SQR-034: EFD Operations

  • Angelo Fausti

Latest Revision: 2023-02-17

1   TL;DR

The EFD is managed by Sasquatch, a service of the Rubin Science Platform for recording, displaying, and alerting on Rubin’s engineering data. Sasquatch is currently deployed at the Summit, USDF and test stands through Phalanx.

The main entry points are the Chronograf UI and the EFD Python client from where users can query the EFD database.

Sasquatch Instance Chronograf UI EFD Client alias VPN access
Summit https://summit-lsp.lsst.codes/chronograf summit_efd Chile VPN
USDF https://usdf-rsp.slac.stanford.edu/chronograf usdf_efd Not required
USDF dev https://usdf-rsp-dev.slac.stanford.edu/chronograf usdf_efd_dev Not required
Tucson test stand (TTS) https://tucson-teststand.lsst.codes/chronograf tucson_teststand_efd NOIRLab VPN
Base test stand (BTS) https://base-lsp.lsst.codes/chronograf base_efd Chile VPN


If you need help, please drop a line on the #com-square-support LSSTC Slack channel.

2   Sasquatch Instances

In this section we describe the Sasquatch instances that host the EFD database.

In addition to Chronograf and the EFD client, other services available are the InfluxDB HTTP API, the Kafdrop UI and the Kafka brokers, the Kafka bootstrap server, and the Kafka REST proxy API.

2.1   Summit

Production instance running at the Summit (Chile). The Summit EFD data is replicated to the USDF production instance for project wide access.

Intended audience: Observers and Commissioning team.

  • Chronograf: https://summit-lsp.lsst.codes/chronograf
  • InfluxDB HTTP API: https://summit-lsp.lsst.codes/influxdb
  • Kafdrop UI: https://summit-lsp.lsst.codes/kafdrop
  • Kafka brokers:
    • sasquatch-summit-kafka-0.lsst.codes
    • sasquatch-summit-kafka-1.lsst.codes
    • sasquatch-summit-kafka-2.lsst.codes
  • Kafka bootstrap server: sasquatch-summit-kafka-bootstrap.lsst.codes
  • Kafka REST proxy API: https://summit-lsp.lsst.codes/sasquatch-rest-proxy

2.2   USDF

Production instance running at SLAC. It has a replica of the Summit EFD data.

Intended audience: Project staff.

  • Chronograf: https://usdf-rsp.slac.stanford.edu/chronograf
  • InfluxDB HTTP API: https://usdf-rsp.slac.stanford.edu/influxdb
  • Kafdrop UI: https://usdf-rsp.slac.stanford.edu/kafdrop
  • Kafka brokers: (not yet available)
  • Kafka boostrap server: (not yet available)
  • Kafka REST proxy API: - https://usdf-rsp.slac.stanford.edu/sasquatch-rest-proxy

2.3   USDF dev

Development instance running at SLAC. It has a replica of the Tucson test stand instance.

Intended audience: Project staff.

  • Chronograf: https://usdf-rsp-dev.slac.stanford.edu/chronograf
  • InfluxDB HTTP API: https://usdf-rsp-dev.slac.stanford.edu/influxdb
  • Kafdrop UI: https://usdf-rsp-dev.slac.stanford.edu/kafdrop
  • Kafka brokers: (not yet available)
  • Kafka boostrap server: (not yet available)
  • Kafka REST proxy API: - https://usdf-rsp-dev.slac.stanford.edu/sasquatch-rest-proxy

2.4   Tucson Test Stand (TTS)

Development instance running at the Tucson test stand.

Intended audience: Telescope & Site team.

  • Chronograf: https://tucson-teststand.lsst.codes/chronograf
  • InfluxDB HTTP API: https://tucson-teststand.lsst.codes/influxdb
  • Kafdrop UI: https://tucson-teststand.lsst.codes/kafdrop
  • Kafka brokers: - sasquatch-tts-kafka-0.lsst.codes - sasquatch-tts-kafka-1.lsst.codes - sasquatch-tts-kafka-2.lsst.codes
  • Kafka bootstrap server: - sasquatch-tts-kafka-bootstrap.lsst.codes
  • Kafka REST proxy API: - https://tucson-teststand.lsst.codes/sasquatch-rest-proxy

2.5   Base Test Stand (BTS)

Standalone instance running at the Base facility (Chile).

Intended audience: Telescope & Site team.

(not yet available)

3   Introduction

In this technote, we describe the Engineering and Facilities Database (EFD) and tools to access the data.

The main EFD instance runs at the Summit recording observatory telemetry, events and commands enabling real-time monitoring during the observations.

At the Summit the nominal retention period for the EFD data is 30 days.

The EFD data is also replicated to the USDF in quasi realtime (within a few seconds).

The USDF EFD is meant to be the place Rubin Observatory staff can connect and perform their analysis without interfering with the Summit operations, including trending analysis on historical data.


Figure 1 A typical Sasquatch deployment with Kafka, InfluxDB Sink connector, InfluxDB, Chronograf and Kapacitor components.

See SQR-068 [2] for more information on the Sasquatch architecture.

4   SAL Kafka producer

The SAL Kafka producers forward messages from SAL components (CSCs) to Kafka.

Each CSC has a number of command, events and telemetry topics that are mapped to Kafka topics.

In Sasquatch, the Kafdrop UI can be used to browse the Kafka topics, for example https://summit-lsp.lsst.codes/kafdrop.

5   InfluxDB Sink connector

The InfluxDB Sink connector is the component responsible for consuming the Kafka topics and writing the data to InfluxDB, a time series database.

kafka-connect-manager manages the InfluxDB Sink connector and other connectors in Sasquatch.

6   InfluxDB

InfluxDB is an open-source time series database optimized for efficient storage and analysis of time series data.

A good overview of InfluxDB and how it compares to a more tradional relational database is given here.

InfluxDB organizes the data in measurements (equivalent to a table in a relational database), fields (metrics and events) and tags (metadata around metrics and events).

The important concept for the EFD is that SAL topics are mapped to InfluxDB measurements and all the fields in a SAL topic are mapped to InfluxDB fields. Essentially we have one time series for each SAL topic, where the point in that time series corresponds to the field set of the SAL topic.

The timestamp used to index the EFD database in InfluxDB is the private_efdStamp field which corresponds to the SAL private_sndStamp field converted from TAI to UTC.

In the EFD we write timestamps with microsseconds precision, which seems exagerated but that’s important to differentiate events that are very close to each other (e.g. debug events).

InfluxDB provides an SQL-like query language called InfluxQL and a more powerful data scripting language called Flux. Both languages can be used in Chronograf for data exploration and for creating dashboards.

6.1   The EFD client

The EFD client is a Python client to access EFD data from a notebook in the RSP.

For, example a the Summit you can instantiate the EFD client using:

from lsst_efd_client import EfdClient
efd = EfdClient('summit')

await efd.get_topics()

where summit is the alias to connect to the EFD database at the Summit.

Learn more about the helper methods implemented from the EFD client documentation and from the example notebooks.

6.2   Example notebooks

7   Chronograf

Chronograf is the main UI for data exploration, for creating dashboards and alerts on the EFD data.

7.1   Chronograf shared account

There is a shared account chronograf-viewer user that is meant to be used for the control room displays, the password can be found in LSST IT/SQuaRE 1password or ask for it on our support channel #com-square-support on Slack.

7.2   The explore tool

7.3   Creating a new dashboard

We recommend following the Chronograf documentation for creating a new dashboard

In addition to that, this section provides some extra tips that we learned by using Chronograf in the context of Rubin.

7.3.1   Visualization types

See the visualization types avaibale in Chronograf.

Time series of physical variables like temperature, pressure, etc are correlated data points, in this case plot the data using use a line graph or a line graph + single stat. The single stat always corresponds to the most recent value in the time series.

If the data points are uncorrelated (events) then a bar chart is a better option over a line chart.

The best way to identify the best visualization type is by questioning the data. For example, bar charts are useful to visualize gaps in the data.

7.3.2   Adding multiple graphs to one chart

Sometimes it is useful to display multiple time series in a single chart, each time-serie can be added as and indepented query in Chronograf.

7.3.3   Multiple charts and time axis alignment

7.3.4   Using dashboard template variables

When creating a dashboard, you can use either predefined template variables or custom template variables to parametrize your queries and visualizations.


7.4   Using Flux for creating more advanced dashboards

7.5   Visualizing log events

And easy way to visualize log messages from events and correlate them with a time series chart is by using a linked table.

Tables are linked with charts via the time column.


Chronograf provides a log viewer tool that could be used to visualize CSC log events. To use the log viewer tool in Chronograf, data needs to be recorded in a specific measusrement and follow the syslog data format. In DM-31618 we explore this possibility.

7.6   Adding annotations


The log messages in every event topic could be automatically added as annotations (markers) on the time series. That would be a nice way to correlate events and telemetry and would be very useful for debugging. The annotator service would consume the event topics and write them as annotations in Chronograf, and a tag system would allow to filter annotatoins by CSC or event type, for example.

7.7   Extras

Presentation mode allows you to view Chronograf dashboards in full screen.

7.8   Known limitations

  • There’s solution yet to display units in Chronograf charts other than manually adding a suffix to the y-axis value. Units could be obtained from the topic schema, currently they can be inspected using the EFD client only.
  • When adding multiple graphs to one chart, it is not possible to combine different visualization types.

7.9   Creating alert rules

7.10   Monitoring CSC heartbeats

8   EFD data replication

SQR-050 [1] describes the EFD data replication from Summit/TTS to USDF. MirrorMaker 2 is the component responsible for that.

In the EFD setup, the MirrorMaker 2 source connectors run at the USDF and consume remote Kafka topics at the Summit and TTS.

Avro schemas recorded in the registry-schemas topic are also replicated.

If the InfluxDB instance at the Summit falls over, the InfluxDB instance at the USDF can still be used to access the EFD data provided that the replication service is running. Note, however, that Chronograf dashboards and Kapacitor alert rules are not part of the this replication service.

9   References

[1][SQR-050]. Angelo Fausti. The EFD replication service. 2021. URL: https://sqr-050.lsst.io
[2][SQR-068]. Angelo Fausti. Sasquatch: beyond the EFD. 2022. URL: https://sqr-068.lsst.io