Alarms provide user-oriented Monitoring-as-a-Service for resources running on OpenStack. This type of monitoring ensures you can automatically scale in or out a group of instances through the Orchestration service, but you can also use alarms for general-purpose awareness of your cloud resources’ health.

These alarms follow a tri-state model:


The rule governing the alarm has been evaluated as False.


The rule governing the alarm has been evaluated as True.

insufficient data

There are not enough datapoints available in the evaluation periods to meaningfully determine the alarm state.

Alarm definitions

The definition of an alarm provides the rules that govern when a state transition should occur, and the actions to be taken thereon. The nature of these rules depend on the alarm type.

Threshold rule alarms

For conventional threshold-oriented alarms, state transitions are governed by:

  • A static threshold value with a comparison operator such as greater than or less than.

  • A statistic selection to aggregate the data.

  • A sliding time window to indicate how far back into the recent past you want to look.

Both Ceilometer and Gnocchi are supported as data source of the threshold rule alarm. Valid threshold alarms are:

  • threshold

  • gnocchi_resources_threshold

  • gnocchi_aggregation_by_metrics_threshold

  • gnocchi_aggregation_by_resources_threshold

Composite rule alarms

Composite alarms enable users to define an alarm with multiple triggering conditions, using a combination of and and or relations.

Alarm dimensioning

A key associated concept is the notion of dimensioning which defines the set of matching meters that feed into an alarm evaluation. Recall that meters are per-resource-instance, so in the simplest case an alarm might be defined over a particular meter applied to all resources visible to a particular user. More useful however would be the option to explicitly select which specific resources you are interested in alarming on.

At one extreme you might have narrowly dimensioned alarms where this selection would have only a single target (identified by resource ID). At the other extreme, you could have widely dimensioned alarms where this selection identifies many resources over which the statistic is aggregated. For example all instances booted from a particular image or all instances with matching user metadata (the latter is how the Orchestration service identifies autoscaling groups).

Alarm evaluation

Alarms are evaluated by the alarm-evaluator service on a periodic basis, defaulting to once every minute.

Alarm actions

Any state transition of individual alarm (to ok, alarm, or insufficient data) may have one or more actions associated with it. These actions effectively send a signal to a consumer that the state transition has occurred, and provide some additional context. This includes the new and previous states, with some reason data describing the disposition with respect to the threshold, the number of datapoints involved and most recent of these. State transitions are detected by the alarm-evaluator, whereas the alarm-notifier effects the actual notification action.


These are the de facto notification type used by Telemetry alarming and simply involve an HTTP(S) POST request being sent to an endpoint, with a request body containing a description of the state transition encoded as a JSON fragment.

OpenStack Services

The user is able to define an alarm that simply trigger some OpenStack service by directly specifying the service URL, e.g. trust+ aodh-notifier will prepare X-Auth-Token header and send HTTP(S) POST request to that URL, containing the alarm information in the request body.

Heat Autoscaling

This notifier works together with loadbalancer_member_health evaluator. Presumably, the end user defines a Heat template which contains an autoscaling group and all the members in the group are joined in an Octavia load balancer in order to expose highly available service to the outside, so that when the stack scales up or scales down, Heat makes sure the new members are joining the load balancer automatically and the old members are removed. However, this notifier deals with the situation that when some member fails, the Heat stack could be recovered automatically. More information here

Log actions

These are a lightweight alternative to webhooks, whereby the state transition is simply logged by the alarm-notifier, and are intended primarily for testing purposes by admin users.

If none of the above actions satisfy your requirement, you can implement your own alarm actions according to the current suppported actions in aodh/notifier folder.

Using alarms

Alarm creation

Threshold based alarm

An example of creating a Gnocchi threshold-oriented alarm, based on an upper bound on the CPU utilization for a particular instance:

$ aodh alarm create \
  --name cpu_hi \
  --type gnocchi_resources_threshold \
  --description 'instance running hot' \
  --metric cpu_util \
  --threshold 70.0 \
  --comparison-operator gt \
  --aggregation-method mean \
  --granularity 600 \
  --evaluation-periods 3 \
  --alarm-action 'log://' \
  --resource-id INSTANCE_ID \
  --resource-type instance

This creates an alarm that will fire when the average CPU utilization for an individual instance exceeds 70% for three consecutive 10 minute periods. The notification in this case is simply a log message, though it could alternatively be a webhook URL.


Alarm names must be unique for the alarms associated with an individual project. Administrator can limit the maximum resulting actions for three different states, and the ability for a normal user to create log:// and test:// notifiers is disabled. This prevents unintentional consumption of disk and memory resources by the Telemetry service.

The sliding time window over which the alarm is evaluated is 30 minutes in this example. This window is not clamped to wall-clock time boundaries, rather it’s anchored on the current time for each evaluation cycle, and continually creeps forward as each evaluation cycle rolls around (by default, this occurs every minute).


The alarm granularity must match the granularities of the metric configured in Gnocchi.

Otherwise the alarm will tend to flit in and out of the insufficient data state due to the mismatch between the actual frequency of datapoints in the metering store and the statistics queries used to compare against the alarm threshold. If a shorter alarm period is needed, then the corresponding interval should be adjusted in the pipeline.yaml file.

Other notable alarm attributes that may be set on creation, or via a subsequent update, include:


The initial alarm state (defaults to insufficient data).


A free-text description of the alarm (defaults to a synopsis of the alarm rule).


True if evaluation and actioning is to be enabled for this alarm (defaults to True).


True if actions should be repeatedly notified while the alarm remains in the target state (defaults to False).


An action to invoke when the alarm state transitions to ok.


An action to invoke when the alarm state transitions to insufficient data.


Used to restrict evaluation of the alarm to certain times of the day or days of the week (expressed as cron expression with an optional timezone).

Composite alarm

An example of creating a composite alarm, based on the composite of two basic rules:

$ aodh alarm create \
  --name meta \
  --type composite \
  --composite-rule '{"or": [{"threshold": 0.8, "metric": "cpu_util", \
    "type": "gnocchi_resources_threshold", "resource_id": INSTANCE_ID1, \
    "resource_type": "instance", "aggregation_method": "last"}, \
    {"threshold": 0.8, "metric": "cpu_util", \
    "type": "gnocchi_resources_threshold", "resource_id": INSTANCE_ID2, \
    "resource_type": "instance", "aggregation_method": "last"}]}' \
  --alarm-action ''

This creates an alarm that will fire when either of two basic rules meets the condition. The notification in this case is a webhook call. Any number of basic rules can be composed into a composite rule this way, using either and or or. Additionally, composite rules can contain nested conditions:


Observe the underscore in resource_id & resource_type in composite rule as opposed to --resource-id & --resource-type CLI arguments.

$ aodh alarm create \
  --name meta \
  --type composite \
  --composite-rule '{"or": [ALARM_1, {"and": [ALARM_2, ALARM_3]}]}' \
  --alarm-action ''

Event based alarm

An example of creating a event alarm based on power state of instance:

$ aodh alarm create \
  --type event \
  --name instance_off \
  --description 'Instance powered OFF' \
  --event-type "compute.instance.power_off.*" \
  --enable True \
  --query "traits.instance_id=string::INSTANCE_ID" \
  --alarm-action 'log://' \
  --ok-action 'log://' \
  --insufficient-data-action 'log://'

Valid list of event-type and traits can be found in event_definitions.yaml file . --query may also contain mix of traits for example to create alarm when instance is powered on but went into error state:

$ aodh alarm create \
  --type event \
  --name instance_on_but_in_err_state \
  --description 'Instance powered ON but in error state' \
  --event-type "compute.instance.power_on.*" \
  --enable True \
  --query "traits.instance_id=string::INSTANCE_ID;traits.state=string::error" \
  --alarm-action 'log://' \
  --ok-action 'log://' \
  --insufficient-data-action 'log://'

Sample output of alarm type event:

| Field                     | Value                                                         |
| alarm_actions             | ['log://']                                                    |
| alarm_id                  | 15c0da26-524d-40ad-8fba-3e55ee0ddc91                          |
| description               | Instance powered ON but in error state                        |
| enabled                   | True                                                          |
| event_type                | compute.instance.power_on.*                                   |
| insufficient_data_actions | ['log://']                                                    |
| name                      | instance_on_state_err                                         |
| ok_actions                | ['log://']                                                    |
| project_id                | 9ee200732f4c4d10a6530bac746f1b6e                              |
| query                     | traits.instance_id = bb912729-fa51-443b-bac6-bf4c795f081d AND |
|                           | traits.state = error                                          |
| repeat_actions            | False                                                         |
| severity                  | low                                                           |
| state                     | insufficient data                                             |
| state_timestamp           | 2017-07-15T02:28:31.114455                                    |
| time_constraints          | []                                                            |
| timestamp                 | 2017-07-15T02:28:31.114455                                    |
| type                      | event                                                         |
| user_id                   | 89b4e48bcbdb4816add7800502bd5122                              |


To enable event alarms please refer Configuration

Alarm retrieval

You can display all your alarms via (some attributes are omitted for brevity):

$ aodh alarm list
| alarm_id | type      | name   | state             | severity | enabled |
| ALARM_ID | threshold | cpu_hi | insufficient data | low      | True    |

In this case, the state is reported as insufficient data which could indicate that:

  • meters have not yet been gathered about this instance over the evaluation window into the recent past (for example a brand-new instance)

  • or, that the identified instance is not visible to the user/project owning the alarm

  • or, simply that an alarm evaluation cycle hasn’t kicked off since the alarm was created (by default, alarms are evaluated once per minute).


The visibility of alarms depends on the role and project associated with the user issuing the query:

  • admin users see all alarms, regardless of the owner

  • non-admin users see only the alarms associated with their project (as per the normal project segregation in OpenStack)

Alarm update

Once the state of the alarm has settled down, we might decide that we set that bar too low with 70%, in which case the threshold (or most any other alarm attribute) can be updated thusly:

$ aodh alarm update ALARM_ID --threshold 75

The change will take effect from the next evaluation cycle, which by default occurs every minute.

Most alarm attributes can be changed in this way, but there is also a convenient short-cut for getting and setting the alarm state:

$ openstack alarm state get ALARM_ID
$ openstack alarm state set --state ok ALARM_ID

Over time the state of the alarm may change often, especially if the threshold is chosen to be close to the trending value of the statistic. You can follow the history of an alarm over its lifecycle via the audit API:

$ aodh alarm-history show ALARM_ID
| timestamp | type             | detail                                            | event_id |
| TIME_3    | rule change      | {"rule": {"evaluation_periods": 3, "metric":      | EVENT_ID |
|           |                  | "cpu_util", "resource_id": RESOURCE_ID,           |          |
|           |                  | "aggregation_method": "mean", "granularity":600,  |          |
|           |                  | "threshold": 75.0, "comparison_operator": "gt"    |          |
|           |                  | "resource_type": "instance"}}                     |          |
| TIME_2    | state transition | {"transition_reason": "Transition to alarm due 3  | EVENT_ID |
|           |                  | samples outside threshold, most recent:           |          |
|           |                  | 81.4108514719", "state": "alarm"}                 |          |
| TIME_1    | state transition | {"transition_reason": "Transition to ok due to 1  | EVENT_ID |
|           |                  | samples inside threshold, most recent:            |          |
|           |                  | 67.952938019089", "state": "ok"}                  |          |
| TIME_0    | creation         | {"alarm_actions": ["log://"], "user_id": USER_ID, | EVENT_ID |
|           |                  | "name": "cup_hi", "state": "insufficient data",   |          |
|           |                  | "timestamp": TIME_0, "description": "instance     |          |
|           |                  | running hot", "enabled": true, "state_timestamp": |          |
|           |                  | TIME_0, "rule": {"evaluation_periods": 3,         |          |
|           |                  | "metric": "cpu_util", "resource_id": RESOURCE_ID, |          |
|           |                  | "aggregation_method": "mean", "granularity": 600, |          |
|           |                  | "resource_type": "instance"}, "alarm_id":         |          |
|           |                  | ALARM_ID, "time_constraints": [],                 |          |
|           |                  | "insufficient_data_actions": [],                  |          |
|           |                  | "repeat_actions": false, "ok_actions": [],        |          |
|           |                  | "project_id": PROJECT_ID, "type":                 |          |
|           |                  | "gnocchi_resources_threshold", "severity": "low"} |          |

Alarm deletion

An alarm that is no longer required can be disabled so that it is no longer actively evaluated:

$ aodh alarm update --enabled False ALARM_ID

or even deleted permanently (an irreversible step):

$ aodh alarm delete ALARM_ID

Debug alarms

A good place to start is to add --debug flag when creating or updating an alarm. For example:

$ aodh --debug alarm create <OTHER_PARAMS>

Look for the state to transition when event is triggered in /var/log/aodh/listener.log file. For example, the below logs shows the transition state of alarm with id 85a2942f-a2ec-4310-baea-d58f9db98654 triggered by event id abe437a3-b75b-40b4-a3cb-26022a919f5e

2017-07-15 07:03:20.149 2866 INFO aodh.evaluator [-] alarm 85a2942f-a2ec-4310-baea-d58f9db98654 transitioning to alarm because Event <id=abe437a3-b75b-40b4-a3cb-26022a919f5e,event_type=compute.instance.power_off.start> hits the query <query=[{"field": "traits.instance_id", "op": "eq", "type": "string", "value": "bb912729-fa51-443b-bac6-bf4c795f081d"}]>.

The below entry in /var/log/aodh/notifier.log also confirms that event id abe437a3-b75b-40b4-a3cb-26022a919f5e hits the query matching instance id bb912729-fa51-443b-bac6-bf4c795f081d

2017-07-15 07:03:24.071 2863 INFO aodh.notifier.log [-] Notifying alarm instance_off 85a2942f-a2ec-4310-baea-d58f9db98654 of low priority from insufficient data to alarm with action log: because Event <id=abe437a3-b75b-40b4-a3cb-26022a919f5e,event_type=compute.instance.power_off.start> hits the query <query=[{"field": "traits.instance_id", "op": "eq", "type": "string", "value": "bb912729-fa51-443b-bac6-bf4c795f081d"}]>

aodh alarm-history as mentioned earlier will also display the transition:

$ aodh alarm-history show 85a2942f-a2ec-4310-baea-d58f9db98654
| timestamp                  | type             | detail                                                                                                                   | event_id                             |
| 2017-07-15T01:33:20.390623 | state transition | {"transition_reason": "Event <id=abe437a3-b75b-40b4-a3cb-26022a919f5e,event_type=compute.instance.power_off.start> hits  | c5ca92ae-584b-4da6-a12c-b7a00dd39fef |
|                            |                  | the query <query=[{\"field\": \"traits.instance_id\", \"op\": \"eq\", \"type\": \"string\", \"value\": \"bb912729-fa51   |                                      |
|                            |                  | -443b-bac6-bf4c795f081d\"}]>.", "state": "alarm"}                                                                        |                                      |
| 2017-07-15T01:31:14.516188 | creation         | {"alarm_actions": ["log://"], "user_id": "89b4e48bcbdb4816add7800502bd5122", "name": "instance_off", "state":            | fb31f4c2-e357-44c3-9b6a-bd2aaaa4ae68 |
|                            |                  | "insufficient data", "timestamp": "2017-07-15T01:31:14.516188", "description": "event_instance_power_off", "enabled":    |                                      |
|                            |                  | true, "state_timestamp": "2017-07-15T01:31:14.516188", "rule": {"query": [{"field": "traits.instance_id", "type":        |                                      |
|                            |                  | "string", "value": "bb912729-fa51-443b-bac6-bf4c795f081d", "op": "eq"}], "event_type": "compute.instance.power_off.*"},  |                                      |
|                            |                  | "alarm_id": "85a2942f-a2ec-4310-baea-d58f9db98654", "time_constraints": [], "insufficient_data_actions": ["log://"],     |                                      |
|                            |                  | "repeat_actions": false, "ok_actions": ["log://"], "project_id": "9ee200732f4c4d10a6530bac746f1b6e", "type": "event",    |                                      |
|                            |                  | "severity": "low"}                                                                                                       |                                      |