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How to create custom dashboards with NGINX Amplify

NGINX is a powerful, flexible web server and Amplify enables you to create custom dashboards for monitoring specific aspects of your server. Jack Wallen shows you how.

Image: Jack Wallen

NGINX Amplify is set to revolutionize how your monitor your NGINX-powered web servers. It's an amazing tool, developed for a server that is seeing an exponential rise in popularity. If you need a simple way to monitor your NGINX servers, Amplify is your tool.

One of the best features of NGINX Amplify is the at-a-glance dashboard for your servers. Out of the box, the default Amplify Dashboard will keep you apprised of connections, requests, errors, workers, and more. Even better, is that you can create custom dashboards for each monitored server, that will keep check on such metrics as:

  • Containers
  • CPUs
  • Memory
  • Cache
  • Connections
  • Requests
  • Status
  • Responses
  • Workers
  • Processes
  • And so much more

Dashboards can be created from pre-configured sets, individual graphs, or values. With this ability to create customized dashboards, Amplify becomes a must-use tool for any NGINX administrator.

I want to walk you through the process of creating a custom dashboard. I will assume you have your NGINX up and running and Amplify monitoring your server.

SEE: Web server configuration and management policy (Tech Pro Research)

Creating a dashboard from a set

We'll create a dashboard based on a preconfigured set and then customize it. This makes adding a new dashboard very easy. To do this, log into your Amplify Dashboard and then click the dashboard drop-down at the top of the screen. Click CREATE DASHBOARD. In the resulting window (Figure A), give the dashboard a name and click New Set.

Figure A

Creating a new Dashboard from a set.

There are five graph sets to choose from ( Figure B):

  • Key NGINX metrics
  • Performance
  • Response codes
  • System CPU/Memory metrics
  • System network traffic metrics

Figure B

Selecting from the preconfigured graphs.

Select the graph set that best suits your needs and then, when prompted, select the host to be monitored. Click the Create button and the new dashboard will be created and start immediately monitoring, according to the selected metrics ( Figure C). Make sure to click the Done button when you are happy with your dashboard.

Figure C

Your new Dashboard is working.

SEE: Server deployment/migration checklist (TechRepublic)

A necessary NGINX server configuration

Just because you created a dashboard from a set doesn't mean you can't customize that dashboard. Say, for example, you've selected the graph set System metrics - CPU, memory, load average and you want to add a new graph to the set. Before you can do this, you will need to take care of a configuration on your NGINX server. Log into that server and open the file /etc/amplify-agent/agent.conf in your text editor of choice. Look for the section:

[listener_syslog-default]
address =

And change it to:

[listener_syslog-default]
​address = 127.0.0.1:13579

Now you must restart the Amplify agent, so that it may parse the new configuration, with the command:

sudo service amplify-agent restart

At this point, you should now be able to add graphs and values to your dashboards.

Adding a graphs and values to a dashboard

From within that newly created dashboard, click New Graph. In the resulting window ( Figure D), give the graph a title, select the option from the Metric drop-down you wish to add, select the server to pull the metric from (this option will appear after you've selected a metric), and click Save. You can add as many metrics to this graph as you like (by clicking Add another metric, before you click Save).

Figure D

Adding a new graph to your custom Dashboard.

The new graph will immediately be added to your dashboard and being pulling data.

Values can also be added to your dashboard. These values are added in the same fashion as are graphs. Click the New Value button, give the value a title, select the option from the Metric drop-down, select the server to pull data from, click the checkbox for Realtime data ( Figure E), and then click Save.

Figure E

Adding a new value to your custom Amplify Dashboard.

When you've finished added graphs and values to your custom dashboard, click Done and start enjoying your highly customized NGINX Amplify Dashboard.

NGINX admin made easy

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better, more user-friendly monitoring tool for the NGINX web server (or any web server for that matter) than Amplify. If you are an NGINX admin, you owe it to yourself to customize your Amplify Dashboards, to get the most out of this remarkable tool.

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