AWS, Cloud Computing, DevOps, Kubernetes

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System Monitoring Made Easy with Metricbeat


In today’s fast-paced digital world, monitoring the health and performance of your systems is crucial for ensuring the smooth operation of your applications and services.

Metricbeat, an open-source data shipper from the Elastic Stack, is a powerful tool that helps you collect, analyze, and visualize system and application metrics in real-time.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of Metricbeat, exploring its features, installation, configuration, and usage step by step.


Metricbeat is a lightweight, open-source shipper that collects and sends various system and application metrics to different outputs. It is part of the Elastic Stack (formerly the ELK Stack). It is designed to work seamlessly with Elasticsearch and Kibana for storing, analyzing, and visualizing the collected data.

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Key Features

  • Wide range of modules for different systems and applications (e.g., Docker, Apache, MySQL).
  • Real-time metric collection.
  • Low resource consumption.
  • Easily extensible and customizable.
  • Integration with Elasticsearch and Kibana for data visualization.
  • Supports multiple outputs, including Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kafka, and more.


  • Prerequisites: Before installing Metricbeat, ensure that you have the following prerequisites in place:

A system running a supported operating system (Linux, Windows, macOS).

A running instance of Elasticsearch and Kibana (if you intend to use them for data storage and visualization).

  • Download and Install Metricbeat:

Visit the Elastic website to download the Metricbeat package suitable for your operating system.

Follow the installation instructions for your specific platform, which are well-documented in the official documentation.

Starting Metricbeat: After installation, you can start Metricbeat using the following command:


Metricbeat’s configuration is essential for tailoring its behavior to your specific needs.

  • Metricbeat Modules: Metricbeat provides various modules designed to collect metrics from specific sources. You can turn modules on or off as needed. Modules simplify configuration by providing predefined settings for common data sources.
  • Metricbeat Configuration Files: Metricbeat uses YAML configuration files to define settings for modules, outputs, and other options. The primary configuration file is usually named metricbeat.yml. You can find this file in the Metricbeat installation directory or specify a different location using the -c flag.


  • Overview of Available Modules: Metricbeat ships with a wide array of modules, ranging from system metrics (e.g., CPU, memory) to application-specific metrics (e.g., MySQL, Nginx). These modules simplify collecting data from different sources by providing pre-configured settings.
  • Enabling and Disabling Modules: To enable or disable a module, modify the metricbeat.modules section in the configuration file. For example, to enable the Apache module:
  • Configuring Module-specific Settings: Each module may have specific configuration options. Refer to the Metricbeat documentation for your chosen module to understand the available settings and how to customize them.
  • AWS Metricbeat Module: Metricbeat provides an AWS module that allows you to collect metrics from Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources. To enable the AWS module, add the following to your configuration file:
  • Redis Metricbeat Module: The Metricbeat Redis module helps you monitor your Redis instances. To enable the Redis module, add the following to your configuration file:
  • System Metricbeat Module: The System module is enabled by default and collects various system-level metrics. You can configure it as follows:

Data Shipping

  • Ship Metrics to Elasticsearch: Metricbeat is configured to ship data to Elasticsearch by default. Ensure that your Elasticsearch cluster is running and accessible, and configure the Elasticsearch output settings in the Metricbeat configuration file.
  • Ship Metrics to Other Outputs: Metricbeat can send data to other outputs like Logstash, Kafka, or files. Configure the output settings accordingly in the configuration file.

Visualizing Data

  • Integrating Metricbeat with Kibana: To visualize the collected metrics, integrate Metricbeat with Kibana. Configure Kibana settings in the Metricbeat configuration file, including the Kibana host.
  • Creating Dashboards and Visualizations: Kibana allows you to create dashboards and visualizations using the data collected by Metricbeat. Use the Kibana interface to design custom dashboards or import pre-built ones Elastic provides.

Advanced Configuration

  • Customizing Metricbeat: Advanced users can customize Metricbeat by modifying the configuration file to meet specific requirements. This includes defining additional data processors, using conditional processing, and more.
  • Security Considerations: When dealing with sensitive data or production environments, secure your Metricbeat installation and communication channels. Utilize encryption and authentication mechanisms as needed.

Monitoring Your Infrastructure

  • Real-life Use Cases: Metricbeat can be used for various use cases, such as monitoring server performance, tracking application metrics, and identifying issues in your infrastructure. Here are some real-life use cases for Metricbeat:
  • Server Performance Monitoring: Use Metricbeat’s system module to monitor CPU usage, memory utilization, network activity, and disk I/O of your servers. This data can help you detect performance bottlenecks and optimize resource allocation.
  • Application Performance Monitoring: Metricbeat modules like Apache, Nginx, MySQL, and Redis allow you to monitor the performance of web servers, databases, and caching systems. Track response times, request and error rates, and more to ensure your applications run smoothly.
  • Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring: Leverage Metricbeat’s AWS module to monitor AWS resources such as Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon S3 buckets, and more. Monitor resource utilization, network traffic, and billing metrics to optimize your AWS infrastructure.
  • Container Orchestration Monitoring: Using container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes or Docker Swarm, Metricbeat can help you collect metrics about container health, resource usage, and orchestration-specific data.
  • Security and Anomaly Detection: Metricbeat can be configured to collect security-related metrics, such as login attempts, firewall logs, and intrusion detection system (IDS) alerts. You can use this data to detect and respond to security incidents.
  • Custom Application Metrics: Metricbeat’s flexibility allows you to collect custom application metrics by defining your metricsets and configurations. This is useful for monitoring proprietary applications or services.


Metricbeat simplifies collecting, analyzing, and visualizing system and application metrics, making it an indispensable tool for maintaining healthy and performant systems. By following the steps outlined in this guide, including the use of AWS, Redis, and System modules, you can harness the power of Metricbeat to gain valuable insights into your infrastructure and ensure the smooth operation of your services. Monitoring made easy with Metricbeat is just a few configurations away.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Metricbeat and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. What is Metricbeat?

ANS: – Metricbeat is an open-source data shipper that collects and sends system and application metrics to various outputs for analysis and visualization.

2. How can I monitor AWS resources with Metricbeat?

ANS: – You can monitor AWS resources by enabling the AWS module in Metricbeat and configuring your AWS credentials and desired metricsets in the Metricbeat configuration file.

WRITTEN BY Dharshan Kumar K S

Dharshan Kumar is a Research Associate at CloudThat. He has a working knowledge of various cloud platforms such as AWS, Microsoft, ad GCP. He is interested to learn more about AWS's Well-Architected Framework and writes about them.



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