Get Started with Rackspace Monitoring CLI

Rackspace Monitoring is an API-driven cloud service built for infrastructure monitoring. It offers a simple yet powerful feature set, allowing extreme flexibility in configuration and execution.

This guide serves as a supplement to the Rackspace Monitoring Developer Guide.

Getting started with an API-based monitoring system can be daunting when trying to scale infrastructure rapidly. To get your feet wet with the API, we have created Raxmon, a Command Line Interface (CLI) tool.

Step One: Setup

Install the Raxmon CLI

To avoid repeating the raxmon installation on each new Cloud Server, install it on your workstation and not your server.

Note: raxmon requires Python 2.5, 2.6, or 2.7. Be sure to install Python before proceeding.

The Rackspace-Monitoring CLI tool is available here as open source:

You can install the utility by using the following PIP command:

sudo pip install rackspace-monitoring-cli

Getting your API Key

You need to get your API key to administer Rackspace Monitoring.

After you get your API key, go to your Home folder (you can use cd~/) and create a file named .raxrc, and add the following configuration information:


You need an additional section to use the UK authentication endpoint (the default URL points to the US endpoint):


Now run the following command to see that you can connect properly:

$ raxmon-entities-list

If the output includes a trackback of the most recent calls, it works.

Step Two: Familiarize yourself with Raxmon

The raxmon CLI has a variety of commands and abilities at its disposal. This section walks you through generating one of the most used checks: an HTTP check.

HTTP checks continually submit GET requests to your webpage to make sure that it responds and doesn't time out. If the response is something like a 404, the connection gets refused and triggers an alert.

Raxmon has the following five types and mostly uses CRUD methodology: Create, Read (list), Update, Delete:

Type the following command to see all of the commands available to raxmon:

$ **raxmon --help**

You may need to update multiple items in one go, so let's review how to input
lists and dictionaries in the terminal:

  • For lists, use a comma-delimited string. For example:

    $ raxmon-checks-create --monitoring-zones=mzA,mzB,mzC
  • For dictionaries, see a comma-delimited string of key=value pairs. For

    $ raxmon-entities-create --metadata="location=server room,tag=foobar"

Step Three: Monitor an HTTP page

Create an entity

Entities are the Rackspace Monitoring name for server-like objects. Anything that has an IP address is defined as an entity. Currently, Rackspace Monitoring has no concept of our environment, so let's create an entity. The option --ip-addresses="alias=" specifies the IP address and an alias for
the target. You can have multiple targets per node.

$ raxmon-entities-create --label my_first_server --ip-addresses="alias="

If the operation was successful, the following message displays:

Resource created. ID: entZ4JPIfA

Now we need to create a check. To create a check, you need the following info:

  • Check Type: In this case, remote.HTTP.
  • A Label
  • Entity ID: In this case entZ4JPIfA as returned in the example above
  • Monitoring Zone: The data center we're going to monitor from
  • Target Alias: A key in the entity's ip_addresses hash used to resolve this check to an IP address.
  • Any check-specific details.

We have all of these, except for the monitoring zone. Run teh followng command to get that information:

$ raxmon-monitoring-zones-list

If the operation was successful, the following message displays:

<MonitoringZone: id=mzdfw label=dfw provider=Rackspace Monitoring ...>
<MonitoringZone: id=mzhkg label=hkg provider=Rackspace Monitoring ...>
<MonitoringZone: id=mzlon label=lon provider=Rackspace Monitoring ...>
<MonitoringZone: id=mzord label=ord provider=Rackspace Monitoring ...>
Total: 4

Now, let's create a check. Use the Entity ID returned previously and
the name of the Target Alias we created before.

$ raxmon-checks-create --type remote.http --label http --entity-id entZ4JPIfA --monitoring-zones mzord --details=",method=GET" --target-alias eth0

If the operation was successful, the following message displays:

Resource created. ID: chNbqDaZrJ

Notification addresses and alarms

Checks are great, but you also need to be able to receive notifications.
Create an e-mail address notification type now.

$ raxmon-notifications-create --label example-email --type email --details="[email protected]"

If the operation was successful, the following message displays:

Resource created. ID: ntYgMnnipC

You also need to create a notification plan. This allows Rackspace Monitoring to emit different types of alerts on different states.

$ raxmon-notification-plans-create --label notification_plan_1 --critical-state ntYgMnnipC --warning-state ntYgMnnipC --ok-state ntYgMnni

If the operation was successful, the following message displays:

Resource created. ID: npzwIZKV6o

Notifications are only emitted when the state changes. When a plan moves from OK state to Critical state, it notifies the Critical State Notification. When it then changes from Critical to OK, it uses the OK State Notification.

Now that you have a notification address and plan, you also need to create the alarm itself. Rackspace Monitoring uses alarms to evaluate the metrics of a check and decide if a notification plan should be executed.

$ raxmon-alarms-create --check-id=chNbqDaZrJ --criteria "if (metric[\"code\"] regex \"^[23]..$\") { return OK } return WARNING" --notification-plan npzwIZKV6o --entity-id entZ4JPIfA

That's it. You now have a check, notification, and alarm. Run teh following command to
look at the details:

$ raxmon-alarms-list --entity entZ4JPIfA --details

This returns the following information:

{'criteria': u'if (metric["code"] regex "^[23]..$") { return OK } return WARNING', 'driver': <rackspace_monitoring.drivers.rackspace.RackspaceMonitoringDriver object at 0x101d66710>, 'entity_id': u'entZ4JPIfA', 'id': u'albuOSvLjf', 'notification_plan_id': u'npzwIZKV6o','type': u'remote.http'}

Now anything but a 2XX or 3XX returns an error and you are notified via e-mail.


With these simple principles, you can create a robust and scalable monitoring system that gives you better insight into your infrastructure. For more information, consult the Development Guide for Rackspace Monitoring as well as the Rackspace Monitoring FAQ.