Heartbeat quick start: installation and configuration


Heartbeat quick start: installation and configurationedit

This guide describes how to get started quickly collecting uptime data about your hosts. You’ll learn how to:

  • install Heartbeat
  • specify the protocols to monitor
  • send uptime data to Elasticsearch
  • visualize the uptime data in Kibana
Heartbeat HTTP monitoring dashboard

Before you beginedit

You need Elasticsearch for storing and searching your data, and Kibana for visualizing and managing it.

To get started quickly, spin up a deployment of our hosted Elasticsearch Service. The Elasticsearch Service is available on AWS, GCP, and Azure. Try it out for free.

Step 1: Install Heartbeatedit

Unlike most Beats, which you install on edge nodes, you typically install Heartbeat as part of a monitoring service that runs on a separate machine and possibly even outside of the network where the services that you want to monitor are running.

To download and install Heartbeat, use the commands that work with your system:

curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/heartbeat/heartbeat-8.14.3-amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i heartbeat-8.14.3-amd64.deb

The commands shown are for AMD platforms, but ARM packages are also available. Refer to the download page for the full list of available packages.

Other installation optionsedit

Step 2: Connect to the Elastic Stackedit

Connections to Elasticsearch and Kibana are required to set up Heartbeat.

Set the connection information in heartbeat.yml. To locate this configuration file, see Directory layout.

Specify the cloud.id of your Elasticsearch Service, and set cloud.auth to a user who is authorized to set up Heartbeat. For example:

cloud.id: "staging:dXMtZWFzdC0xLmF3cy5mb3VuZC5pbyRjZWM2ZjI2MWE3NGJmMjRjZTMzYmI4ODExYjg0Mjk0ZiRjNmMyY2E2ZDA0MjI0OWFmMGNjN2Q3YTllOTYyNTc0Mw=="
cloud.auth: "heartbeat_setup:YOUR_PASSWORD" 

This examples shows a hard-coded password, but you should store sensitive values in the secrets keystore.

To learn more about required roles and privileges, see Grant users access to secured resources.

You can send data to other outputs, such as Logstash, but that requires additional configuration and setup.

Step 3: Configure Heartbeat monitorsedit

Heartbeat provides monitors to check the status of hosts at set intervals. Heartbeat currently provides monitors for ICMP, TCP, and HTTP (see Heartbeat overview for more about these monitors).

You configure each monitor individually. In heartbeat.yml, specify the list of monitors that you want to enable. Each item in the list begins with a dash (-). The following example configures Heartbeat to use three monitors: an icmp monitor, a tcp monitor, and an http monitor.

- type: icmp
  schedule: '*/5 * * * * * *' 
  hosts: ["myhost"]
  id: my-icmp-service
  name: My ICMP Service
- type: tcp
  schedule: '@every 5s' 
  hosts: ["myhost:12345"]
  mode: any 
  id: my-tcp-service
- type: http
  schedule: '@every 5s'
  urls: ["http://example.net"]
  service.name: apm-service-name 
  id: my-http-service
  name: My HTTP Service

The icmp monitor is scheduled to run exactly every 5 seconds (10:00:00, 10:00:05, and so on). The schedule option uses a cron-like syntax based on this cronexpr implementation.

The tcp monitor is set to run every 5 seconds from the time when Heartbeat was started. Heartbeat adds the @every keyword to the syntax provided by the cronexpr package.

The mode specifies whether to ping one IP (any) or all resolvable IPs

The service.name field can be used to integrate heartbeat with elastic APM via the Uptime UI.

To test your configuration file, change to the directory where the Heartbeat binary is installed, and run Heartbeat in the foreground with the following options specified: ./heartbeat test config -e. Make sure your config files are in the path expected by Heartbeat (see Directory layout), or use the -c flag to specify the path to the config file.

For more information about configuring Heartbeat, also see:

Step 4: Configure the Heartbeat locationedit

Heartbeat can be deployed in multiple locations so that you can detect differences in availability and response times across those locations. Configure the Heartbeat location to allow Kibana to display location-specific information on Uptime maps and perform Uptime anomaly detection based on location.

To configure the location of a Heartbeat instance, modify the add_observer_metadata processor in heartbeat.yml. The following example specifies the geo.name of the add_observer_metadata processor as us-east-1a:

# ============================ Processors ============================

  - add_observer_metadata:
      # Optional, but recommended geo settings for the location Heartbeat is running in
        # Token describing this location
        name: us-east-1a 
        # Lat, Lon "
        #location: "37.926868, -78.024902" 

Uncomment the geo setting.

Uncomment name and assign the name of the location of the Heartbeat server.

Optionally uncomment location and assign the latitude and longitude.

To test your configuration file, change to the directory where the Heartbeat binary is installed, and run Heartbeat in the foreground with the following options specified: ./heartbeat test config -e. Make sure your config files are in the path expected by Heartbeat (see Directory layout), or use the -c flag to specify the path to the config file.

For more information about configuring Heartbeat, also see:

Step 5: Set up assetsedit

Heartbeat comes with predefined assets for parsing, indexing, and visualizing your data. To load these assets:

  1. Make sure the user specified in heartbeat.yml is authorized to set up Heartbeat.
  2. From the installation directory, run:

    heartbeat setup -e

    -e is optional and sends output to standard error instead of the configured log output.

This step loads the recommended index template for writing to Elasticsearch. It does not install Heartbeat dashboards. Heartbeat dashboards and installation steps are available in the uptime-contrib GitHub repository.

A connection to Elasticsearch (or Elasticsearch Service) is required to set up the initial environment. If you’re using a different output, such as Logstash, see Load the index template manually.

Step 6: Start Heartbeatedit

Before starting Heartbeat, modify the user credentials in heartbeat.yml and specify a user who is authorized to publish events.

To start Heartbeat, run:

sudo service heartbeat-elastic start

If you use an init.d script to start Heartbeat, you can’t specify command line flags (see Command reference). To specify flags, start Heartbeat in the foreground.

Also see Heartbeat and systemd.

Heartbeat is now ready to check the status of your services and send events to your defined output.

Step 7: View your data in Kibanaedit

Heartbeat comes with pre-built Kibana dashboards and UIs for visualizing the status of your services. The dashboards are available in the uptime-contrib GitHub repository.

If you loaded the dashboards earlier, open them now.

To open the dashboards:

  1. Launch Kibana:

    1. Log in to your Elastic Cloud account.
    2. Navigate to the Kibana endpoint in your deployment.
  2. In the side navigation, click Discover. To see Heartbeat data, make sure the predefined heartbeat-* index pattern is selected.

    If you don’t see data in Kibana, try changing the time filter to a larger range. By default, Kibana shows the last 15 minutes.

  3. In the side navigation, click Dashboard, then select the dashboard that you want to open.

The dashboards are provided as examples. We recommend that you customize them to meet your needs.

What’s next?edit

Now that you have your uptime data streaming into Elasticsearch, learn how to unify your logs, metrics, uptime, and application performance data.

  1. Ingest data from other sources by installing and configuring other Elastic Beats:

    Elastic Beats To capture


    Infrastructure metrics




    Windows event logs


    Application performance metrics


    Audit events

  2. Use the Observability apps in Kibana to search across all your data:

    Elastic apps Use to

    Metrics app

    Explore metrics about systems and services across your ecosystem

    Logs app

    Tail related log data in real time

    Uptime app

    Monitor availability issues across your apps and services

    APM app

    Monitor application performance

    SIEM app

    Analyze security events