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Metric names and the metric dictionary

Often, the names associated with the metric data that Zenoss Cloud collects from your environment and applications are machine-generated, and their meanings are not obvious. Also, metric names vary considerably by source. For example:

Names like these are not enough to understand what their values represent. You may not know that sysUpTime_sysUpTime is measured in centiseconds (100/sec) or that k8s.cluster.memory.bytes is the total amount of memory used by all containers in a Kubernetes cluster.

The Zenoss Cloud metric dictionary includes replacements for many metric names and additional, contextual information that is more relevant to users. Zenoss Cloud relies on the metric dictionary for the following features:

  • Provide a display name or description for a metric.

    For example, display name Uptime for metric name uptime_sysUpTime.

  • Normalize the display of data points in graphs.

    For example, if the data points of a metric are collected and stored as milliseconds, convert them into seconds before displaying the data points in graphs.

  • Provide a label for the vertical axis of a metric's graph.

    For example, GB, IOIPs, or Percent.

  • Create guidelines for the minimum and maximum values of a metric's graph.

    If data points fall outside the minimum or maximum values you define, the metric's graph is automatically adjusted; data points are never discarded.

  • Associate arbitrary terms with a metric, for use in searches.

The Zenoss Cloud default metric dictionary includes hundreds of entries and new entries are added regularly.

How it works

Initially, the Zenoss Cloud default metric dictionary is your organization's effective metric dictionary. When you customize an existing entry in the default dictionary, your customized entry becomes the effective entry. Likewise, when you create a new entry for a metric that is not included in the default dictionary, your new entry becomes the effective entry for your organization.

You can revert your customization of an entry to the Zenoss default at any time and update your unique entries at any time, too.

How to use it

Zenoss Cloud always looks in the metric dictionary for information about metrics. If the dictionary contains information, Zenoss Cloud uses it when displaying metrics on Smart View pages and dashboards.

You can manage dictionary entries in context or in bulk:

Editing dictionary entries

The metric dictionary editor allows you to create or update the dictionary information of one entry. You can gain access to the editor through dashboards, Smart View or through the metric dictionary administration page.

Example editor dialog

The lower-left corner of the dialog includes one of two additional buttons in the following circumstances:

  • If the metric has a Zenoss default entry that you modified, the dialog includes a REVERT TO DEFAULT button.
  • If the metric has a custom entry and no Zenoss default entry, the dialog includes a DELETE button.

Dictionary fields

Field Description
Metric name

The name of the metric, assigned by the data source.

  • When you open the editor on a Smart View page or a dashboard, the Metric name field is read-only.
  • When you open the editor from the metric dictionary administration page, the Metric name field is a search field. The search scope includes all of the metrics associated with your organization, not just the metrics in the dictionary.
Metric label A short name for a metric. If provided, this name is used in place of the metric name.
Description A longer, free-form statement about a metric. The statement is used in hover text when the pointer is over the metric name or label.

Text identifying the data point units, used as the vertical axis label in graphs of the metric.

You can select from the units already defined in the dictionary or enter a new unit.

If the Scale factor field is used, this value should be the units that result from the conversion.

Convert The units received for a metric and the units to which data points are converted.
Scale factor

The multiplier in data point conversions. For example, 0.01.

Min value A guideline for the lowest possible value of data points in a graph: 0 for counters, 0 for percentages, and so on.
Max value A guideline for the highest possible value of data points in a graph: 100 for percentages, and so on.
Tags One or more arbitrary terms to associate with a metric.

Managing metric dictionary entries

Users with the Manager role can manage metric dictionary entries from the ADMIN > Metric Dictionary page.

Browsing and filtering entries

The metric dictionary administration page displays entries in rows and columns.

  • You can configure the rows per page and navigate the pages with the controls on the bottom-right side of the page:

  • You can filter entries by entering search terms at the top of a column:

  • You can filter entries globally by selecting the types of entries to display:

    Overridden entries include definitions you create, whether a Zenoss default exists or not.

Editing or adding entries

To edit an entry:

  1. Browse or use a filter to display the page that includes the entry to edit.
  2. In the Actions column, on the right side of the page, click the pencil icon.
  3. Use the metric dictionary editor to modify the entry, and then click SAVE.

To add an entry:

  1. At the top-right of the page, click ADD ITEM.
  2. Use the metric dictionary editor to create the entry, and then click SAVE.

When a dictionary entry includes both a Zenoss default definition and a definition created by you (a user in your organization), the row includes a control on the far left side.

You can use the control to display your definition and the Zenoss default definition side-by-side. In addition, the Actions column includes a trash can icon, for removing your definition and reverting to the Zenoss default.

Exporting entries

You can download the entries in the metric dictionary in several formats.

The download includes everything in the dictionary, regardless of filter settings.