How to delete old targets in Prometheus database

by Daniel Pham
Published: Updated:
This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Install Prometheus and Grafana on Ubuntu 18

In this article, I will show you how to delete old targets in the Prometheus database. While using Prometheus to monitor your system, the system may change.

For example, the server changes its IP address, the domain to be monitored is no longer in use, etc.

At times like that, the database will still load old data of these targets that no longer exist. So how to delete these old targets from the database?

Enable API admin

First you need to enable the admin API in Prometheus. Otherwise you might get an error like this (or something similar).

{"status":"error","errorType":"unavailable","error":"Admin APIs disabled"}

To enable API for admins, open prometheus’s systemd file.

nano /etc/systemd/system/prometheus.service

Recommended Reading: Install Prometheus and Grafana on Ubuntu 18

Add the following parameters to the ExecStart section:


The file content will be as follows:

Description=Prometheus systemd service unit

ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/prometheus \
--config.file=/etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml \
--storage.tsdb.path=/var/lib/prometheus \
--web.console.templates=/etc/prometheus/consoles \
--web.console.libraries=/etc/prometheus/console_libraries \
--web.listen-address= \
--storage.tsdb.retention.time=60d \



Then you reload the daemon and restart the prometheus service.

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl restart prometheus

Delete the old targets in the Prometheus database

How to delete old targets in Prometheus database
Delete the old targets in the Prometheus database.

To delete an old target in the prometheus database, use the following syntax:

curl -X POST -g 'http://localhost:9090/api/v2/admin/tsdb/delete_series?match[]={instance="target-name"}'

For example, if I want to delete the target monitor, check ping

curl -X POST -g 'http://localhost:9090/api/v2/admin/tsdb/delete_series?match[]={instance=""}'

When you run the above command, if the terminal window does not return any screen, it means your deletion was successful.


This is just a small operation, but it is very useful when you work with prometheus. Hope this article helps you, stay tuned for the next articles.

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