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Creating TICKscript Templates for Kapacitor

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Creating TICKscript Templates for Kapacitor

Customers always ask me the best way to create TICKscripts for alerts and downsamples. So, I thought I'd take a moment here to provide you with some templates!

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Kapacitor is an integral piece of the InfluxData platform. And in fact, as the platform continues to develop, we are looking to Kapacitor to do more and more in terms of data processing and workloads. At the core of these workloads are alerts and downsampling or aggregations. I am often asked by customers what the best way to create TICKscripts for these two types of workloads is. So, I thought I would take a moment here to provide you with some templates you can use as starting points for an alert and a downsample.

Alerts

Alerts are at the core of what Kapacitor does and are the most common type of workload for Kapacitor in the wild. I'm going to let you in on a secret for creating great alert scripts: Use Chronograf to stub them out. Chronograf has the ability to visually create alerts.
In the image above, I have created an alert on CPU usage and set a threshold of 80%. When the alert triggers, I want to it make an HTTP POST. Pretty simple alert.

Once you have created your alert, you can view and copy the actual TICKscript. Go back to the Alert Rules page and select the Edit TICKscript button for your alert.
Prior versions will just show the script contents, but if you are using the latest version of Chronograf (at least 1.3.10), this will open up the new TICKscript editor, which you can use to start writing more TICK code.

Downsamples

The second most common workload for Kapacitor is using it to downsample or aggregate data. In the Kapacitor docs, there is a guide for using Kapacitor as a Continuous Query Engine, but it's not exactly clear whether this is the same thing as aggregation and downsampling. So, let's discuss it here as well. In general, our recommendation is to run aggregation or downsampling TICK scripts as BATCH scripts. The script snippet below will run the query every five minutes and grab the last five minutes worth of CPU data from our Telegraf database. It will then take the mean of that data and store it back into the DB. Assuming that Telegraf is reporting every 30 seconds, this basically says that we are going to downsample from 30-second resolution to five-minute resolution data:

batch
   |query('SELECT mean(usage_idle) as usage_idle FROM "telegraf"."autogen".cpu')
      .period(5m)
      .every(5m)
      .groupBy(*)
   |influxDBOut()
      .database('telegraf')
      .retentionPolicy('autogen')
      .measurement('cpu_idle_5minute')
      .precision('s')

What if I wanted to downsample from 30 seconds to, say, an hour? In that case, your script should look like this:

batch
   |query('SELECT mean(usage_idle) as usage_idle FROM "telegraf"."autogen".cpu')
      .period(1h)
      .every(1h)
      .groupBy(*)
   |influxDBOut()
      .database('telegraf')
      .retentionPolicy('autogen')
      .measurement('cpu_idle_1hour')
      .precision('s')

You can see that the general rule for downsampling is that the period() should equal every().

Conclusion

We have now given you some templates to use for creating TICKscripts for the two most common Kapacitor use cases: alerts and downsampling. Of course, there is a lot more you can do with Kapacitor. As a best practice, when developing a lot of TICKscripts, I would highly recommend that you set up a GitHub repo and/or a Wiki for folks to use to get these templates and to use as a guide for different scripts. It's also helpful for dashboard definitions — but that is for another article.

Now go write some code!

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Topics:
database ,tutorial ,kapacitor ,tickscript ,alert ,downsample

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