Why we used open-source software to build Cockpit, our observability product

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Kai Katschthaler
4 min read

Cockpit, our new observability product, will help you monitor your infrastructure and applications. It’s a comprehensive, fully-managed solution to store, monitor, and get alerts for all your metrics and logs.

Cockpit is built using open-source software. 💜 And it’s multi-cloud as well — meaning you can monitor all your resources in one place, whether they’re Scaleway resources or from other cloud providers.

What observability does and why it’s important

Cloud infrastructure can be highly complex, with multiple interconnected services, servers, databases, and other components. Staying on top of what’s happening — and finding out what’s wrong if something isn’t happening the way it’s supposed to — isn’t always easy.

Observability gives you insight into the behavior and performance of these components, through logs or metrics, for example, and lets you detect issues and identify their root causes. It gives you information from under the hood, so to speak.

What you can do with Scaleway Cockpit

With Cockpit, which you can now find under Observability in the side menu on your Scaleway Console, you can:

  • Monitor your applications and their infrastructure (both on Scaleway and external)
  • Save all logs and metrics from your resources
  • Monitor logs and metrics and visualize them through a Grafana dashboard

The best way to make smart decisions about your infrastructure is to have the full picture of what’s going on. You don’t want to have to check in various different places and then piece the clues together to find out what is happening.

This is why Cockpit is multi-cloud by design. You can monitor your infrastructure and all your applications in one place, even if you have parts of it hosted elsewhere, managing the connection using APIs and tokens.

A Cockpit instance is always associated with a specific Project and provides you with two Remote Write endpoints to push metrics and logs. You can then visualize all your information through a dedicated Grafana dashboard.

Here’s what one of our customers who tried Cockpit in the public beta had to say:

Cockpit is a Swiss army knife observability solution. It’s easy to set up, and we use it to monitor the performance of our connected houses. We now have a clear view of all our resources in one space and can ensure that everything works smoothly. Price is clear and easy to predict.

Why we chose to use open-source software

Cockpit is built using various available open-source tools. We rely heavily on Grafana for monitoring, Grafana Loki for logs ingestion, and Grafana Mimir for metrics ingestion.

We chose to use open-source software in our observability product for many reasons. For one, we love open-source here at Scaleway. 💜 We use a lot of open-source tools in our tech stack across our tools and products, and we support open-source projects whenever possible.

At the same time, open source comes with many advantages and benefits for our customers as well. Our use of open-source tools makes it possible for you to push whatever metrics or logs you want to push to your Cockpit, even from other cloud providers, as long as you configure it on your other provider.

Push metrics with any Prometheus Remote Write-compatible agent, e.g., Prometheus, Grafana, OpenTelemetry Collector, etc. Push logs with any Loki-compatible agent, e.g., Promtail, Fluentd, Fluent Bit, Logstash, etc. Cockpit allows you to push, query, or remove all your data without risking being locked in a proprietary ecosystem.

Another great thing about implementing existing open-source software is that you’re likely already familiar with these tools. So you don’t have to budget for a massive learning curve to get your observability up and running.

Getting started with Scaleway Cockpit

If you already have experience with observability tools, using Scaleway Cockpit will come naturally to you, allowing you to bring all your monitoring into one place and have everything at your fingertips. But you absolutely, definitely do not have to be a monitoring and logging expert to use it!

Cockpit offers a pain-free start into observability since it’s fully managed, has a user-friendly UI/UX, and doesn’t require additional configuration efforts from you. You can just… start using it. 🤷

It’s as straightforward as activating Cockpit for your project, and in just a few steps, you can start sending your metrics and logs to your dashboard. Our Cockpit Quickstart Guide can walk you through it step by step.

And it’s totally up to you whether you want to monitor just your Scaleway infrastructure, your Scaleway infrastructure and applications, or even add in resources from other cloud providers.

And by the way, monitoring your Scaleway infrastructure sources is, of course, included for free in your Scaleway account. For all other options, check out the Cockpit landing page on our website.

What’s next?

Now that Cockpit has launched, we’ll have more blog posts on the topic soon. For example, if you’re into the deeply technical stuff, you can look forward to our Observability Team telling you everything about how they developed and built Cockpit.

We’ll also show you some use cases to give you a feeling for the many ways you can set up observability in a way that suits you.

And then we’ll tackle the big scary topic of pricing 😨 when it comes to observability. The pricing models for Observability-as-a-Service products can be quite complex, so we’ll give you some advice for navigating the market by helping you better understand what you need and should be monitoring.

So, stay tuned. Or, you know, monitor this blog closely 😉

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