Table of Contents

For using Vitals with a database as the backend (i.e. PostgreSQL, Cassandra), please refer to Kong Vitals.

Setup Prometheus environment for Vitals

Download Prometheus

The latest release of Prometheus can be found at the Prometheus download page.

Prometheus should be running on a separate node from the one running Kong. For users that are already using Prometheus in their infrastructure, it’s possible to use existing Prometheus nodes as Vitals storage backend.

In this guide, we assume Prometheus is running on hostname prometheus-node using default config that listens on port 9090.

Download and configure StatsD exporter

The latest release of StatsD exporter can be found at the Bintray. The binary is distributed with some specific features like min/max gauges and Unix domain socket support.

StatsD exporter needed to configured with a set of mapping rules to translate the StatsD UDP events to Prometheus metrics. A default set of mapping rules can be downloaded at statsd.rules.yaml. Then start StatsD exporter with

$ ./statsd_exporter --statsd.mapping-config=statsd.rules.yaml \

The StatsD mapping rules file must be configured to match the metrics sent from Kong. To learn how to customize the StatsD events name, please refer to Enable Vitals with Prometheus strategy in Kong section.

StatsD exporter can run either on a separate node from Kong (to avoid resource competition with Kong), or on the same host with Kong (to reduce unnecessary network overhead).

In this guide, we assume StatsD exporter is running on hostname statsd-node, using default config that listens to UDP traffic on port 9125 and the metrics in Prometheus Exposition Format are exposed on port 9102.

Configure Prometheus to scrape StatsD exporter

To configure Prometheus to scrape StatsD exporter, add the following section to scrape_configs in prometheus.yaml.

  - job_name: 'vitals_statsd_exporter'
    scrape_interval: "5s"
      - targets: ['statsd-node:9102']

Please update statsd-node with the actual hostname that runs StatsD exporter.

If you are using service discovery, it will be more convenient to configure multiple StatsD exporters in Prometheus. Please refer to the scape_configs section of Prometheus document for further reading.

Enable Vitals with Prometheus strategy in Kong

You can change this in your configuration to enable Vitals with Prometheus:

# via your Kong configuration file
vitals = on
vitals_strategy = prometheus
vitals_statsd_address = statsd-node:9125
vitals_tsdb_address = prometheus-node:9090
# or via environment variables
$ export KONG_VITALS=on
$ export KONG_VITALS_STRATEGY=prometheus
$ export KONG_VITALS_STATSD_ADDRESS=statsd-node:9125
$ export KONG_TSDB_ADDRESS=prometheus-node:9090

Please update statsd-node and prometheus-node with the actual hostname that runs StatsD exporter and Prometheus.

As with other Kong configurations, your changes take effect on kong reload or kong restart.

If you set scrape_interval in Prometheus other than the default value of 5 seconds, you will also need to update the following:

# via your Kong configuration file
vitals_prometheus_scrape_interval = new_value_in_seconds
# or via environment variables
$ export KONG_VITALS_PROMETHEUS_SCRAPE_INTERVAL=new_value_in_seconds

The above option configures interval parameter when quering Prometheus. The value new_value_in_seconds should be equal or larger than scrape_interval config in Prometheus.

You can also configure Kong to send StatsD events with a different prefix from the default value of kong. Make sure the prefix in statsd.rules is same as that in Kong configuration:

# via your Kong configuration file
vitals_statsd_prefix = kong-vitals
# or via environment variables
$ export KONG_VITALS_STATSD_PREFIX=kong-vitals
# in statsd.rules
# by API
- match: kong-vitals.api.*.request.count
  name: "kong_requests_proxy"
    job: "kong_metrics"
# follows other metrics
# ...

Tunning and Optimization

StatsD exporter UDP buffer

As the amount of concurrent requests increases, the length of the queue to store unprocessed UDP events will grow as well. It’s necessary to increase the UDP read buffer size to avoid possible packet dropping.

To increase the UDP read buffer for the StatsD exporter process, run the binary using the following example to set read buffer to around 3 MB:

$ ./statsd_exporter --statsd.mapping-config=statsd.rules.yaml \
                    --statsd.listen-unixgram='' \

To increase the UDP read buffer for the host that’s running, adding the following example line to /etc/sysctl.conf:

net.core.rmem_max = 60000000

And then apply the setting with root privilege:

# sysctl -p

StatsD exporter with Unix domain socket

It is possible to further reduce network overhead by deploying StatsD exporter on the same node with Kong and let the exporter listen on local Unix domain socket.

$ ./statsd_exporter --statsd.mapping-config=statsd.rules.yaml \

By default the socket is created with permission 0755, so that StatsD exporter has to be running with the same user with Kong to allow Kong to write UDP packets to the socket. To allow the exporter and Kong to run as different users, the socket can be created with permission 0777 with the following:

$ ./statsd_exporter --statsd.mapping-config=statsd.rules.yaml \
                    --statsd.listen-unixgram='/tmp/statsd.sock' \

Accessing Vitals metrics from Prometheus

You can also access Kong Vitals metrics in Prometheus and display on Grafana or setup alerting rules. With the example StatsD mapping rules, all metrics are labeled with exported_job=kong_vitals. With the above Prometheus scrape config above, all metrics are also labeled with job=vitals_statsd_exporter.