Plugin summary metrics and dashboards

Limited access

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Limited access to legacy plugins

As of December 2, 2020, plugin access is limited to accounts that have accessed a plugin in the past 30 days. We will provide access to add plugins on a per-account basis. If you’d like to continue to use plugins for your accounts, please contact your New Relic account team, and we will work with you on a per-account situation.

The plugin experience will reach end of life (EoL) in June 2021. For more information, see our Explorers Hub post.

Plugin summary metrics

Each component or instance for your plugin in Plugin Central can have summary metrics, such as average, total, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, rate, or count. The summary metrics appear on your plugin's Summary page in the Plugins user interface. The summary metric dashboards are also useful as a debugging tool to review all of the metrics sent by your plugin agent to New Relic.

To view dashboard details about any component or instance, select any summary metric value for it. You can also change various plugin settings in the UI.

When you first create a summary metric for your plugin, this triggers a change to New Relic's collectors. This may cause your running components (instances) to stop showing summary metrics for a short period of time.

For example, if you add a new summary metric to your plugin, any components (instances) you are monitoring that use that plugin may have all summary metrics temporarily cleared. This will also close any outstanding related events and alerts. Depending on the components and other factors, you may need to wait fifteen minutes or more before summary metrics appear again.

Add summary metrics

To add a summary metric:

  1. Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, and select your plugin.
  2. From the plugin's Summary page, select Edit.
  3. From the Summary metrics section of the plugin's editing page, select Add.

If your plugin contains only one summary metric, you can identify the metric in the chart's title and then hide the legend (colored bars that label the metrics) that normally appears below the chart. Also, if you define negative metric values, the charts on your plugin's dashboards will not show them. However, the summary metrics for your plugin will show negative values.

Optional: Add alert summary metrics

Plugin publishers and users can define alert conditions from the plugin's Summary page by selecting the component's or instance's settings icon. The alerts will be activated when the summary metric's specified values fall above the thresholds.

The Recent events list for the plugin's components (instances) appears on the plugin's Summary page. To view additional details about an alert, select its name.

Sometimes there may be a delay between the time that a summary metric event is triggered and the time that New Relic creates the corresponding incident and sends the alert notification. There are several timing mechanisms at work, such as collector caching, summary metric event timing, delayed job queues, email delivery, etc. Depending on the situation, this delay could be up to ten or fifteen minutes before the alert notification is sent.

Time periods for metrics

Metrics that appear in dashboards are reported with a duration. The end time is implied by the time New Relic receives the metrics. This is why you cannot define metric values that both start and end in the future, or start and end in the past.

The Plugin API is designed for live metrics only, not historical metric collection. Metrics may only be reported for a period starting in the past (no more than a few hours) and ending upon reporting.

The charts on your plugin's dashboards can show various time periods. You can also deliver data at one-hour intervals.

New Relic does not extrapolate data values between the data points delivered. For example, New Relic aggregates when there is too much data, but it does not extrapolate if there is not enough data. In order for data to appear on a 30-minute chart, make sure at least one data point is within the range, or no data will appear.

Recommendation: Use a 60-second polling interval. Default dashboards show 30 minutes of data, which gives 30 data points for the chart. Or, if you want to show 3 days of data, use a 1-hour polling interval, which provides 24*3=72 data points for your chart.

Plugin dashboards

You can create dashboards to visualize the data generated by your plugins in New Relic. You must be a plugin author or publisher to add, edit, and delete dashboards. Plugin users cannot customize the plugin dashboards they acquire from Plugin Central.

View the default dashboard

New plugins automatically include a default dashboard. Once your plugin agent starts sending data to New Relic's Plugin API, you can view the default dashboard in New Relic's UI and change it as needed.

To view the default dashboard for your plugin:

  1. Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, and select your plugin.
  2. From the plugin's Summary page, select a component (instance).
Add dashboards

In addition to the default dashboard, you can create as many additional dashboards for your plugin as you want. After you publish your plugin, all of these dashboards and summary metrics are available to plugin users.

The customized dashboards that display plugin data are part of the plugin. Plugin users cannot add their own dashboards. This needs to be done by the author or publisher as part of a plugin fork or update.

To create additional dashboards:

  1. Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, and select your plugin.
  2. From the plugin's summary page, select Edit.
  3. From the Dashboards section of the plugin's editing page, select Add.
  4. Specify a title for your dashboard, select a page layout, then select Create.
  5. From the new dashboard page, type a label for the new chart or table, and then select Add chart or table.
  6. Edit the chart, including the case-sensitive metrics (for example, a metric name you see in the agent output, such as Component/SIN[Value]) and value (for example, Total value). To use additional options (for example, number format), select Advanced options.
  7. Optional: Use a wildcard (*) to show multiple metrics on a chart. For example, to include the metric component/foo/bar and the metric component/foo/xyz, use the metric name component/foo/*.f
  8. Select Save and Preview to preview the chart or table. Or, select Save and finish when you are satisfied with the appearance of the chart or table.

Review the new chart that appears on the customized dashboard, and continue adding, editing, or rearranging charts and tables on your dashboard as needed. When finished, select I'm done editing.

Avoid metric grouping problems

Wildcards provide flexibility for how your metric names appear. When creating a chart, consider whether you want the metric names to appear with identical namespace segments, or include a wildcard to strip the namespace segments. For example:

  Component/Database/Metric1
  Component/Database/Metric2
  Component/Database/Metric3

OR

  Metric1
  Metric2
  Metric3

To prevent problems with metric grouping issues, avoid defining values that result in excessively large numbers. For example, if a plugin's chart value is 1 widget and New Relic collects 3 million widgets, change the value to 1 million widgets so that the chart can show millions of widgets more efficiently. Also, avoid creating high-precision values containing many digits after a decimal point.

Change or delete dashboards

To update or remove any plugin dashboard, including the default:

  1. Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, and select your plugin.
  2. From the plugin's summary page, select Edit.

Keep a stable production version of your plugin that users can acquire from Plugin Central, and create a development version that you are actively improving, testing, browsing the presentation of metrics on your custom dashboard, or otherwise have in a non-production state.

Plugin settings

You can change several plugin settings before you publish the plugin. You can also make changes at any time to published plugins.

Initial settings

Before you publish your plugin, you can:

  • Select a generic plugin icon for the Plugins UI. This is not the same as the URL for your customized branding image you may choose as part of the publishing process.
  • Change your plugin's label for the Plugins UI. By default, this is the first 11 characters of the plugin's Title field.
  • Change your plugin's title. The default title is your plugin's GUID.
  • Add, change, or delete your plugin's summary metrics and their alert conditions.
  • Add, change, or delete your plugin's dashboards. Exception: You can edit but you cannnot delete your plugin's default dashboard.

To add, change, or delete plugin settings:

  1. Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, and select your plugin.
  2. From the plugin's Summary page, select Edit.

When finished, be sure to save your changes.

Additional updates

After you publish your plugin, you can continue making changes. Recommendation: To avoid development and testing impacts on your users, maintain development and production versions.

To make additional updates to your plugin:

  1. Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, and select your plugin.
  2. From your plugin's Summary page, select Edit, Publish, or your component's (instance's) settings icon as applicable.
  3. Update the settings as needed, and then save your changes.
  4. When you are ready to release this version: Go to one.newrelic.com > More > Plugins, select your plugin, and then select Publish.

Here is a summary of where to view or make changes to your plugin.

Type of change Edit Publish Settings
Agent: Change the plugin's version (n/a in UI).
Alert conditions, customized for components (instances) [check icon]
Alert conditions, defaults for summary metrics [check icon]
Branding image (URL) that appears in Plugin Central [check icon]
Components (instances): Remove from your plugin [check icon]
Dashboards: Add, edit, delete [check icon]
Description [check icon]
Developer Terms of Service [check icon]
Icon that appears in the Plugins UI [check icon]
Name for plugin (label) in the Plugins UI [check icon]
Name for plugin (title) in Plugin Central [check icon]
NPI Compatible designation [check icon]
Publisher's name [check icon]
Summary metrics: Add, edit, delete [check icon]
URL for installation and setup instructions [check icon]
URL for your support site [check icon]
URL for your website ("About us") [check icon]

For more help

If you need more help, check out these support and learning resources: