Grafana Alloy is the new name for our distribution of the OTel collector. Grafana Agent has been deprecated and is in Long-Term Support (LTS) through October 31, 2025. Grafana Agent will reach an End-of-Life (EOL) on November 1, 2025. Read more about why we recommend migrating to Grafana Alloy.
Open source

Scraping service (Beta)

The Grafana Agent scraping service allows you to cluster a set of Agent processes and distribute the scrape load.

Determining what to scrape is done by writing instance configuration files to an API, which then stores the configuration files in a KV store backend. All agents in the cluster must use the same KV store to see the same set of configuration files.

Each process of the Grafana Agent can be running multiple independent “instances” at once, where an “instance” refers to the combination of:

  • Service discovery for all scrape_configs within that loaded configuration
  • Scrapes metrics from all discovered targets
  • Stores data in its own Write-Ahead Log specific to the loaded configuration
  • Remote Writes scraped metrics to the configured remote_write destinations specified within the loaded configuration.

The “instance configuration file,” then, is the configuration file that specifies the set of scrape_configs and remote_write endpoints. For example, a small instance configuration file looks like this:

  - job_name: self-scrape
      - targets: ['localhost:9090']
          process: 'agent'
  - url: http://cortex:9009/api/prom/push

The full set of supported options for an instance configuration file is available in the file.

Multiple instance configuration files are necessary for sharding. Each config file is distributed to a particular agent on the cluster based on the hash of its contents.

When the scraping service is enabled, Agents disallow specifying instance configurations locally in the configuration file; using the KV store is required. agentctl can be used to manually sync instance configuration files to the Agent’s API server.

Distributed hash ring

The scraping service uses a Distributed Hash Ring (commonly called “the ring”) to cluster agents and to shard configurations within that ring. Each Agent joins the ring with a random distinct set of tokens that are used for sharding. The default number of generated tokens is 128.

The Distributed Hash Ring is also stored in a KV store. Since a KV store is also needed for storing configuration files, it is encouraged to re-use the same KV store for the ring.

When sharding, the Agent currently uses the name of a configuration file stored in the KV store for load distribution. Configuration names are guaranteed to be unique keys. The hash of the name is used as the lookup key in the ring and determines which agent (based on token) should be responsible for that configuration. “Price is Right” rules are used for the Agent lookup; the Agent owning the token with the closest value to the key without going over is responsible for the configuration.

All Agents are simultaneously watching the KV store for changes to the set of configuration files. When a configuration file is added or updated in the configuration store, each Agent will run the configuration name hash through their copy of the Hash Ring to determine if they are responsible for that config.

When an Agent receives a new configuration that it is responsible for, it launches a new instance from the instance configuration. If a configuration is deleted from the KV store, this will be detected by the owning Agent, and it will stop the metric collection process for that configuration file.

When an Agent receives an event for an updated configuration file that they used to be the owner of but are no longer the owner, the associated instance for that configuration file is stopped for that Agent. This can happen when the cluster size changes.

The scraping service currently does not support replication. Only one agent at a time will be responsible for scraping a certain configuration.


When a new Agent joins or leaves the cluster, the set of tokens in the ring may cause configurations to hash to a new Agent. The process of responding to this action is called “resharding.”

Resharding is run:

  1. When an Agent joins the ring
  2. When an Agent leaves the ring
  3. When the KV store sends a notification indicating a configuration has changed.
  4. On a specified interval if KV change events have not fired.

The resharding process involves each Agent retrieving the full set of configurations stored in the KV store and determining if:

  1. The configuration owned by the current resharding Agent has changed and needs to be reloaded.
  2. The configuration is no longer owned by the current resharding Agent and the associated instance should be stopped.
  3. The configuration has been deleted, and the associated instance should be stopped.

Best practices

Because distribution is determined by the number of configuration files and not how many targets exist per configuration file, the best amount of distribution is achieved when each configuration file has the lowest amount of targets possible. The best distribution will be achieved if each configuration file stored in the KV store is limited to one static configuration with only one target.


Here’s an example agent.yaml configuration file that uses the same etcd server for both configuration storage and the distributed hash ring storage:

  log_level: debug

    scrape_interval: 1m
    enabled: true
      store: etcd
          - etcd:2379
        replication_factor: 1
          store: etcd
              - etcd:2379

Note that there are no instance configurations present in this example; instance configurations must be passed to the API for the Agent to start scraping metrics.


agentctl is a tool included with this repository that helps users interact with the new Config Management API. The agentctl config-sync subcommand uses local YAML files as a source of truth and syncs their contents with the API. Entries in the API not in the synced directory will be deleted.

agentctl is distributed in binary form with each release and as a Docker container with the grafana/agentctl image. Tanka configurations that utilize grafana/agentctl and sync a set of configurations to the API are planned for the future.

Debug Ring endpoint

You can use the /debug/ring endpoint to troubleshoot issues with the scraping service in Scraping Service Mode. It provides information about the Distributed Hash Ring and the current distribution of configurations among Agents in the cluster. It also allows you to forget an instance in the ring manually.

You can access this endpoint by making an HTTP request to the Agent’s API server.

Information returned by the /debug/ring endpoint includes:

  • The list of Agents in the cluster, and their respective tokens used for sharding.
  • The list of configuration files in the KV store and associated hash values used for lookup in the ring.
  • The unique instance ID assigned to each instance of the Agent running in the cluster. The instance ID is a unique identifier assigned to each running instance of the Agent within the cluster. The exact details of the instance ID generation might be specific to the implementation of the Grafana Agent.
  • The time of the “Last Heartbeat” of each instance. The Last Heartbeat is the last time the instance was active in the ring.