Monitoring and Debugging Erlang and Elixir Applications in the Cloud

Are you looking for efficient ways to monitor and debug your Erlang and Elixir applications in the cloud? Look no further! In this article, we're going to explore tools and techniques used by cloud computing experts to monitor and debug applications written in Erlang and Elixir.

Importance of Monitoring and Debugging

Before diving into the details, let's explore the significance of monitoring and debugging. Monitoring your application provides information about its health, performance, and behavior. With robust monitoring, you can identify issues before they become a problem for your users. Also, debugging your application helps in finding the root cause of an issue and fixing it. It helps in maintaining a high-quality user experience that builds trust and loyalty.

Challenges of Monitoring and Debugging Erlang and Elixir Apps in the Cloud

Erlang and Elixir have become popular for building high-performance, scalable, and fault-tolerant applications in the cloud. However, monitoring and debugging these applications have their own unique set of challenges.

Erlang and Elixir applications are complex, running across multiple nodes and processes in a cluster. They're designed to self-heal and recover from failures automatically. Therefore, traditional monitoring tools may not be sufficient to monitor these applications. Additionally, these applications tend to produce large volumes of data, making it difficult to identify issues manually.

Monitoring Erlang and Elixir Apps in the Cloud

Monitoring an Erlang or Elixir application in the cloud is critical to ensure its health, performance, and longevity. Let's explore some of the popular monitoring tools used by cloud developers.

Erlang Observer

Erlang comes with a built-in monitoring tool, known as the Observer. This tool provides real-time performance metrics, visualizations, and analysis of Erlang nodes running in a cluster.

The Observer tool provides insights into the working of the Erlang virtual machine (VM), such as process statistics, memory usage, and application-specific metrics. It also provides a graphical representation of message passing between processes with a graphical process supervisor chart.

Using Observer, you can monitor the health of your Erlang application, identify bottlenecks, and find the root cause of performance issues. It is a great tool for developers who want to keep an eye on their application constantly.


AppSignal is a cloud-based application monitoring and error tracking tool for Elixir applications. It helps in identifying and resolving incidents before it affects the user experience.

AppSignal provides real-time performance monitoring, error tracking with comprehensive stack traces, and notification system. When an error occurs in your Elixir application, AppSignal notifies you via email, Slack, or PagerDuty. You can dive into the details of the error, debug it, and find the root cause of the problem. Additionally, it helps in optimizing your application's performance by highlighting slow database queries, bottlenecks, and other issues.

With AppSignal, you can get a bird's eye view of your Elixir application's performance and health in the cloud.


Prometheus is an open-source monitoring system and time-series database for cloud-native environments. It is widely used for monitoring containerized applications like Kubernetes, but it is equally capable of monitoring Erlang and Elixir applications.

Prometheus collects and stores real-time performance metrics with a pull-based model, which means that the data collection agents must request the data from the targets to get the metrics. It provides powerful dashboards and alerting features for visualizing the data.

Using the Prometheus client libraries for Erlang and Elixir, you can instrument your application to expose metrics like HTTP requests, CPU usage, memory usage, and more. Prometheus automatically discovers these metrics and scrapes them regularly. You can use Grafana to build dashboards and set up alerts to detect anomalies in your Erlang and Elixir applications.

Grafana Loki

Grafana Loki is a cloud-native log aggregation and querying system that simplifies logging for cloud-native applications. It is designed to work in conjunction with Prometheus and other monitoring tools to provide a complete observability solution for the Erlang and Elixir applications in the cloud.

Grafana Loki is built on top of Prometheus and uses the same pull-based model for data collection. It collects logs at scale with minimal overhead and enables fast searching and querying of logs in real-time.

By coupling Prometheus with Grafana Loki, you can gain deep insights into your Elixir application's performance and behavior by correlating performance metrics with log data.


Monitoring and debugging Erlang and Elixir applications in the cloud is a challenging task due to their distributed and fault-tolerant nature. However, with the right set of tools and techniques, you can ensure the smooth running of your applications in the cloud.

In this article, we explored some popular monitoring tools such as Erlang Observer, AppSignal, Prometheus, and Grafana Loki. These tools provide real-time performance metrics, error tracking, log management, and alerting features. With these tools, you can identify issues, debug them, and optimize your application's performance.

Keep exploring and experimenting with these tools to find the best combination to monitor and debug your Erlang and Elixir applications in the cloud. Happy coding!

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