Ryan Frantz
Introducing nagios-herald

aka Rub Some Context On It

I wrote about alert design a few weeks back and I hinted at a forthcoming project that would be useful in adding context to Nagios alerts. I’m really excited (and a bit nervous) to introduce nagios-herald!

nagios-herald is available at https://github.com/etsy/nagios-herald.

nagios-herald was created from a desire to supplement an on-call engineer’s awareness of conditions surrounding a notifying event. In other words, if a computer is going to page me at 3AM, I expect it to do some work for me to help me understand what’s failing. I can’t emphasize this enough: computers can, and should, do as much work as possible for us before they have to wake us up.


At its core, nagios-herald is a Nagios notification script. The power, however, lies in its ability to add context to Nagios alerts via formatters. nagios-herald includes a few built-in formatters, but I want you to write custom formatters that fulfill your needs. If you think others can benefit from them, by all means, contribute to the project.

Getting Started

Clone the nagios-herald repo, write your own custom formatters, and configure nagios-herald to load them.


There’s still plenty of work to do with this project, including making it usable as a Ruby gem, improving documentation, writing tests, and more.

I look forward to feedback from the community and pull requests!

Special Thanks

I’d like to thank my co-workers, plain and simple. Some of them wrote code, some helped with ideas. Others helped by acting as sounding boards while I worked out problems. This project is possible because I work on an amazing team with great people.