Skip to main content

Python library for reporting metrics to Atlas.

Project description

Build Status


Python port of the Spectator library for Java.

See the Spectator documentation for an overview of core concepts and details on usage.

Supports Python >= 2.7, with Python >= 3.6 recommended.


Importing the GlobalRegistry sets up Spectator to report data to an Atlas Aggregator backend every five seconds. A configuration package must be installed in order for this step to succeed. At Netflix, the configuration package is named netflix-spectator-pyconf.

from spectator import GlobalRegistry

Once the GlobalRegistry is imported, it is used to create and manage Meters.

Meter Types


A Counter is used to measure the rate at which an event is occurring. Considering an API endpoint, a Counter could be used to measure the rate at which it is being accessed.

Counters are reported to the backend as a rate-per-second. In Atlas, the :per-step operator can be used to convert them back into a value-per-step on a graph.

Call increment() when an event occurs:


You can also pass a value to increment(). This is useful when a collection of events happens together:


Distribution Summaries

A Distribution Summary is used to track the distribution of events. It is similar to a Timer, but more general, in that the size does not have to be a period of time. For example, a Distribution Summary could be used to measure the payload sizes of requests hitting a server.

Always use base units when recording data, to ensure that the tick labels presented on Atlas graphs are readable. If you are measuring payload size, then use bytes, not kilobytes (or some other unit). This means that a 4K tick label will represent 4 kilobytes, rather than 4 kilo-kilobytes.

Call record() with a value:



A gauge is a value that is sampled at some point in time. Typical examples for gauges would be the size of a queue or number of threads in a running state. Since gauges are not updated inline when a state change occurs, there is no information about what might have occurred between samples.

Consider monitoring the behavior of a queue of tasks. If the data is being collected once a minute, then a gauge for the size will show the size when it was sampled. The size may have been much higher or lower at some point during interval, but that is not known.

Call set() with a value:


Gauges are designed to report the last set value for 15 minutes. This done so that updates to the values do not need to be collected on a tight 1-minute schedule to ensure that Atlas shows unbroken lines in graphs.

If you wish to no longer report a Gauge value, then set it to float('nan'). This is a separate and distinct value from 'nan' or 'NaN', which are strings.


A Timer is used to measure how long (in seconds) some event is taking.

Call record() with a value:


Timers will keep track of the following statistics as they are used:

  • count
  • totalTime
  • totalOfSquares
  • max

Local Development

  • Install pyenv, possibly with Homebrew.
  • Install Python versions: 2.7, 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8. Enable all versions globally.
  • Make changes and add tests.
  • tox

Release Process

  1. Pre-Requisites.

    1. Install packaging tools.

       pip3 install setuptools wheel twine
    2. Configure PyPI username.

       cat >~/.pypirc <<EOF
       index-servers = pypi
       username: $PYPI_USERNAME
  2. Bump the version number in

  3. Tag the repo and write release notes. The goal is for the releases page to be readable.

    1. Clone the upstream project.

    2. Create a new tag.

       git tag v0.1.X
    3. Push the tags to the origin.

       git push origin --tags
    4. Project > Releases > Tags > Select Tag > Create Release

       Primary changes:
       - #<PR number>, <short description>.
       A comprehensive list of changes can be found in the commit log:<N-1>...v0.1.<N>
  4. On your local machine, checkout the tag and run the following command, which will build the package and upload it to PyPI.

     git checkout $TAG
     python3 sdist bdist_wheel
     twine check dist/*
     twine upload dist/*

Example release commits:

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Files for netflix-spectator-py, version 0.1.14
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size netflix_spectator_py-0.1.14-py2.py3-none-any.whl (19.6 kB) File type Wheel Python version py2.py3 Upload date Hashes View
Filename, size netflix-spectator-py-0.1.14.tar.gz (23.2 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing Datadog Datadog Monitoring DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate Facebook / Instagram Facebook / Instagram PSF Sponsor Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Salesforce Salesforce PSF Sponsor Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page