December 15, 2011

As much as we love Riak and talk about how easy it is to put into production, the activity on the #riak IRC roommailing list and customer support issues has a way of telling us there are still some issues to be ironed out. Sometimes, things just go wrong and you want to know what they are. It can be frustrating to figure those things out if you don’t know what to look for.

We have felt this pain, too, and wished for a way that our customers and community users could discover and remedy problems on their own, without having to resort to the mailing list or IRC chat. That’s why today, we’re happy to announce the first public release of Riaknostic.

NOTE: Riaknostic is very new and still under development. It will not be fully tested and integrated until the next release of Riak. While it diagnostics are low-impact, do take care when running it on your system.

What is Riaknostic?

Riaknostic is an Erlang script (escript) that runs a series of “diagnostics” or “checks”, inspecting your operating system and Riak installation for known potential problems and then printing suggestions for how to fix those problems. Riaknostic will NOT fix those problems for you, it’s only a tool for diagnostics. Some of the things it checks are:

  • How much memory does the Riak process currently use?
  • Do Riak’s data directories have the correct permissions?
  • Did the Riak node crash in the past and leave a dump file?

Some of the checks require that the Riak node be running, but others simply work with the operating system. It has a whole bunch of other options and details that I won’t cover here, but you can read about them on the homepage or in the API documentation. Of course, we encourage you to read the source code and fork the project as well.

As is typical of Basho software, Riaknostic is free, open-source, and licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. You can use Riaknostic today, but full integration will be shipped in the next release of Riak (v1.1).

Extending Riaknostic For Fun and Wearable-Profit

We’ve constructed Riaknostic in such a way that it’s fairly easy to incorporate new diagnostics. Our goal is to get it to the point where Riaknostic can diagnose the majority of errors and misconfigurations that might befall your Riak cluster before you’re in production. Basho will continue to add to the library, but we can’t make it totally robust without your help. So, we will happily distribute various pieces of SWAG (including but not limited to t-shirts and stickers), to anyone who spends time extending it. Keep in mind that you’ll have to write a touch of Erlang to make this happen, but, if you’re new to the language, this is probably one of the best ways to learn. Take a look at the existing modules for examples and inspiration.

For precise instructions on how to Contribute to the library, have a look at the Riaknostic README on the GitHub Repo. And if you have any issues with it, send a message along to the Riak Mailing List or join us in #riak IRC.


Sean, on behalf of all Developer Advocates