The Prometheus Node ExporterBlog

Node Exporter is one of the most important Prometheus exporters. But what does it do?


BY Julien Pivotto / ON Feb 18, 2023

Gathering CPU, memory, network and other resource usage at a machine level is crucial when monitoring an infrastructure.

In the Prometheus ecosystem, the Node Exporter is an official exporter that gathers and exports metrics from Linux and Unix-like machines, for monitoring with Prometheus.

It is written in Go, which makes it portable and single-binary, and uses mainly procfs, syscfs, and netlink kernel interfaces to collect metrics about the host machine.

The Node Exporter is designed to be used especially with Prometheus, which then scrapes the metrics and stores them in its time series database. That way, you see both the instant resource usage of your server, but also the historical data.

Typically, one would set up one Node Exporter per machine. It is easy to deploy and does not requires a privileged user to run. It runs as a normal, non-root user.

The node exporter is designed around a collectors system. Each of the collectors can be enabled or disabled by command line flags.

Importent Collectors

Some important collectors in the Node Exporter include:

  1. CPU Collector: Provides CPU usage statistics, which are essential for monitoring server performance.
  2. Memory Collector: Offers memory usage metrics, such as the amount of free memory, which can help you identify and fix memory-related issues.
  3. Diskstats Collector: Gives information on disk I/O statistics, such as read and write operations, which can help you identify storage bottlenecks.
  4. Filesystem Collector: Collects file system usage metrics, including the amount of free space, which is useful for disk space monitoring and capacity planning.
  5. Network Collector: Provides metrics on network activity, such as bytes transmitted and received, which can help you identify and fix network-related issues.
  6. Textfile Collector: Allows you to collect metrics from custom scripts or applications, which can help you track application-specific performance metrics.

Note that these are just a few examples, and the collectors that are essential to you may depend on your specific use case.

The Node Exporter is an essential tool for monitoring your Linux servers with Prometheus. If you want help monitoring your Linux environment with Prometheus, you can get in touch with us.


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