Monitoring Disk Space

In 2016, the Chef Support Team marked 147 tickets as being related to inadequate disk space. That’s about one ticket every two days. When your system is out of capacity, usually your system is down. It’s hard to deliver applications at velocity when you’re offline.

It may sound silly to dedicate a blog post to disk space but when our customers are deep in the weeds of digital transformation, this basic consideration sometimes gets forgotten.

You’ve gotta have disk space. Without it, the Chef server crashes to a halt. If you want your Reporting server to work, you need disk space. That /tmp directory giving you problems? You’re going to wish you’d allocated more disk space.

So this is just a reminder, while you’re doing all the hard things like working on a new cookbook, or setting up compliance profiles, or convincing a co-worker not to make a change with root, to keep in mind this simple but important rule:

Monitor your disk space to ensure that disks don’t fill up or exceed their quota.

Without proactive monitoring and alerting you can expect to have problems, particularly when:

  • The Chef server has Reporting installed but auto-pruning is disabled.
  • The Chef server has no cap on the Analytics RabbitMQ queue.
  • There is a too little  disk capacity left in /var or for the log files.

For details on how to keep the Chef server healthy, visit our docs page on data storage. It describes what you should monitor for signs that disks may be filling up.

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Jeremy Werkau

Jeremy runs the Support team at Chef. He’s spent the last 18 years leading IT, Ops and Support teams and is no stranger to the odd 2 AM page! He has a strong commitment to customer success and enjoys geeking out whenever possible.