The pmieconf file formats are used by the pmieconf(1) tool as a way
to generalize pmie(1) rule sets such that they can be easily
configured for different systems and different environments. There
are two completely different (although closely related) file formats
discussed here, namely ``pmieconf-rules'' and ``pmieconf-pmie''.
The directory $PCP_VAR_DIR/config/pmieconf contains information about
all the default system pmie generalized rules and variables,
including default values for all variables. These files are in the
pmieconf-rules format. Although new pmieconf-rules files can be
added, the files in this directory should never be changed. Instead,
use the pmieconf utility to change variable values in the pmie
The pmieconf-pmie format allows site specific customizations of the
rules contained in pmieconf-rules files and their associated
variables. The pmieconf-pmie format is generated by pmieconf and
should not be edited by hand. This generated file is in the pmie
format, with some additional information held at the head of the file
- thus, the pmieconf-pmie format is a superset of the pmie file
format (extended to hold customizations to the generalized rules, but
also containing the actual performance rules for pmie to evaluate)
which can also be parsed by pmie (all extensions are hidden within
comments, and are thus meaningless to pmie itself).
The file $PCP_VAR_DIR/config/pmieconf/config.pmie contains local
system settings for pmieconf configurable variables. The variable
settings in this file replace the default values specified in
All rule customization lines in a valid pmieconf-pmie specification
are prefixed by ``//'' and are located at the head of the file - this
allows files containing a pmieconf-pmie specification to be
successfully parsed by pmie. A pmieconf-pmie must always have the
first line in the form:
// pmieconf-pmie version pmieconf_path
The version specifies which version of the pmieconf-pmie syntax
should be used to parse this file. Currently the only supported
version is 1. The pmieconf_path specifies the path to the pmieconf-
rules files which were used, by pmieconf, to generate this file.
This is discussed in the pmieconf(1) man page (see the -r option).
The remainder of the specification consists of one line entries for
each of the modified variables. The syntax for each line is:
// rule_version rule_name rule_variable = value
The rule_version and rule_name are used to identify the rule with
which to associate the customization. These are followed by the
rule_variable name (i.e. the variable of rule rule_name which has
been changed) for which the new value is to be used.
A pmieconf-pmie specification must be terminated with the ``end''
keyword. This is used by pmieconf to distinguish where the
customizations ends, and the actual pmie rule component begins.
The following example is a valid pmieconf-pmie format file, as
generated by pmieconf. In order to make changes by hand which are
preserved by pmieconf, see the comments contained in the generated
file (below) as to where such changes should be made.
// pmieconf-pmie 1 $PCP_VAR_DIR/config/pmieconf
// 1 memory.exhausted delta = "4 minutes"
// 1 memory.exhausted enabled = yes
// 1 memory.exhausted pcplog_action = yes
// --- START GENERATED SECTION (do not change this section) ---
// generated by pmieconf on: [DATESTAMP]
// 1 memory.exhausted
delta = 4 minutes;
( avg_sample (swap.pagesout @0..9 ) ) > 0 &&
30 %_sample swap.pagesout >= 5
) -> shell 10 min "$PCP_BINADM_DIR/pmpost Severe demand for real memory" \
// --- END GENERATED SECTION (changes below will be preserved) ---
To see how this all works, you can generate this file as follows:
# cat - | pmieconf -f /tmp/pmieconf.out \
modify memory.exhausted delta "4 minutes"
modify memory.exhausted enabled yes
modify memory.exhausted pcplog_action yes
Then verify that the generated file is a valid pmie configuration
# pmie -C /tmp/pmieconf.out
This parses the file, and then exits after reporting any syntax
errors. Now replace -C with -v (above), and watch pmie do its work!
A pmieconf-rules specification consists of a number of separate data
objects which together form a complete rule specification (note that
a specification may span multiple files and even multiple
subdirectories). Each object must have an identifier string and a
data type, followed by an (optional) list of attributes.
The generic specification of a pmieconf-rules object is thus:
type identifier [ attribute = value ]* ;
The set of valid types is: "rule" (rule definition), "string"
(arbitrary, double-quote enclosed string), "double", "integer",
"unsigned", "percent" (real number between 0 and 100), "hostlist"
(space separated list of host names), "instlist" (space separated
list of metric instance names), and the four pmie action types,
namely "print", "shell", "alarm", and "syslog".
Rule names use the ``.'' character to introduce the concept of a rule
group, e.g. "memory.exhausted" associates this rule with the "memory"
group. pmieconf can operate at either the level of rule groups or
individual rules. The group name "global" is reserved and may not be
used with any rule.
Usually when an object is created it is associated with the current
rule. However, if an object's name is preceded by the reserved group
name "global", then that object is visible to all rules.
The set of valid attributes is: "help" (descriptive text about this
object), "modify" (value is yes/no, flags whether pmieconf should
allow changes), "enabled" (value is yes/no, flags whether this is on
or off - only meaningful for rules and actions), "display" (yes/no -
flags whether pmieconf should show this object), "default" (value
determined by type, and is the default value for this object), and
specific to objects of rule type are the "version", "predicate", and
"enumerate" attributes. "version" and "predicate" are fairly self
explanatory ("predicate" must equate to a valid pmie rule when
expanded), but "enumerate" requires further discussion.
The "enumerate" clause is useful when you wish to generate multiple,
similar pmie rules from a single predicate. This is most useful for
rule definitions wishing to use the "some_inst" clause in the pmie
language across multiple hosts. For a rule to use these together, it
must be certain that the instance list is the same on all of the
monitored hosts. This is rarely true, so the "enumerate" attribute
allows us to generate multiple rules, expanded over variables of
either type "instlist" or "hostlist". These variables make up the
value for the "enumerate" attribute - which is a space-separated list
of "instlist" or "hostlist" variable names.
Objects can be incorporated into other object definitions using the
$identifier$ syntax. See the example later for more insight into how
this is useful.
When pmieconf is generating the pmie configuration file, it looks at
each enabled rule with N enabled actions (where N > 0) and expands
// "version" identifier
delta = $delta$;
"predicate" -> $threshold$ $action1$ & ... & $actionN$ ;
The delta, threshold, and action variables are defined globally
(using the "global" keyword) for all rules, but can, of course, be
changed at the level of an individual rule or rule group.
The following is an example of a single pmieconf-rules specification,
showing a number of different aspects of the language discussed
above. The example defines a rule ("memory.exhausted") and a string
default = "$rule$"
( avg_sample (swap.pagesout $hosts$ @0..9 ) ) > 0 &&
$pct$ %_sample swap.pagesout $hosts$ @0..9 >= $threshold$
enabled = yes
version = 1
"The system is swapping modified pages out of main memory to the
swap partitions, and has been doing this on at least pct of the
last 10 evaluations of this rule.
There appears to be insufficient main memory to meet the resident
demands of the current workload.";
default = "Severe demand for real memory"
modify = no
display = no;
Note that for the above rule to be complete, "threshold" and "pct"
would also need to be defined - for the full expression of this rule,
refer to $PCP_VAR_DIR/config/pmieconf/memory/exhausted.
generalized system resource monitoring rules
default super-user settings for system resource monitoring
default user settings for system resource monitoring rules
This page is part of the PCP (Performance Co-Pilot) project.
Information about the project can be found at ⟨http://www.pcp.io/⟩.
If you have a bug report for this manual page, send it to
email@example.com. This page was obtained from the project's upstream
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Performance Co-Pilot PCP PMIECONF(5)