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Last updated: 11 Dec 2023


Many of our applications use Sidekiq (see repo) for background job processing.

Sidekiq on GOV.UK

For redundancy, we have publishing apps running on multiple machines. We would have all sorts of race conditions and difficulties querying Sidekiq if each app on each machine had its own instance of Sidekiq.

Therefore, we’ve build a GOV.UK wrapper for Sidekiq, called govuk_sidekiq. This allows all Sidekiq processes to talk to a single Redis instance. It also enables request tracing and sends activity stats to Statsd, which forwards data to Graphite to be stored.

Retry logic

Sidekiq has in built retry logic (turned on by default, but configurable). Successes, failures, job timings and retry counts are sent to statsd.

Jobs do fail, this is not inherently bad and can happen for a number of reasons. When a job fails it gets retried with an exponential backoff (up to 21 days), as long as retries are enabled. A high number of retries signifies a bigger, less transient problem maybe occurring.


There are three approaches for monitoring Sidekiq:

Sidekiq Web (aka Sidekiq Monitoring)

Sidekiq comes with a web application, Sidekiq::Web that can display the current state of Sidekiq’s queues for an application. We have configured this as the sidekiq-monitoring web app which can monitor multiple Sidekiq configurations used throughout GOV.UK.

You can access each application’s dashboard via a URL for:

Set up Sidekiq Monitoring for your application

  • Choose a port that isn’t already taken for the Sidekiq Monitoring app to be served from.
  • Add it to the Procfile in the sidekiq-monitoring repository maintaining the alphabetical order of the processes.
  • Update index.html to include a link to your application’s sidekiq-monitoring maintaining the alphabetical order of the applications. This path is configured as a location under the sidekiq-monitoring vhost.
  • Run bundle exec foreman start and test that your Rack and Redis config work as expected.

Configure the infrastructure

Add your application to the govuk::apps::sidekiq_monitoring module in Puppet, cross-referencing the Redis configuration.

Configure a path under the sidekiq-monitoring vhost

The sidekiq-monitoring vhost in nginx has one location for every sidekiq-monitoring application. Add one for your application in this puppet template.

Test that the configuration works on Integration

Once changes are merged and deployed to Integration, you can access your sidekiq monitoring instance running on Integration, and check that it works as expected.

Sidekiq Grafana Dashboard

You can also monitor Sidekiq queue lengths using this Grafana dashboard. It is available in all environments.

Sidekiq from the console

Where possible you should use Sidekiq’s web interface or Grafana to view Sidekiq stats and queues. SSHing into machines to interrogate things should be a last resort.

Sidekiq exposes a rich API which can be queried from the rails console.

The Stats class gives a nice overview.

# => #<Sidekiq::Stats:0x00007fbdf0ac4a30 @stats={:processed=>114999987, :failed=>15129, :scheduled_size=>22741, :retry_size=>1, :dead_size=>0, :processes_size=>3, :default_queue_latency=>10162.526781797409, :workers_size=>90, :enqueued=>1508687}>

# => {"delivery_immediate_high"=>949953, "default"=>451201, "delivery_immediate"=>101006, "email_generation_immediate"=>0, "email_generation_digest"=>0, "cleanup"=>0, "process_and_generate_emails"=>0, "delivery_digest"=>0}

You can also query and iterate through the Queues directly:


# => [#<Sidekiq::Queue:0x00007fe98b133590 @name="cleanup", @rname="queue:cleanup">, #<Sidekiq::Queue:0x00007fe98b133518 @name="default", @rname="queue:default">, etc...

Sidekiq::Queue.all.collect {|q| [, q.size] }

# => [["cleanup", 0], ["default", 0], ["delivery_digest", 0], ["delivery_immediate", 0], ["delivery_immediate_high", 0], ["email_generation_digest", 0], ["process_and_generate_emails", 0]]

Finally, you can do things like find and delete workers: { |job| job.klass == "AssetManagerAttachmentMetadataWorker" }.map(&:delete)