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How to Monitor an Ubuntu Server With Prometheus: Collecting and Visualizing System Metrics


  • How to Monitor an Ubuntu Server With Prometheus: Collecting and Visualizing System Metrics

    by George Whittaker


    In today's fast-paced digital world, server uptime and performance are critical. Monitoring servers to ensure they are functioning optimally is a top priority for system administrators and DevOps teams. Effective server monitoring can prevent downtime, improve performance, and help troubleshoot issues before they escalate. One of the most powerful tools for this purpose is Prometheus, an open source monitoring and alerting toolkit originally developed at SoundCloud.

    This article aims to walk you through the process of setting up Prometheus for monitoring Ubuntu servers. We will cover everything from installation and configuration to collecting and visualizing system metrics. By the end of this guide, you will have a fully functional monitoring setup that can provide valuable insights into your server's performance.

    Understanding Prometheus

    What is Prometheus?

    Prometheus is a robust monitoring system that collects metrics from configured targets at specified intervals, evaluates rule expressions, displays results, and triggers alerts if certain conditions are observed. It has become the de facto standard for monitoring in cloud-native environments. Key features of Prometheus include:
    • Multi-dimensional data model: Prometheus uses a time series data model, allowing for high-dimensional data collection and querying.
    • Flexible query language: PromQL, the Prometheus Query Language, is highly flexible and powerful.
    • Autonomous server: Prometheus can run independently without relying on distributed storage.
    • Efficient storage: Stores time series data efficiently in a local time series database.
    • Pull-based model: Prometheus collects metrics by pulling them from target endpoints.
    Benefits of Using Prometheus for Server Monitoring
    • Scalability: Prometheus can handle a large number of metrics, making it suitable for environments of any size.
    • Integration with Grafana: Prometheus integrates seamlessly with Grafana, a leading open source platform for monitoring and observability, for advanced visualization.
    • Rich ecosystem: A wide range of exporters and integrations are available, making it easy to extend Prometheus to meet specific needs.
    Setting Up Prometheus on Ubuntu

    System Requirements

    Before installing Prometheus, ensure your Ubuntu server meets the following minimum requirements:

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