How does Sentry aggregate errors?

I am using Sentry (in a django project), and I'd like to know how I can get the errors to aggregate properly. I am logging certain user actions as errors, so there is no underlying system exception, and am using the culprit attribute to set a friendly error name. The message is templated, and contains a common message ("User 'x' was unable to perform action because 'y'"), but is never exactly the same (different users, different conditions).

Sentry clearly uses some set of attributes under the hood to determine whether to aggregate errors as the same exception, but despite having looked through the code, I can't work out how.

Can anyone short-cut my having to dig further into the code and tell me what properties I need to set in order to manage aggregation as I would like?

[UPDATE 1: event grouping]

This line appears in sentry.models.Group:

class Group(MessageBase):
    """
    Aggregated message which summarizes a set of Events.
    """
    ...

    class Meta:
        unique_together = (('project', 'logger', 'culprit', 'checksum'),)
    ...

Which makes sense - project, logger and culprit I am setting at the moment - the problem is checksum. I will investigate further, however 'checksum' suggests that binary equivalence, which is never going to work - it must be possible to group instances of the same exception, with differenct attributes?

[UPDATE 2: event checksums]

The event checksum comes from the sentry.manager.get_checksum_from_event method:

def get_checksum_from_event(event):
    for interface in event.interfaces.itervalues():
        result = interface.get_hash()
        if result:
            hash = hashlib.md5()
            for r in result:
                hash.update(to_string(r))
            return hash.hexdigest()
    return hashlib.md5(to_string(event.message)).hexdigest()

Next stop - where do the event interfaces come from?

[UPDATE 3: event interfaces]

I have worked out that interfaces refer to the standard mechanism for describing data passed into sentry events, and that I am using the standard sentry.interfaces.Message and sentry.interfaces.User interfaces.

Both of these will contain different data depending on the exception instance - and so a checksum will never match. Is there any way that I can exclude these from the checksum calculation? (Or at least the User interface value, as that has to be different - the Message interface value I could standardise.)

[UPDATE 4: solution]

Here are the two get_hash functions for the Message and User interfaces respectively:

# sentry.interfaces.Message
def get_hash(self):
    return [self.message]

# sentry.interfaces.User
def get_hash(self):
    return []

Looking at these two, only the Message.get_hash interface will return a value that is picked up by the get_checksum_for_event method, and so this is the one that will be returned (hashed etc.) The net effect of this is that the the checksum is evaluated on the message alone - which in theory means that I can standardise the message and keep the user definition unique.

I've answered my own question here, but hopefully my investigation is of use to others having the same problem. (As an aside, I've also submitted a pull request against the Sentry documentation as part of this ;-))

(Note to anyone using / extending Sentry with custom interfaces - if you want to avoid your interface being use to group exceptions, return an empty list.)

Answers


See my final update in the question itself. Events are aggregated on a combination of 'project', 'logger', 'culprit' and 'checksum' properties. The first three of these are relatively easy to control - the fourth, 'checksum' is a function of the type of data sent as part of the event.

Sentry uses the concept of 'interfaces' to control the structure of data passed in, and each interface comes with an implementation of get_hash, which is used to return a hash value for the data passed in. Sentry comes with a number of standard interfaces ('Message', 'User', 'HTTP', 'Stacktrace', 'Query', 'Exception'), and these each have their own implemenation of get_hash. The default (inherited from the Interface base class) is a empty list, which would not affect the checksum.

In the absence of any valid interfaces, the event message itself is hashed and returned as the checksum, meaning that the message would need to be unique for the event to be grouped.


I've had a common problem with Exceptions. Currently our system is capturing only exceptions and I was confused why some of these where merged into a single error, others are not. With your information above I extraced the "get_hash" methods and tried to find the differences "raising" my errors. What I found out is that the grouped errors all came from a self written Exception type that has an empty Exception.message value.

get_hash output:

[<class 'StorageException'>, StorageException()]

and the multiple errors came from an exception class that has a filled message value (jinja template engine)

[<class 'jinja2.exceptions.UndefinedError'>, UndefinedError('dict object has no attribute LISTza_*XYZ*',)]

Different exception messages trigger different reports, in my case the merge was caused due to the lack of the Exception.message value.

Implementation:

class StorageException(Exception):

def __init__(self, value):
    Exception.__init__(self)
    self.value = value

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