The lazy Qlik developer #2: Setting up Butler SOS

Butler SOS provides real-time monitoring for client-managed Qlik Sense. Key metrics for both Sense and Windows are monitored together with errors and warnings from the Sense logs. In this article you find a complete recipe for how to set up Butler SOS.

The lazy Qlik developer #2: Setting up Butler SOS
Photo by Tech Daily / Unsplash

The single most challenging aspect of the Butler tools - Butler SOS included - seems to be getting started.

In this post we'll therefore look at how to set up and configure a complete monitoring solution for client-managed Qlik Sense:

  • Butler SOS collects metrics, logs and events from Sense.
  • Data is stored in InfluxDB.
  • Grafana is used to visualise the data.

The three tools above will all run in Docker containers. They can also run as native Windows applications, that however involves installing each of those tools on your computer or a server. By using Docker we can test Butler SOS and then delete the Docker containers when we are done.

If you then want to put Butler SOS into production you can do so using Docker (or Kubernetes) or as native Windows/Linux/macOS applications. The end result is identical in both cases.

Butler SOS is open source and as such free to use.

TODO list

Here are the things we will work on and deploy. Don't worry, we'll go through each of them in detail:

  1. Customise and deploy XML log appender files on Sense server(s)
  2. Add Sense certificates
  3. Edit Butler SOS config file
  4. Configure and start Butler SOS, InfluxDB and Grafana in Docker containers
  5. Create a datasource in Grafana
  6. Import a sample SenseOps dashboard into Grafana
  7. Generate some events and errors in Sense, verify they show up in Grafana
  8. Generate some user activity in Sense, verify it shows up in Grafana

Assumptions & general instructions

The demo in this text assumes a few things.

  1. The log database in Qlik Sense is turned off. Butler SOS can retrieve data from log db if it's present, but as log db was deprecated some time ago we will assume it's not used.

Most of the configuration needed is actually doing find-and-replace in the config files we will look at later in this text:

  1. Replace all instances of my Sense servers' host names ( and with your ditto. This applies to Butler SOS' config file. In my case I monitor two Sense servers, you can monitor one or more as you like.
  2. Replace all instances of my laptop's IP address ( with the IP address of the computer where you run the Docker containers.

Template files & GitHub

The "part 2" directory of The lazy Qlik developer repository on GitHub contains all template files mentioned in this blog post.

Action: Clone that repository to the computer where you want to run Butler SOS, InfluxDB and Grafana.
If you are not comfortable with Git the repository can be downloaded as a zip file.

➜  git clone
Cloning into 'the-lazy-qlik-developer'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 20, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (20/20), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (11/11), done.
remote: Total 20 (delta 5), reused 16 (delta 4), pack-reused 0
Receiving objects: 100% (20/20), 4.15 KiB | 4.15 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (5/5), done.

If downloading the zip file, expand it into suitable location on the server where you want to run Butler SOS, InfluxDB and Grafana.

The repository may over time include many different root level directories, right now we are interested in the one named "part 2-setting up butler sos".
Its strcucture looks like this:

├── config
│   └── production.yaml
├── docker-compose.yaml
├── grafana-dashboard.json
└── log_appenders
    ├── engine
    │   └── LocalLogConfig.xml
    ├── proxy
    │   └── LocalLogConfig.xml
    ├── repository
    │   └── LocalLogConfig.xml
    └── scheduler
        └── LocalLogConfig.xml

Customise and deploy XML log appender files

Qlik Sense uses the Log4Net logging framework for all its logs. This framework is extendable, something we use with Butler SOS.

By adding a "log appender file" called "LocalLogConfig.xml" to select Sense services we can hook into any log events for those services and then forward desired log events to Butler SOS.

In this example we will hook into the logs of the Engine, Proxy, Repository and Scheduler services. There is one LocalLogConfig.xml file for each service.
Each XML file also needs to be customised to your situation. Specifically, you must enter the IP address of the computer where Butler SOS is running. That way Log4Net will know where to send the log messages we are interested in.

Action: Customise each of the four LocalLogConfig.xml files. Replace the address with the address of your Docker host. Template files are available in this GitHub repository, and in the "log_appenders" directory.

Action: Deploy the LocalLogConfig.xml files in the locations below on each Sense server that should be monitored by Butler SOS.

Sense service Location of LocalLogConfig.xml
Engine C:\ProgramData\Qlik\Sense\Engine
Proxy C:\ProgramData\Qlik\Sense\Proxy
Repository C:\ProgramData\Qlik\Sense\Repository
Scheduler C:\ProgramData\Qlik\Sense\Scheduler

Action: Make sure there are no firewalls or similar that block outbound UDP ports 9996 and 9997 on the Sense server(s) and same ports inbound on the computer where the Butler SOS Docker container runs.

When the above actions are done Sense will forward to Butler SOS

  • log events (warnings,  errors ) from the 4 services.
  • user events, which are happening when users log in/out of Sense, or open/close Sense apps.

Add Sense certificates

Butler SOS uses certificates to authenticate with Sense.

These certs are exported from the QMC (link 1, link 2). For testing purposes you can also use the default certificates in "C:\ProgramData\Qlik\Sense\Repository\Exported Certificates.Local Certificates".
If deploying Butler SOS in production you should create new certificates for that purpose.

Action: Place the certificates in the "config/certificate" directory under where the docker-compose.yaml file is stored.

Your file structure now looks like this:

├── config
│   ├── certificate
│   │   ├── client.pem
│   │   ├── client_key.pem
│   │   └── root.pem
│   └── production.yaml
├── docker-compose.yaml
├── grafana-dashboard.json
└── log_appenders
    ├── engine
    │   └── LocalLogConfig.xml
    ├── proxy
    │   └── LocalLogConfig.xml
    ├── repository
    │   └── LocalLogConfig.xml
    └── scheduler
        └── LocalLogConfig.xml

Edit Butler SOS config file

Butler SOS is extremely flexible and can be configured do to many kinds of monitoring, send the metrics to different destinations etc.

All configuration is done via the YAML config file. A sample file production.yaml is available in the GitHub repo. Edit the production.yaml file so it matches your situation.

Action: Save the config file as "production.yaml" in a directory called "config" under the directory where the "docker-compose.yaml" file is stored. See file tree above.

Action:  In the config file, replace "" with the IP address of the computer where Butler SOS is running.

Action: In the config file, replace all instances of and with the host names of your Sense server(s). If you have a single Sense server, just remove the lines for the 2nd server from the config file.

Configure and start Butler SOS, InfluxDB and Grafana in Docker containers

A single docker-compose.yaml file is used to start Butler SOS, InfluxDB and Grafana. It should work as-is.

# docker-compose.yml
version: "3.3"
        image: ptarmiganlabs/butler-sos:9.3.1
        container_name: butler-sos
        restart: always
            # Make config file and log files accessible outside of container
            - ./config:/nodeapp/config
            - ./log:/nodeapp/log
            - 9997:9997/udp             # User events from Sense
            - 9996:9996/udp             # Log events from Sense
            - NODE_ENV=production  # Means that Butler SOS will read config data from production.yaml
            driver: "json-file"
                max-file: "5"
                max-size: "5m"
            - senseops

        image: influxdb:1.8.10
        container_name: influxdb
        restart: always
            - ./influxdb/data:/var/lib/influxdb # Mount for influxdb data directory
            - ./influxdb/config/:/etc/influxdb/ # Mount for influxdb configuration
            # The API for InfluxDB is served on port 8086
            - 8086:8086
            - 8082:8082
            # Disable usage reporting
            - senseops

        image: grafana/grafana:9.1.0
        container_name: grafana
        restart: always
            - 3000:3000
            - ./grafana/data:/var/lib/grafana
            - GF_INSTALL_PLUGINS=grafana-clock-panel
            - senseops

        driver: bridge

Action: Start the tools from the command line. Here we start the tools on macOS. Check for errors. If you have followed along above there should be none.

The first lines after starting Butler SOS/InfluxDB/Grafana can look something like below. There will be LOTS of info coming from especially InfluxDB and Grafana!

➜  docker-compose up
[+] Running 30/30
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[+] Running 4/4
 ⠿ Network part2-settingupbutlersos_senseops  Created                                                                                                                                                                                                     
 ⠿ Container butler-sos                       Created                                                                                                                                                                                                     
 ⠿ Container grafana                          Created                                                                                                                                                                                                     
 ⠿ Container influxdb                         Created                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Attaching to butler-sos, grafana, influxdb
influxdb    | grep: /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf: No such file or directory
influxdb    | ts=2023-03-15T09:26:12.379631Z lvl=info msg="InfluxDB starting" log_id=0ga9J8bl000 version=1.8.10 branch=1.8 commit=688e697c51fd
influxdb    | ts=2023-03-15T09:26:12.379669Z lvl=info msg="Go runtime" log_id=0ga9J8bl000 version=go1.13.8 maxprocs=4
influxdb    | ts=2023-03-15T09:26:12.481811Z lvl=info msg="Using data dir" log_id=0ga9J8bl000 service=store path=/root/.influxdb/data
influxdb    | ts=2023-03-15T09:26:12.482151Z lvl=info msg="Compaction settings" log_id=0ga9J8bl000 service=store max_concurrent_compactions=2 throughput_bytes_per_second=50331648 throughput_bytes_per_second_burst=50331648

Butler SOS, InfluxDB and Grafana are now running in their own respective Docker containers.

Create a datasource in Grafana

Some basic configuration needs to be done in Grafana.

Action: Change password 0f Grafana's default admin account.
Open http://localhost:3000 > login using admin/admin > Enter new password (or skip) > Grafana main page shows.

Action: Create InfluxDB data source in Grafana.
Click Configuration icon in lower left > Data sources > Add data source > InfluxDB > Name = Butler SOS, URL = http://influxdb:8086, Database = senseops > Save & test > "datasource is working. 11 measurements found".

We now have a working datasource in Grafana, connected to the Sense metrics stored in InfluxDB.

InfluxDB data connection in Grafana

Import a sample SenseOps dashboard into Grafana

There is a sample Grafana dashboard in the GitHub repo (link).

Action: Copy the dashboard's JSON to the clipboard > Click on Dashboards icon on left side in Grafana > Import > Paste JSON into the "Import via panel json" text box > Load > Import > Dashboard show be visible > Click Save in dashboard's top right menu.

If you'd rather upload the "grafana-dashboard.json" file instead of pasting it into Grafana that's fine too, of course.

At this point you should see a Grafana dashboard with some metrics in it. The CPU, free RAM, user sessions and a few other charts will show data.

SenseOps dashboard in Grafana showing some basic metrics

Generate some warnings in Sense, verify they show up in Grafana

The Grafana dashboard also visualise various aspects on events comging from Sense. This can be warning or error log messages, or users logging in/out or opening/closing apps.

Action: Stop the Qlik Sense scheduler service on the Sense server. This will trigger warnings/errors in the Sense logs, which will be forwarded to Butler SOS/InfluxDB/Grafana.

Wait a while (the dashboard updates every 10 seconds), then something like this should show up:

Sense log warnings detected

Scroll down a bit, expanding the "Warnings & Errors" section of the dashbord and we see lots more details about the warnings:

Sense warnings in Grafana dashboard
Details about Sense warnings, right in the Grafana dashboard

Generate some user activity in Sense, verify it shows up in Grafana

Butler SOS also tracks user events. These are fired when users log in/out and when they open/close Sense apps.

Action: Log into the Sense hub, then open an app.

Wait a few seconds then the above actions should show up in Grafana. Opening the dashboard sections at the bottom will reveal more info about the user events.

Logging in and opening Sense app generate user events
User sessions per virtual proxy

Action: Reload the browser page of the opened app a couple of times.

The closing/reopening of the app will trigger "connection closed" and "connection opened" events, which are visualised in the dashboard.

Reload browser page with app in it generate multiple user events
Individual user events shown in table