- What is the Sensu server?
- Sensu Core vs Sensu Enterprise
- Check execution scheduling
- Event processing
- Automated Sensu server task election
- Scaling Sensu
What is the Sensu server?
The Sensu server schedules and publishes check execution requests to client subscriptions (via a Publish/Subscribe model), and provides a scalable event processing platform for processing check results and monitoring events.
Sensu Core vs Sensu Enterprise
The Sensu server comes in two flavors: the open-source Sensu Core (via the
sensu-server process), and Sensu Enterprise (via the
process). To learn more about the differences between Sensu Core and Sensu
Enterprise, please visit the Sensu website.
NOTE: Sensu Enterprise (i.e. the
sensu-enterprise process) was designed to be
a drop-in replacement for the Sensu Core server and API (i.e. the
sensu-api). As such, any mention of “the Sensu server” in the Sensu
documentation also applies to the
sensu-enterprise process, for Sensu
WARNING: as noted above, the
sensu-enterprise process is designed to replace
both of the Sensu Core
sensu-api processes. Because Sensu
Enterprise will load the same configuration as Sensu Core, it is important that
the Sensu Core processes are stopped before starting Sensu Enterprise to avoid
known conflicts and processing errors such as attempting to bind on the same
Check execution scheduling
Check execution scheduling is performed by a Sensu server (see Sensu
server task election). Checks are scheduled by querying Sensu’s
configuration for defined checks – excluding check with the
"standalone": true or
"publish": false – and
calculating when executions should occur based on their defined
Check scheduling algorithm & synchronization
Sensu uses an internal algorithm for determining a unique “cadence” for Sensu
checks, which uniqueness is based on the check name and
algorithm outputs a value in milliseconds which the Sensu server will use as an
offset before the next check request should be published. In practice, this
means that – assuming system clocks are in sync between disparate Sensu
servers – check requests for a given check (based on the check name) will
be published at the exact same
time. The also means that in the event of a Sensu server restart and/or
Sensu server task re-election (i.e. if a new Sensu server is elected
to become reponsible for check execution scheduling), check execution
scheduling intervals will remain consistent.
In fact, because this algorithm is also shared by the Sensu client – which
provides decentralized check execution scheduling in the form of standalone
checks – a check defined on the Sensu server and a matching
standalone check defined on a Sensu client should also stay in sync with each
other (again assuming that system clocks are in sync, and the check names and
intervals are consistent).
The Sensu server provides a scalable event processor. Event processing involves conversion of check results into Sensu events, and then applying any defined event filters, event data mutators, and event handlers. All event processing happens on a Sensu server system.
The event processing workflow happens in the following order:
Event -> Filter -> Mutator -> Handler
Sensu’s event processing capabilities can be distributed among multiple Sensu servers in a Sensu cluster. For more information on configuring a Sensu cluster, please see Scaling Sensu (below).
Automated task election
The Sensu server processes (i.e.
sensu-enterprise) are designed to scale horizontally (i.e. by
adding systems). No additional configuration is required to run a
cluster of Sensu servers, other than the location of the
transport and data store. When Sensu servers start, they
participate in an election process to automatically distribute tasks.
A Sensu server may be elected for more than one task. A server task
can only run on one Sensu server at a time and will automatically
failover to another Sensu server in the event of a service failure or
All Sensu servers in a Sensu cluster monitor the state of task execution on a 10-second interval, automatically electing a new Sensu server for a task if the current one hasn’t confirmed execution in more than 30 seconds.
In a Sensu server cluster, responsibility for a distinct set of tasks is distributed amongst members of the cluster. The tasks only run on one Sensu server at a time and will automatically failover to another Sensu server in the event of a service failure or restart. When adding Sensu servers to a cluster, restarting the existing Sensu servers in the cluster will force a redistribution of tasks.
- Check request publisher. The Sensu server is responsible for publishing check requests to the transport for all configured checks. See check execution scheduling for more information.
- Client monitor. The Sensu server is responsible for monitoring the client registry and creating client keepalive events for stale clients.
- Check result monitor. The Sensu server is responsible for monitoring check results and creating TTL events for check results with expired check TTLs
- Check result aggregation pruning. The Sensu server is responsible for monitoring check aggregates and pruning stale aggregate results.
To observe which Sensu server is currently reponsible for one or more tasks, see API /info.