Plugins glossary

Here is a glossary of terminology you may see when selecting plugins from Plugin Central or developing plugins with the New Relic Plugins product.

author

A person who creates a new plugin, which consists of a plugin agent and a matching plugin UI that are linked by their GUID. A plugin author may choose to publish the plugin (making it publicly available to New Relic Plugins users), thus becoming the plugin's publisher.

collector

The portion of New Relic that collects metric data from the plugin's agent so that the plugin's UI can show the collected data. New Relic runs the collector service as part of New Relic's product.

component

Also referred to as an instance. A component or instance may represent a host/port pair, a server in a cluster, a sub-group in a grouping, or some other fraction of your stack. The exact definition of "component" or "instance" can vary from plugin to plugin. All the components or instances monitored by a given plugin appear on the plugin's summary page.

Example: The F5 plugin monitors the F5 load balancers in your cluster. Each load balancer is listed in a separate row on the F5 plugin's summary page.

consumers

Individuals who sign in to New Relic and install plugins from Plugin Central. Also referred to as Users.

GUID (Globally Unique Identifier)

A unique alpha-numeric ID that identifies a given plugin, and forms the association between a plugin agent and that plugin's UI. Running a plugin agent with a new GUID causes a new plugin UI to appear in New Relic Plugins. GUIDs of published plugins cannot be changed.

instance

Also referred to as a component. A component or instance may represent a host/port pair, a server in a cluster, a sub-group in a grouping, or some other fraction of your stack. The exact definition of "component" or "instance" can vary from plugin to plugin. All the components or instances monitored by a given plugin appear on the plugin's summary page.

Example: The F5 plugin monitors the F5 load balancers in your cluster. Each load balancer is listed in a separate row on the F5 plugin's summary page.

metrics

Metric timeslice data collected by the plugin agent and stored in the database. Metrics consist of segments divided by a forward slash /. Each segment is interpreted for a specific purpose in the user interface and roughly follows this pattern:

prefix/category/label[units]

For example, the metric representing the latency of cache hits reported by a plugin collecting data for a cache appliance might look like this:

Component/Cache/Hits[sec|hit]
New Relic APM

New Relic, Inc.'s primary product: This is the service users sign up for at http://newrelic.com and sign into at https://rpm.newrelic.com.

NPI

The New Relic Platform Installer (NPI) is a command line utility that allows users to easily download, configure, and manage a plugin by installing it with a single command. If plugin developers follow the NPI requirements for a consistent installation experience, they can publish their plugins in Plugin Central as NPI Compatible.

platform

The New Relic Platform is a collection of specifications, sample code, and documentation that is used to expand New Relic's monitoring capability through plugins. The plugins use plugin agents to collect data, which is transmitted to New Relic, stored by New Relic, and presented through the plugin's UI in the New Relic Plugins product.

plugin

A plugin extends New Relic's capabilities by pairing a data reporter (agent) with a user interface (the plugin's summary page and dashboards) to present metrics.

plugin agent

The piece of code that runs on the user's premises (typically on hosts) or is run on the user's behalf by a SaaS provider. The plugin agent reports data to New Relic Plugins via the Plugin API.

Examples:

  • In order to use a plugin from New Relic Plugins, install the plugin agent on one or more hosts in your monitored environment.
  • The plugin agent communicates with one or more hosts to collect the data it sends to New Relic Plugins so that users can view the collected data on their plugin dashboard.
plugin API

An HTTP application programming interface (API) that accepts POSTing of metrics from plugin agents. For more information, see Plugin API specification.

Note: Using the Plugin API is not the same as using New Relic's REST API to extract plugin data.

Plugin Central

The directory of plugins that have been plugin publishers make available for users to select and use. To view Plugin Central: From the New Relic Plugins menu bar, select Plugins.

plugin UI

The plugin's user interface in New Relic Plugins, which always consists of a summary page with each component's (instance's) summary metrics, plus one or more plugin dashboards.

Examples:

  • You can view the data collected by the plugin agent through the plugin UI. Start at the plugin's summary page to see summary metrics for all of your components (instances), and then select any component (instance) to see charts and graphs in your plugin's dashboards.
  • A plugin UI may be updated to take advantage of new metrics available in an updated plugin agent.
publish

A function to make a plugin publicly available for other users to view and select from Plugin Central. A plugin must be published to be used by another New Relic account. Plugins that have not been published can be used only in the author's account. Plugin authors are not required to publish their plugins if they prefer to keep the plugin for their own, internal use.

publishers

Plugin authors who make their plugin publicly available in Plugin Central, so that other users can install and run the plugin agent, and view the data in the plugin UI.

SaaS plugin

Software as a Service (SaaS) providers can use the Plugin API to develop plugins that POST metrics on behalf of multiple users and potentially for multiple components or instances. New Relic's collector typically consumes each POST in less than 3ms, so this is a very fast way to send large amounts of metric data (either many metrics, or for many users, or both). For more information, see SaaS developer plugins.

Example: MyPaymentProcessor is a SaaS offering that runs a SaaS plugin on behalf of its users. To send your MyPaymentProcessor metrics to your New Relic account, simply add your New Relic REST API key to your MyPaymentProcessor settings, and MyPaymentProcessor will send metrics to your New Relic account.

SDK (Software Development Kit)

The New Relic Plugins product includes SDKs for individual agents for authors to create plugins easily. The plugin SDKs wrap the Plugin API, making it easier to define and send metrics to New Relic Plugins. Plugin authors can choose to use an SDK for their plugin agent, or they can develop plugin agents in whatever language they choose via the Plugin API.

summary metric

Each plugin can have up to five metrics that capture summary values, such as average, total, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, rate, or count. In addition, each summary metric can have thresholds for triggering Caution and Critical alerts. Only summary metrics can trigger alerts (not the metrics on individual dashboards). Summary metrics appear in the plugin's summary page in the Plugin UI.

Users

Individuals who sign in to New Relic Plugins and install plugins from Plugin Central. Also referred to as Consumers.

For more help

Additional documentation resources include Welcome to Plugin Central (overview of Plugin Central and how to search for and select a plugin).

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