[Sensu Go Workshop] Lesson 2: Set up the Workshop Environment

In this lesson, we will set up a local Sensu development environment for use during the workshop. This lesson is intended for operators of Sensu or anyone who would like to explore Sensu from a technical perspective.

By: Caleb Hailey

Lesson 2: Setup the Workshop Environment


In this lesson we will setup a local Sensu development environment for use during the workshop. This lesson is intended for operators of Sensu or anyone who would like to explore Sensu from a technical perspective.


This workshop was designed with common IT/DevOps/SRE tooling in mind, so we expect most users will already have everything they need installed. All you need to get started is a laptop or workstation with a git client, Docker, text editor, and a modern web browser.

Please review this list of prerequisites to make sure your system is ready to go:

  1. Workstation

    Workshop users will need a 64-bit workstation running a recent version of macOS, Windows, or Linux.

  2. Docker

  3. Docker Compose (docker-compose)

    To install docker-compose, please read the “Install Docker Compose” documentation.

  4. Git Client (git)

    To install git, please read the git downloads page.

  5. Supported Web Browser

    The workshop expects that you have a modern web browser installed. Please verify that you have a recent version of one of these common browsers:

  6. Compatible Text Editor

    This workshop involves creating and editing plain-text configuration files and monitoring code templates. We suggest using a text editor such as:

    NOTE: Windows users should avoid using Notepad.exe which can save edited files in incompatible encodings.

  7. Optional CLI Tools

    The workshop includes examples using some optional CLI utilties:

The Workshop Environment

To fully demonstrate Sensu’s capabilities, it is necessary to have a multi-node environment. This workshop includes a set of containerized components that represent a simplified Sensu-enabled monitoring environment.

A simplified Sensu-enabled monitoring environment

The Docker Configuration

We are using docker-compose to automate setting up the local workshop environment. The containers are configured by a variety of environment variables, defined in the .env file included in the workshop repo.

The docker-compose-default.yaml defines the configuration of the following containers:

  • Sensu components:
  • A chat-ops environment, for alerting:
    • mattermost: Mattermost, a web-based chat app similar to Slack
  • A telemetry stack:
    • influxdb: InfluxDB for metrics storage
    • grafana: Grafana for visualization
  • Some support utilites:
    • vault: A HashiCorp Vault server, for secrets management
    • configurator: A simple configuration management tool built for this workshop

How It All Works Together

The basic flow of information in this environment looks something like this:

  • The agent container simulates an application server, with the Sensu agent running on it.
  • The agent observes the application and generates events, which are sent to the backend container.
  • The backend will make decisions about the event based on the user defined configuration.

Depending on the configuration, and the details of the event, the backend may raise alerts which are sent to Mattermost, or send events containing metrics to InfluxDb to be recorded. The Grafana dashboard visualizes the metrics stored in InfluxDB.

Access to these third-party services requires authentication. Secrets are securely delivered through HashiCorp Vault directly to the backend.

The configurator runs only during the initial setup of the workshop, to wire everything together and apply the configuration.

EXERCISE 1: Install the Workshop


You are new to Sensu and are using the Sensu Workshop. You want to mimic a production Sensu environment, so that you can experiment with Sensu concepts and workflows.


To accomplish this, we will setup a local sandbox environment using docker-compose. Each component will be created within a container running on your local machine. The installation and configuration is automated for you, so you can start using Sensu right away.


BEFORE YOU START: Make sure that you’ve looked over all the prerequisites, and that Docker is running.

  1. Clone the Workshop Repository.

    git clone https://github.com/sensu/sensu-go-workshop.git
    cd sensu-go-workshop
  2. Docker Compose Initialization.

    Create the workshop environment with the docker-compose up command.

    Mac and Linux:

    sudo docker-compose up -d


    docker-compose up -d

    NOTE: On Linux/macOS sudo is required because Docker runs as root. If you’d like to configure Docker to not need sudo, read the Manage Docker as a non-root user documentation.

    Example Output:

    Creating network "workshop_default" with the default driver
    Creating volume "workshop_sensuctl_data" with local driver
    Creating volume "workshop_sensu_data" with local driver
    Creating volume "workshop_timescaledb_data" with local driver
    Creating volume "workshop_grafana_data" with local driver
    Creating volume "workshop_artifactory_data" with local driver
    Creating workshop_vault_1         ... done
    Creating workshop_grafana_1       ... done
    Creating workshop_sensuctl_1      ... done
    Creating workshop_sensu-backend_1 ... done
    Creating workshop_artifactory_1   ... done
    Creating workshop_timescaledb_1   ... done
    Creating workshop_sensu-agent_1   ... done
    Creating workshop_configurator_1  ... done

    NOTE: The first time you run the docker-compose up command you will likely see output related to the pulling and building of the workshop container images. This process shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes, depending on your system.

  3. Verify Your Workshop Installation.

    1. Verify the Docker Containers are Running.

      sudo docker-compose ps

      The output should indicate that all of the services are Up (healthy) or “completed” (Exit 0).

      Example Output:

                   Name                        Command                       State                                                         Ports
      workshop_configurator_1    seed-workshop-resources          Exit 0
      workshop_grafana_1         /run.sh                          Up (healthy)  >3000/tcp
      workshop_influxdb_1        /entrypoint.sh influxd           Up (healthy)  >8086/tcp
      workshop_sensu-agent_1     sensu-agent start --log-le ...   Up (healthy)            2379/tcp, 2380/tcp, 3000/tcp,>3031/tcp, 8080/tcp, 8081/tcp,>8125/udp
      workshop_sensu-backend_1   sensu-backend start --log- ...   Up (healthy)            2379/tcp, 2380/tcp,>3000/tcp,>8080/tcp,>8081/tcp
      workshop_sensuctl_1        wait-for-sensu-backend sen ...   Exit 0
      workshop_vault_1           docker-entrypoint.sh vault ...   Up (healthy)  >8200/tcp

      Every container should show a status of Up (healthy) or Exit 0.

      If any containers have the status Up or Up (health: starting), wait a few seconds then retry the sudo docker-compose ps command.


      If any containers have completed with the Exit 1 or Exit 2 state, it’s possible that these were the result of an intermittent failure (e.g. if the sensu-backend container was slow to start). Re-running the sudo docker-compose up -d command will likely resolve the issue.

    2. Check that the Sensu Web UI is Running

      The Sensu Web UI should be available at Login with the user sensu and password sensu.

    3. Check that Mattermost is Running

      The Mattermost app should be available at Login with the user sensu and password sensu.

  4. Configure Environment Variables.

    The workshop repository includes platform-specific files that export some environment variables which we will use throughout the workshop. The exercises assume you are in a shell that has these variables configured.

    When you open a new shell environment, export the variables using one of the following commands:

    Mac and Linux:

    source .envrc

    Windows (PowerShell):

    . .\.envrc.ps1
  5. Verify Your Environment.

    The Sensu-specific environment variables are prefixed with SENSU. You can verify that you have the Sensu environment variables set up correctly by running one of these commands:

    Mac and Linux:

    env | grep SENSU

    Windows (Powershell):

    Get-ChildItem env: | Out-String -Stream | Select-String -Pattern SENSU

    The output should include a value for SENSU_VERSION (i.e. a release version such as 6.2.7).

    Example Output:


NEXT: If all the containers show as Up (healthy) or Exit 0 state, and you can reach the Sensu Web UI and Mattermost apps, and your environment variables are all set, then you’re ready to start the workshop!


In this lesson you installed a local sandbox environment, and verified that it was up and running. You learned about the various components of a Sensu-enabled monitoring environment and how they work together.

In the following lessons, we will install the sensuctl command-line tool, and learn how to do some essential tasks via hands-on exercises using this environment.

Troubleshooting Guide

Most users have no problems setting up and running the workshop, but sometimes issues do come up. We’ve collected a short Troubleshooting Guide with answers to the most common issues.

If you can’t find your answer there, please reach out by filing a GitHub Issue or asking a question in the Sensu Discourse Forum.

Need to Stop the Workshop Environment and Resume Later?

No problem! The workshop can be stopped without losing your progress by running the following command:

Mac and Linux Users:

sudo docker-compose down

Windows Users (PowerShell):

docker-compose down

NOTE: Running docker-compose down with the -v flag instructs Docker to also remove the container volumes, which will reset the workshop’s saved information. This is helpful if you want to start over completely.

When you’re ready to start again, just run docker-compose up -d again.

Viewing Docker Processes and Logs

If you’re running into problems, or just curious, you can view the running containers with docker-compose ps. You can view the log output for any container with docker-compose logs <container_name>.

  1. Check that Docker containers are running:

    All Platforms:

    docker-compose ps
  2. View logs for sensu-backend container.

    All Platforms:

    docker-compose logs sensu-backend

Double Check Your Environment

It’s common for trainees to do a few exercises in the workshop, pause, and then come back to it later. If you do that, you might need to restart Docker or reload some exported environment variables into your shell.

If something’s not working right, the first thing to check is that Docker and the workshop containers are running, and that you have the expected environment variables set.

  1. Check environment variables:

    Mac and Linux:

    env | grep SENSU

    Windows (PowerShell):

    Get-ChildItem env: | Out-String -Stream | Select-String -Pattern SENSU

The Workshop Repository

Feel free to have a look around the sensu-go-workshop GitHub repository. You can find the Docker configuration files used to setup this sandbox, all the lessons in Markdown format, and much more.

We are constantly evolving the workshop, so you may run across some interesting work-in-progress modules. As usual, we welcome contributions of all kinds!

Learn More

Next Steps

Share your feedback on Lesson 02

Lesson 3: Using the Sensu CLI