Monasca - Monitoring service


Monasca provides monitoring and logging as-a-service for OpenStack. It consists of a large number of micro-services coupled together by Apache Kafka. If it is enabled in Kolla, it is automatically configured to collect logs and metrics from across the control plane. These logs and metrics are accessible from the Monasca APIs to anyone with credentials for the OpenStack project to which they are posted.

Monasca is not just for the control plane. Monitoring data can just as easily be gathered from tenant deployments, by for example baking the Monasca Agent into the tenant image, or installing it post-deployment using an orchestration tool.

Finally, one of the key tenets of Monasca is that it is scalable. In Kolla Ansible, the deployment has been designed from the beginning to work in a highly available configuration across multiple nodes. Traffic is typically balanced across multiple instances of a service by HAProxy, or in other cases using the native load balancing mechanism provided by the service. For example, topic partitions in Kafka. Of course, if you start out with a single server that’s fine too, and if you find that you need to improve capacity later on down the line, adding additional nodes should be a fairly straightforward exercise.

Pre-deployment configuration

Before enabling Monasca, read the Security impact section and decide whether you need to configure a firewall, and/or wish to prevent users from accessing Monasca services.

Enable Monasca in /etc/kolla/globals.yml:

enable_monasca: "yes"

If you wish to disable the alerting and notification pipeline to reduce resource usage you can set /etc/kolla/globals.yml:

monasca_enable_alerting_pipeline: "no"

You can optionally bypass Monasca for control plane logs, and instead have them sent directly to Elasticsearch. This should be avoided if you have deployed Monasca as a standalone service for the purpose of storing logs in a protected silo for security purposes. However, if this is not a relevant consideration, for example you have deployed Monasca alongside the existing OpenStack control plane, then you may free up some resources by setting:

monasca_ingest_control_plane_logs: "no"

You should note that when making this change with the default kibana_log_prefix prefix of flog-, you will need to create a new index pattern in Kibana accordingly. If you wish to continue to search all logs using the same index pattern in Kibana, then you can override kibana_log_prefix to monasca or similar in /etc/kolla/globals.yml:

kibana_log_prefix: "monasca"

If you have enabled Elasticsearch Curator, it will be configured to rotate logs with index patterns matching either ^flog-.* or ^monasca-.* by default. If this is undesirable, then you can update the elasticsearch_curator_index_pattern variable accordingly.

Currently Monasca is only supported using the source install type Kolla images. If you are using the binary install type you should set the following override in /etc/kolla/globals.yml:

monasca_install_type: "source"

Stand-alone configuration (optional)

Monasca can be deployed via Kolla Ansible in a standalone configuration. The deployment will include all supporting services such as HAProxy, Keepalived, MariaDB and Memcached. It can also include Keystone, but you will likely want to integrate with the Keystone instance provided by your existing OpenStack deployment. Some reasons to perform a standalone deployment are:

  • Your OpenStack deployment is not managed by Kolla Ansible, but you want to take advantage of Monasca support in Kolla Ansible.

  • Your OpenStack deployment is managed by Kolla Ansible, but you do not want the Monasca deployment to share services with your OpenStack deployment. For example, in a combined deployment Monasca will share HAProxy and MariaDB with the core OpenStack services.

  • Your OpenStack deployment is managed by Kolla Ansible, but you want Monasca to be decoupled from the core OpenStack services. For example, you may have a dedicated monitoring and logging team, and wish to prevent that team accidentally breaking, or redeploying core OpenStack services.

  • You want to deploy Monasca for testing. In this case you will likely want to deploy Keystone as well.

To configure a standalone installation you will need to add the following to /etc/kolla/globals.yml`:

enable_openstack_core: "no"
enable_rabbitmq: "no"
enable_keystone: "yes"

With the above configuration alone Keystone will be deployed. If you want Monasca to be registered with an external instance of Keystone remove enable_keystone: “yes” from /etc/kolla/globals.yml and add the following, additional configuration:

keystone_admin_url: ""
keystone_internal_url: ""
  auth_url: "{{ keystone_admin_url }}"
  username: "admin"
  password: "{{ external_keystone_admin_password }}"
  project_name: "admin"
  domain_name: "default"
  user_domain_name: "default"

In this example it is assumed that the external Keystone admin and internal URLs are and respectively, and that the external Keystone admin password is defined by the variable external_keystone_admin_password which you will most likely want to save in /etc/kolla/passwords.yml. Note that the Keystone URLs can be obtained from the external OpenStack CLI, for example:

openstack endpoint list --service identity
| ID                               | Region    | Service Name | Service Type | Enabled | Interface | URL                         |
| 162365440e6c43d092ad6069f0581a57 | RegionOne | keystone     | identity     | True    | admin     | |
| 6d768ee2ce1c4302a49e9b7ac2af472c | RegionOne | keystone     | identity     | True    | public    |  |
| e02067a58b1946c7ae53abf0cfd0bf11 | RegionOne | keystone     | identity     | True    | internal  |  |

If you are also using Kolla Ansible to manage the external OpenStack installation, the external Keystone admin password will most likely be defined in the external /etc/kolla/passwords.yml file. For other deployment methods you will need to consult the relevant documentation.

Building images

To build any custom images required by Monasca see the instructions in the Kolla repo: kolla/doc/source/admin/template-override/monasca.rst. The remaining images may be pulled from a public registry, but if you need to build them manually you can use the following commands:

$ kolla-build -t source monasca
$ kolla-build kafka zookeeper storm elasticsearch logstash kibana

If you are deploying Monasca standalone you will also need the following images:

$ kolla-build cron fluentd mariadb kolla-toolbox keystone memcached keepalived haproxy


Run the deploy as usual, following whichever procedure you normally use to decrypt secrets if you have encrypted them with Ansible Vault:

$ kolla-genpwd
$ kolla-ansible deploy

Quick start

The first thing you will want to do is to create a Monasca user to view metrics harvested by the Monasca Agent. By default these are saved into the monasca_control_plane project, which serves as a place to store all control plane logs and metrics:

[vagrant@operator kolla]$ openstack project list
| ID                               | Name                  |
| 03cb4b7daf174febbc4362d5c79c5be8 | service               |
| 2642bcc8604f4491a50cb8d47e0ec55b | monasca_control_plane |
| 6b75784f6bc942c6969bc618b80f4a8c | admin                 |

The permissions of Monasca users are governed by the roles which they have assigned to them in a given OpenStack project. This is an important point and forms the basis of how Monasca supports multi-tenancy.

By default the admin role and the monasca-read-only-user role are configured. The admin role grants read/write privileges and the monasca-read-only-user role grants read privileges to a user.

[vagrant@operator kolla]$ openstack role list
| ID                               | Name                   |
| 0419463fd5a14ace8e5e1a1a70bbbd84 | agent                  |
| 1095e8be44924ae49585adc5d1136f86 | member                 |
| 60f60545e65f41749b3612804a7f6558 | admin                  |
| 7c184ade893442f78cea8e074b098cfd | _member_               |
| 7e56318e207a4e85b7d7feeebf4ba396 | reader                 |
| fd200a805299455d90444a00db5074b6 | monasca-read-only-user |

Now lets consider the example of creating a monitoring user who has read/write privileges in the monasca_control_plane project. First we create the user:

openstack user create --project monasca_control_plane mon_user
User Password:
Repeat User Password:
| Field               | Value                            |
| default_project_id  | 2642bcc8604f4491a50cb8d47e0ec55b |
| domain_id           | default                          |
| enabled             | True                             |
| id                  | 088a725872c9410d9c806c24952f9ae1 |
| name                | mon_user                         |
| options             | {}                               |
| password_expires_at | None                             |

Secondly we assign the user the admin role in the monasca_control_plane project:

openstack role add admin --project monasca_control_plane --user mon_user

Alternatively we could have assigned the user the read only role:

openstack role add monasca_read_only_user --project monasca_control_plane --user mon_user

The user is now active and the credentials can be used to generate an OpenStack token which can be added to the Monasca Grafana datasource in Grafana. For example, first set the OpenStack credentials for the project you wish to view metrics in. This is normally easiest to do by logging into Horizon with the user you have configured for monitoring, switching to the OpenStack project you wish to view metrics in, and then downloading the credentials file for that project. The credentials file can then be sourced from the command line. You can then generate a token for the datasource using the following command:

openstack token issue

You should then log into Grafana. By default Grafana is available on port 3000 on both internal and external VIPs. See the Grafana guide for further details. Once in Grafana you can select the Monasca datasource and add your token to it. You are then ready to view metrics from Monasca.

For log analysis Kibana is also available, by default on port 5601 on both internal and external VIPs. Currently the Keystone authentication plugin is not configured and the HAProxy endpoints are protected by a password which is defined in /etc/kolla/passwords.yml under kibana_password.

Migrating state from an existing Monasca deployment

These steps should be considered after Monasca has been deployed by Kolla. The aim here is to provide some general guidelines on how to migrate service databases. Migration of time series or log data is not considered.

Migrating service databases

The first step is to dump copies of the existing Monasca database. For example:

mysqldump -h -u monasca_db_user -p monasca_db > monasca_db.sql

This can then be used to replace the Kolla managed Monasca database. Note that it is simplest to get the database password, IP and port from the Monasca API Kolla config file in /etc/kolla/monasca-api. Also note that the commands below drop and recreate the database before loading in the existing database.

mysql -h -u monasca -p -e "drop database monasca; create database monasca;"
mysql -h -u monasca -p monasca < monasca_db.sql

Migrating passwords

The next step is to set the Kolla Ansible service passwords so that they match the legacy services. The alternative of changing the passwords to match the passwords generated by Kolla Ansible is not considered here.

The passwords which you may wish to set to match the original passwords are:


These can be found in the Kolla Ansible passwords file.

Stamping the database with an Alembic revision ID (migrations from pre-Rocky)

Kolla Ansible supports deploying Monasca from the Rocky release onwards. If you are migrating from Queens or below, your database will not have been stamped with a revision ID by Alembic, and this will not be automatic. Support for Alembic migrations was added to Monasca in the Rocky release. You will first need to make sure that the database you have loaded in has been manually migrated to the Queens schema. You can then stamp the database from any Monasca API container running the Rocky release onwards. An example of how this can be done is given below:

sudo docker exec -it monasca_api monasca_db stamp --from-fingerprint

Applying the configuration

Restart Monasca services on all nodes, for example:

for service in `docker ps | grep monasca_ | awk '{print $11}'`; do docker restart $service; done

Apply the password changes by running the following command:

kolla-ansible reconfigure -t monasca


From time-to-time it may be necessary to manually invoke the Monasca cleanup command. Normally this will be triggered automatically during an upgrade for services which are removed or disabled by default. However, volume cleanup will always need to be addressed manually. It may also be necessary to run the cleanup command when disabling certain parts of the Monasca pipeline. A full list of scenarios in which you must run the cleanup command is given below. Those marked as automatic will be triggered as part of an upgrade.

  • Upgrading from Victoria to Wallaby to remove the unused Monasca Log Transformer service (automatic).

  • Upgrading from Victoria to Wallaby to remove the Monasca Log Metrics service, unless the option to disable it by default has been overridden in Wallaby (automatic).

  • Upgrading from Wallaby to Xena to remove the Monasca Log Metrics service if the option to disable it by default was overridden in Wallaby (automatic).

  • If you have disabled the alerting pipeline via the monasca_enable_alerting_pipeline flag after you have deployed the alerting services.

The cleanup command can be invoked from the Kolla Ansible CLI, for example:

kolla-ansible monasca_cleanup

Following cleanup, you may also choose to remove unused container volumes. It is recommended to run this manually on each Monasca service host. Note that docker prune will indiscriminately remove all unused volumes, which may not always be what you want. If you wish to keep a subset of unused volumes, you can remove them individually.

To remove all unused volumes on a host:

docker prune

To remove a single unused volume, run for example:

docker volume rm monasca_log_transformer_data

System requirements and performance impact

Monasca will deploy the following Docker containers:

  • Apache Kafka

  • Apache Storm (optional)

  • Apache Zookeeper

  • Elasticsearch

  • Grafana

  • InfluxDB

  • Kibana

  • Monasca Agent Collector

  • Monasca Agent Forwarder

  • Monasca Agent Statsd

  • Monasca API

  • Monasca Log API

  • Monasca Log Metrics (Logstash, optional, deprecated)

  • Monasca Log Persister (Logstash)

  • Monasca Notification (optional)

  • Monasca Persister

  • Monasca Thresh (Apache Storm topology, optional)

In addition to these, Monasca will also utilise Kolla deployed MariaDB, Keystone, Memcached and HAProxy/Keepalived. The Monasca Agent containers will, by default, be deployed on all nodes managed by Kolla Ansible. This includes all nodes in the control plane as well as compute, storage and monitoring nodes.

Whilst these services will run on an all-in-one deployment, in a production environment it is recommended to use at least one dedicated monitoring node to avoid the risk of starving core OpenStack services of resources. As a general rule of thumb, for a standalone monitoring server running Monasca in a production environment, you will need at least 32GB RAM and a recent multi-core CPU. You will also need enough space to store metrics and logs, and to buffer these in Kafka. Whilst Kafka is happy with spinning disks, you will likely want to use SSDs to back InfluxDB and Elasticsearch.

If resources are tight, it is possible to disable the alerting and notification pipeline which removes the need for Apache Storm, Monasca Thresh and Monasca Notification. This can have a significant effect.

Security impact

The Monasca API, Log API, Grafana and Kibana ports will be exposed on public endpoints via HAProxy/Keepalived. If your public endpoints are exposed externally, then you should use a firewall to restrict access. You should also consider whether you wish to allow tenants to access these services on the internal network.

If you are using the multi-tenant capabilities of Monasca there is a risk that tenants could gain access to other tenants logs and metrics. This could include logs and metrics for the control plane which could reveal sensitive information about the size and nature of the deployment.

Another risk is that users may gain access to system logs via Kibana, which is not accessed via the Monasca APIs. Whilst Kolla configures a password out of the box to restrict access to Kibana, the password will not apply if a user has access to the network on which the individual Kibana service(s) bind behind HAProxy. Note that Elasticsearch, which is not protected by a password, will also be directly accessible on this network, and therefore great care should be taken to ensure that untrusted users do not have access to it.

A full evaluation of attack vectors is outside the scope of this document.


Monasca support in Kolla was contributed by StackHPC Ltd. and the Kolla community. If you have any issues with the deployment please ask in the Kolla IRC channel.