Use dynamic runtime assets to install plugins

Dynamic runtime assets are shareable, reusable packages that make it easier to deploy Sensu plugins. You can use assets to provide the plugins, libraries, and runtimes you need to automate your monitoring workflows. Read the asset reference for more information about dynamic runtime assets. This guide uses the sensu/sensu-pagerduty-handler dynamic runtime asset as an example.

NOTE: Dynamic runtime assets are not required to use Sensu Go. You can install Sensu plugins using the sensu-install tool or a configuration management solution.

Register an asset

To add the sensu/sensu-pagerduty-handler dynamic runtime asset to Sensu, use sensuctl asset add:

sensuctl asset add sensu/sensu-pagerduty-handler:2.2.0 -r pagerduty-handler

The response should be similar to this example:

fetching bonsai asset: sensu/sensu-pagerduty-handler:2.2.0
added asset: sensu/sensu-pagerduty-handler:2.2.0

You have successfully added the Sensu asset resource, but the asset will not get downloaded until
it's invoked by another Sensu resource (ex. check). To add this runtime asset to the appropriate
resource, populate the "runtime_assets" field with ["pagerduty-handler"].

NOTE: Specify the asset version you want to install to maintain the stability of your observability infrastructure. If you do not specify a version to install, Sensu automatically installs the latest version, which may include breaking changes.

This example uses the -r (rename) flag to specify a shorter name for the asset: pagerduty-handler.

You can also open the Release Assets tab on asset pages in Bonsai to download the asset definition for your Sensu backend platform and architecture.

NOTE: Sensu does not download and install asset builds onto the system until they are needed for command execution. Read the asset reference for more information about asset builds.

If you are using a Sensu package, the asset is installed at /var/cache. If you are using a Sensu Docker image, the asset is installed at /var/lib.

Adjust the asset definition

Asset definitions tell Sensu how to download and verify the asset when required by a check, filter, mutator, or handler.

After you add or download the asset definition, open the file and adjust the namespace and filters for your Sensu instance. Here’s the asset definition for version 2.2.0 of the sensu/sensu-pagerduty-handler asset for Linux AMD64:

type: Asset
api_version: core/v2
    io.sensu.bonsai.api_url: sensu-pagerduty-handler
    io.sensu.bonsai.namespace: sensu
    io.sensu.bonsai.tags: handler
    io.sensu.bonsai.tier: Supported
    io.sensu.bonsai.version: 2.2.0
  name: pagerduty-handler
  - filters:
    - entity.system.os == 'linux'
    - entity.system.arch == 'amd64'
    headers: null
    sha512: adc6ee846b88a792cc0f384a942f8b7ff727c7d7cf6a3012a0bf97ae4bef770503f9d5c26f756047559c145ac01c62d4db9af8574d0cc451a176f1be29f52ffc
  "type": "Asset",
  "api_version": "core/v2",
  "metadata": {
    "annotations": {
      "io.sensu.bonsai.api_url": "",
      "": "sensu-pagerduty-handler",
      "io.sensu.bonsai.namespace": "sensu",
      "io.sensu.bonsai.tags": "handler",
      "io.sensu.bonsai.tier": "Supported",
      "io.sensu.bonsai.url": "",
      "io.sensu.bonsai.version": "2.2.0"
    "name": "pagerduty-handler"
  "spec": {
    "builds": [
        "filters": [
          "entity.system.os == 'linux'",
          "entity.system.arch == 'amd64'"
        "headers": null,
        "sha512": "adc6ee846b88a792cc0f384a942f8b7ff727c7d7cf6a3012a0bf97ae4bef770503f9d5c26f756047559c145ac01c62d4db9af8574d0cc451a176f1be29f52ffc",
        "url": ""

Filters for check dynamic runtime assets should match entity platforms. Filters for handler and filter dynamic runtime assets should match your Sensu backend platform. If the provided filters are too restrictive for your platform, replace os and arch with any supported entity system attributes (for example, entity.system.platform_family == 'rhel'). You may also want to customize the asset name to reflect the supported platform (for example, pagerduty-handler-linux) and add custom attributes with labels and annotations.

Enterprise-tier dynamic runtime assets (like the ServiceNow and Jira event handlers) require a Sensu commercial license. For more information about commercial features and to activate your license, read Get started with commercial features.

Use sensuctl to verify that the asset is registered and ready to use:

sensuctl asset list --format yaml
sensuctl asset list --format wrapped-json

Create a workflow

With the asset downloaded and registered, you can use it in a monitoring workflow. Dynamic runtime assets may provide executable plugins intended for use with a Sensu check, handler, mutator, or hook, or JavaScript libraries intended to provide functionality for use in event filters. The details in Bonsai are the best resource for information about each asset’s capabilities and configuration.

For example, to use the Sensu PagerDuty Handler asset, you would create a pagerduty handler that includes your PagerDuty service API key in place of SECRET and pagerduty-handler as a runtime asset:

type: Handler
api_version: core/v2
  name: pagerduty
  command: sensu-pagerduty-handler
  - is_incident
  - pagerduty-handler
  timeout: 10
  type: pipe
  "type": "Handler",
  "api_version": "core/v2",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "pagerduty"
  "spec": {
    "type": "pipe",
    "command": "sensu-pagerduty-handler",
    "env_vars": [
    "runtime_assets": [
    "timeout": 10,
    "filters": [

Save the definition to a file (for example, pagerduty-handler.yml or pagerduty-handler.json), and add it to Sensu with sensuctl:

sensuctl create --file pagerduty-handler.yml
sensuctl create --file pagerduty-handler.json

Now that Sensu can create incidents in PagerDuty, you can automate this workflow by adding the pagerduty handler to your Sensu service check definitions. Read Monitor server resources to learn more.

Next steps

Read these resources for more information about using dynamic runtime assets in Sensu:

Follow Send PagerDuty alerts with Sensu to configure a check that generates status events and a handler that sends Sensu alerts to PagerDuty for non-OK events.