IBM Think

Statistics Publishing and Reporting Part Four: Auto-Configuration and Composite Registries

18 Apr 2020

Part One: Domino and Statistics
Part Two: Prometheus
Part Three: Micrometer and Prometheus
Part Two: Micrometer and Composite Registries

Easier Endpoints for Single Backends

In the last part I covered outputting metrics. If you have an existing HTTP server or wish to create a standalone server, it’s easy to output the metrics, as shown on the Vert.x samples:

Router router = Router.router(vertx);

But even easier is the use of an embedded server. The caveat here is that the embedded server can only be used if you’re outputting to a single backend - Prometheus, InfluxDB or JMX. If you only have a single backend, you can set the configuration options and it will automatically start a single registry for the relevant backend. So for Prometheus, the example in the documentation is:

Vertx vertx = Vertx.vertx(new VertxOptions().setMetricsOptions(
  new MicrometerMetricsOptions()
    .setPrometheusOptions(new VertxPrometheusOptions().setEnabled(true))

There is a similar set....Option() method for InfluxDB and JMX. The actual options for the embedded server can be set via JSON configuration or Java methods of the VertxPrometheusOptions class. If you want to use a JSON configuration, the Prometheus-specific options are built using a JSON object like this:

  "embeddedServerEndpoint" : "/metrics",
  "enabled" : true,
  "publishQuantiles" : true,
  "startEmbeddedServer" : true

This defines an endpoint for the embedded server, which is automatically started because startEmbeddedServer is set to true. publishQuantiles tells it to output histogram data. There is a constructor public VertxPrometheusOptions(JsonObject json) which will take that JSON object and set the properties accordingly. But you also need to define the embedded server’s settings - whether to use SSL, which HTTP port etc. This is done by calling setEmbeddedServerOptions(), passing in an HttpServerOptions object, as you would for any other Vert.x HTTP server.

Composite Registries

However, the embedded server and VertxPrometheusOptions will only work if you only want to publish stats for Prometheus. As I mentioned, this auto-creates a registry. There is a method MicrometerMetricsOptions.setMicrometerRegistry() to pass in a registry, which you need to do if you want a composite registry for multiple backends. But as the Javadoc confirms, you can either add options for Prometheus / InfluxDB / JMX or you can set a registry - you cannot use VertxPrometheusOptions if you want a composite registry.

As I mentioned in the last part, there are two strengths for Micrometer:

  1. It makes it easier to get the correct format for a specific backend.
  2. The CompositeMeterRegistry means you can output the same metrics for multiple backends.

If you’ve got a very specialised implementation and only want to support a single backend, the embedded server makes that very easy. If people want to use other backends, you place the onus on third-party manipulations. That’s presumably what Panopta’s Domino agent does, if I understood the webinar at the end of last month correctly. Similarly, if you would want to report on Domino’s statistics on Prometheus, for example, you would also need to write custom code to convert the statistics youself - because they’re hierarchical, not dimensional; because Prometheus pulls, doesn’t receive a push.

But offering freedom of choice and making it easier for consumers is always good, and Micrometer allows you to do that. There are (at least) two key changes.

Create And Seed CompositeMeterRegistry

The first is you need to create a CompositeMeterRegistry and use MicrometerMetricsOptions.setMicrometerRegistry() to load it. You can then add the various registries you wish to support with CompositeMeterRegistry.add(). The Micrometer documentation will give you the relevant Maven settings and code needed to add the registry, e.g.

PrometheusMeterRegistry prometheusRegistry = new PrometheusMeterRegistry(PrometheusConfig.DEFAULT);

In the last part, when creating meters I used BackendRegistries.getDefaultNow() to get the registry. The same method will then get the CompositeMeterRegistry you created. The good news is that if you just add Counters and Timers to the composite registry, then when you scrape the statistics later, you still get them.

Outputting Statistics

The second change you need is to write the code for the server endpoint (if it’s pull) or client (if it’s push). The PrometheusScrapingHandler() won’t work here, because the registry in use is a CompositeMeterRegistry, not a PrometheusMeterRegistry. Instead, you’ll need to scrape from the relevant registry:

final HttpServerResponse response = routingContext.response();
BackendRegistries.getDefaultNow().getRegistries().forEach(registry -> {
    if (registry instanceof PrometheusMeterRegistry){
        PrometheusMeterRegistry promRegistry = (PrometheusMeterRegistry) registry;
        response.putHeader(HttpHeaders.CONTENT_TYPE, TextFormat.CONTENT_TYPE_004)


As I mentioned, adding Counters and Timers to the composite registry means those statistics get outputted. However, histogram data doesn’t. There isn’t an obvious setting on PrometheusConfig to enable it, though the HistogramFlavor seems to be relevant. There isn’t a specific option when scraping. The PrometheusDistributionSummary seems to be key. It may be necessary to create Timers on the PrometheusMeterRegistry rather than the CompositeMeterRegistry, I’m not sure. More trial-and-error investigation would be necessary to confirm.

Posted with : Vert.x, Micrometer, Prometheus