BlockPi HyperNode— setting up monitoring (w/ Grafana and Prometheus)

For a good administration of a validator node in any blockchain, a must is keeping the uptime to a maximum to provide a good staking service and helping make the blockchain run rock solid (or could we say block solid?).

So using monitoring and alerting that tracks your node performance are just a must. Nowadays the standard tools for that are: Prometheus for gathering metrics and Grafana for creating fancy usefull panels and sending alerts. In this article we’ll try to explain that for a BlockPI Hypernode (now on testnet).

Installing Prometeus

We are installing it on an Linux Ubuntu Server running on a Raspberry Pi 4. We choose a Raspberry Pi 4 as our Prometheus/Grafana server that holds all the dashboards for our nodes, because it’s quite powerfull in terms of processor for being such a low energy comsuming device.

Let’s go with the commands to achieve the installation.

  1. - Create user for Prometheus

sudo groupadd — system prometheus
sudo useradd -s /sbin/nologin — system -g prometheus prometheus
sudo mkdir /var/lib/prometheus
for i in rules rules.d files_sd; do sudo mkdir -p /etc/prometheus/${i}; done

2.- Update the system

sudo apt update
sudo apt -y install wget curl vim
mkdir -p /tmp/prometheus && cd /tmp/prometheus

3.- Download Prometheus for your server OS architecture (ARM for our case with the Raspberry Pi 4)

# download for ARM
curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/prometheus/prometheus/releases/latest | grep browser_download_url | grep linux-armv7 | cut -d ‘“‘ -f 4 | wget -qi -

# download for AMD
curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/prometheus/prometheus/releases/latest | grep browser_download_url | grep linux-amd64 | cut -d ‘“‘ -f 4 | wget -qi -

4.- Install the binary and create config file

tar xvf prometheus*.tar.gz
cd prometheus*/
sudo mv prometheus promtool /usr/local/bin/

prometheus — version
promtool — version

sudo mv prometheus.yml /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml

5.- Create a service file for handling Prometheus execution

sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/prometheus.service<<EOF
[Unit]
Description=Prometheus
Documentation=https://prometheus.io/docs/introduction/overview/
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target

[Service]
Type=simple
User=prometheus
Group=prometheus
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP \$MAINPID
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/prometheus \
— config.file=/etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml \
— storage.tsdb.path=/var/lib/prometheus \
— web.console.templates=/etc/prometheus/consoles \
— web.console.libraries=/etc/prometheus/console_libraries \
— web.listen-address=0.0.0.0:9090 \
— web.external-url=

SyslogIdentifier=prometheus
Restart=always

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
EOF

6.- Change directory permissions

for i in rules rules.d files_sd; do sudo chown -R prometheus:prometheus /etc/prometheus/${i}; done
for i in rules rules.d files_sd; do sudo chmod -R 775 /etc/prometheus/${i}; done
sudo chown -R prometheus:prometheus /var/lib/prometheus/

7.- Enable and start the service

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start prometheus
sudo systemctl enable prometheus

systemctl status prometheus

8.- Secure the service

sudo ufw allow 9090/tcp
sudo ufw enable

Check the access, browse to the server IP with port 9090, for us http://192.168.1.60:9090/

9.- Now that it’s running and accessible we configure it

vim /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
->

scrape_configs:
# The job name is added as a label `job=<job_name>` to any timeseries scraped from this config.

# Default prometheus job
— job_name: “prometheus”
static_configs:
— targets: [“localhost:9090”]

# BlockPI node job (getting data from the BlockPI exporter)
- job_name: “prometheus_blockpi”
metrics_path: /node/metrics
static_configs:
— targets: [‘82.223.55.221:8899’]
labels:
instance: ‘BlockPi’

# BlockPI Node Exporter job (getting data from the Linux exporter)
— job_name: “prometheus_blockpi_linux”
static_configs:
— targets: [‘82.223.55.221:9100’]
labels:
instance: ‘BlockPi’

As you may have noticed we’ve used 2 jobs one for the BlockPI hypernode metrics itself (port 8899) and another one for the common Node Exporter to get metrics from our server hardware and processes, that we’ll setup in brief (port 9100).

After having set the config up, we can check our config with the following command.

promtool check config /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml

Installing Node Exporter for Linux monitoring

The Prometheus exporter is installed on the machine we want to monitor so we need to connect via SSH to the server and execute the commands of this section on it.

  1. - Set user

sudo whoami
sudo groupadd prometheus
sudo useradd — system -s /sbin/nologin -g prometheus prometheus

2.- Set firewall rules for both exporters (node exporter and blockpi hypernode)

sudo ufw allow 9100/tcp

sudo ufw allow 8899/tcp

3.- Install Node Exporter binary

wget -q https://github.com/prometheus/node_exporter/releases/download/v1.3.1/node_exporter-1.3.1.linux-amd64.tar.gz
sudo tar — strip-components=1 -xf node_exporter-1.3.1.linux-amd64.tar.gz -C /usr/local/bin/
sudo chown -R root: /usr/local/bin/

4.- Create a service for handling it’s execution

sudo vim /etc/systemd/system/node_exporter.service

[Unit]
Description=Prometheus Node Exporter
Documentation=https://github.com/prometheus/node_exporter
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target

[Service]
Type=simple
User=prometheus
Group=prometheus
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/node_exporter \
— collector.cpu \
— collector.diskstats \
— collector.filesystem \
— collector.loadavg \
— collector.meminfo \
— collector.filefd \
— collector.netdev \
— collector.stat \
— collector.netstat \
— collector.systemd \
— collector.uname \
— collector.vmstat \
— collector.time \
— collector.tcpstat \
— collector.hwmon \
— collector.arp \
— web.max-requests=40 \
— web.listen-address=0.0.0.0:9100 \
— web.telemetry-path=/metrics

SyslogIdentifier=prometheus
Restart=always

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

5.- After saving the service file, you should enable and start the service

sudo chown -R root: /etc/systemd/system/node_exporter.service
sudo chmod 0644 /etc/systemd/system/node_exporter.service

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable node_exporter
sudo systemctl start node_exporter
sudo systemctl status node_exporter

That’s it! Our node exporter should be running, you could also check another interesting exporter in case you need more metrics than the ones provided by the Node Exporter. Search for Prometheus Linux process exporter, the installation should be quite similar to the one we just did for the Node Exporter.

As we configured in the previous section our Prometheus config rules for the Node Exporter service, our Prometheus server sould be gathering all the data from BlockPI hypernode server.

BlokcPI a very interesting blockchain project providing multi-chain RPC decentralization.

Checking Prometheus Installation

To check that the installation has gone right, we can visit with the browser our Prometheus server. In our case, we visit:

http://192.168.1.60:9090/targets#pool-blockpi-node

We can see our exporters (BlokcPi and Linux Node exporters) are up and running.

If we click on the blockpi-node endpoint we’ll access to the metrics exposed by the BlockPI hypernode exporter. You can being thinking on which ones are interesting for your Grafana dashboard.

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Grafana Installation and Setup

Grafana is the a tool that connect to many types of external datasources (Prometheus included), fetch data from those and build powerfull dashboards that display our metrics in a usefull way (is better to whatch charts and graphics to represent our data, than too read machine cryptic logs)

1.- Install Grafana server

For the installation of Grafana we’ll refer you to the official guides, to avoid reinventing the wheel and not making this article huge.

Once installed we’ll be able to connect to the server and log-in into it. In our case we should visit with our browser the following url http://192.168.1.60:3000/login

By the way we are installing our grafana server in the same Raspberry Pi 4 we used for our Prometheus server.

2.- Configure the Prometheus data source

For that we’ll need to click on the configuration (the gear icon on the left menu navigation bar), and click on the “Add data source” afterwards.

In the following step select the Prometheus data source.

In the following page we need to set a name for our data source and the url of our Prometheus server, as we have installed it in the same machine it’s accessible on http://localhost:8899

We can explore and play around with the many options it has, but we leave that on your side. Once configured it should appear in the Config data sources web page.

3.- Create a Dashboard

Now that our Grafana server has access to the cool metrics from BlockPI hypernode and Node exporters, we can build a dashboard with our needs. There are infinite ways to do this, but the fastest way is to reuse one of your dashboards, or search for dashboards available (there are tons of them).

For this tutorial we’re letting you download our own dashboard, that you can download as a json file, from our Gitlab repo.

Once downloaded you need to import it in your Grafana website by clicking the import option in the dashboard icon located on the left sidebar menu. Then you can add the json file by clicking on the “Upload JSON file” button or by copy/pasting the content of the json file in the “Import via panel json” textarea field.

4.- Access to your BlockPI hypernode dashboard

Now you can access to your dashboard and watch all that fancy BlockPI node metrics, play around a bit with it, and tweak it to your needs.

Blockscope, BlokcPI Hypernode dashboard

And that’s it for today’s tutorial, we hope it’s helpful for you to setup your BlockPI Hypernode monitoring. And stay tuned to BlockPI project because it’s a very interesting and strong one in the crypto space; RPC’s are key in blockchain infrastructure for developing web3 distributed dApps, so we expect a bright future for BlockPI project as providers of multi-chain distributed RPC’s (by now this networks are gonna be supported: Near, Polkadot, Polygon, Solana, Kusama, Flow, Hecco, KCC, and more to come soon).

By now check their website and see what their team is up to.

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Blockscope

Blockscope

We're a company of Blockchain passionate individuals that aim to help decentralize the world while having fun with technology.