check every 30 seconds but the check might need to wait in line, depending on how many integrations are enabled on the same Agent. Also if the
check method takes more than 30 seconds to finish, the Agent skips execution until the next interval.
Verifying your check
To verify your check is running, use the following command:
sudo -u dd-agent -- datadog-agent check <CHECK_NAME>
sudo -u dd-agent -- dd-agent check <CHECK_NAME>
Once verified, restart the Agent to include it and start reporting data into Datadog.
Writing checks that run command line programs
It’s possible to create a custom check that runs a command line program and captures its output as a custom metric. For example, a check can run the
vgs command to report information about volume groups. A wrapper function is provided for convenience to avoid the boilerplate around shelling out another process and collecting its output and exit code.
To run a subprocess within a check, use the
get_subprocess_output() function from the module
datadog_checks.base.utils.subprocess_output. The command and its arguments are passed to
get_subprocess_output() in the form of a list, with the command and each of its arguments as a string within the list. For instance, a command that is entered at the command prompt like this:
must be passed to
get_subprocess_output() like this:
out, err, retcode = get_subprocess_output(["vgs", "-o", "vg_free"], self.log, raise_on_empty_output=True)
Since the Python interpreter that runs the checks is embedded in the multi-threaded Go runtime, using the
multithreading modules from the Python standard library is not supported in Agent version 6 and later.
When the command line program is run, the check captures the same output as if it were run on the command line in the terminal. It is important to do string processing on the output and call
float() on the result, so that it returns a numerical type.
If you do not do string processing on the output of the subprocess, or if it does not return an integer or a float, the check appears to run without errors, but doesn’t report any data.
Here is an example of a check that returns the results of a command line program:
from datadog_checks.base.utils.subprocess_output import get_subprocess_output
def check(self, instance):
files, err, retcode = get_subprocess_output(["ls", "."], self.log, raise_on_empty_output=True)
file_count = len(files.split('\n')) - 1 #len() returns an int by default
self.gauge("file.count", file_count,tags=['TAG_KEY:TAG_VALUE'] + self.instance.get('tags', ))
Additional helpful documentation, links, and articles: