Getting Started with Telegraf

This is archived documentation for InfluxData product versions that are no longer maintained. For newer documentation, see the latest InfluxData documentation.

Getting Started with Telegraf

Telegraf is an agent written in Go for collecting metrics and writing them into InfluxDB or other possible outputs. This guide will get you up and running with Telegraf. It walks you through the download, installation, and configuration processes, and it shows how to use Telegraf to get data into InfluxDB.

Download and Install Telegraf

Follow the instructions in the Telegraf section on the Downloads page.

Note: Telegraf will start automatically using the default configuration when installed from a deb package.


Configuration file location by installation type

  • macOS Homebrew: /usr/local/etc/telegraf.conf
  • Linux debian and RPM packages: /etc/telegraf/telegraf.conf
  • Standalone Binary: see the next section for how to create a configuration file

Creating and Editing the Configuration File

Before starting the Telegraf server you need to edit and/or create an initial configuration that specifies your desired inputs (where the metrics come from) and outputs (where the metrics go). There are several ways to create and edit the configuration file. Here, we’ll generate a configuration file and simultaneously specify the desired inputs with the -input-filter flag and the desired output with the -output-filter flag.

In the example below, we create a configuration file called telegraf.conf with two inputs: one that reads metrics about the system’s cpu usage (cpu) and one that reads metrics about the system’s memory usage (mem). We specify InfluxDB as the desired output.

telegraf -sample-config -input-filter cpu:mem -output-filter influxdb > telegraf.conf

Start the Telegraf Server

Start the Telegraf server and direct it to the relevant configuration file:

macOS Homebrew

telegraf -config telegraf.conf

Linux (sysvinit and upstart installations)

sudo service telegraf start

Linux (systemd installations)

systemctl start telegraf


Once Telegraf is up and running it will start collecting data and writing them to the desired output.

Returning to our sample configuration, we show what the cpu and mem data look like in InfluxDB below. Note that we used the default input and output configuration settings to get these data.

  • List all measurements in the telegraf database:

    name: measurements
  • List all field keys by measurement:

    name: cpu
    fieldKey                fieldType
    usage_guest             float
    usage_guest_nice	       float
    usage_idle		            float
    usage_iowait		          float
    usage_irq		             float
    usage_nice		            float
    usage_softirq		         float
    usage_steal		           float
    usage_system		          float
    usage_user		            float
    name: mem
    fieldKey                fieldType
    active			               integer
    available		             integer
    available_percent	      float
    buffered		              integer
    cached			               integer
    free			                 integer
    inactive		              integer
    total			                integer
    used			                 integer
    used_percent		          float
  • Select a sample of the data in the field usage_idle in the measurement cpu_usage_idle:

    > SELECT usage_idle FROM cpu WHERE cpu = 'cpu-total' LIMIT 5
    name: cpu
    time			               usage_idle
    2016-01-16T00:03:00Z	 97.56189047261816
    2016-01-16T00:03:10Z	 97.76305923519121
    2016-01-16T00:03:20Z	 97.32533433320835
    2016-01-16T00:03:30Z	 95.68857785553611
    2016-01-16T00:03:40Z	 98.63715928982245

Notice that the timestamps occur at rounded ten second intervals (that is, :00, :10, :20, and so on) - this is a configurable setting.

That’s it! You now have the foundation for using Telegraf to collect metrics and write them to your output of choice.