WARNING: BEACONS ARE A DEPRECATED FEATURE. This information is maintained for legacy purposes.
Beacons are Circonus's way of dealing with multi-dimensional real-time data. Typical metric data comes in as "just numbers" over which Circonus can build time-windowed statistical aggregates, or histograms. Occasionally, you have data that is simply too complex for this simple treatment.
A common web-based example and then something more systems oriented will help illustrate the type of information Beacons can handle.
Web-based Example #
Each time a user visits your website, there is a variety of information available regarding both the user's system, location, and interest, as well as telemetry such as performance characteristics. Concrete examples of each are the type and version of their browser, their IP address, geographic location and ISP, the page they are viewing, the referring site, and all of the measurements from the web timing specification.
Using Beacons, you can collect this information from visitors and apply real-time, complex queries to that data.
Database Query Example #
Circonus Beacons do not care about what the specific dimensions of your data are. While in the above example we use dimensions very specific to web browsing, we could instead use database specific dimensions. Using beacons we can track every database request, the type of request (SELECT/UPDATE/DELETE), the client that issued the request, the number of tuples involved and the duration of the statement.