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Large Scale Cacti
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Large Scale Cacti


Mike Lindsey's presentation for The Return of Not Nagios http://www.meetup.com/SF-Bay-Area-Large-Scale-Production-Engineering/events/15481175/

Mike Lindsey's presentation for The Return of Not Nagios http://www.meetup.com/SF-Bay-Area-Large-Scale-Production-Engineering/events/15481175/

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  • First slide. Breathe. Now begins the fleshy monkey talky bits.
  • What you get after a FreeBSDpkg_add, a Redhat rpm –install, or apt-get, etc.
  • Extending graph coverage is easy. Go download a template, and if needed, drop a poller script in /usr/local/cacti/scripts/
  • Graphs
  • Really. Collect –everything-You can never graph too much. You can overdue your Notification system, but you cannot overdo your historical trending data.
  • Sure. Ice Cream.Build sets of graphs from a dozen metrics, in about 20 seconds.
  • Migrating from the PHP Poller, to a compiled C poller gives a huge boost in performance, at the cost of a manageable amount of deployment effort.Install Boost, break the architecture up, and you can scale to quite well.
  • Aggregate graph creation plugin lets you get a more complete view of host clusters. If you have a more volatile environment and a static aggregate isn’t enough, alternate options exist allowing automated rebuild of aggregates.
  • Never deal with graph and tree creation again.
  • $ls –l /usr/local/cacti/cli/Most require you to run them via ‘php –q ./cli/script’.. All have –help. Read the docs.If you have a host database or a cmdb with an export function, or even a zone file with well named hostnames, and you can parse that in a script, wrapped around the cli tools, you can end up with a fully automated self-managing Cacti install. It’s a great place to be.
  • With nearly three years of operation in an extensively monitored, multi-colo, global environment with approx 2000 monitored servers; multi-poller Cacti can be accomplished with recent versions, and small-scale unofficial patches.
  • Current dev branches include integrated functionality for distributed polling.
  • Threshold plugin works like a Mini Nagios, only without the Nagios. Nectar emails off scheduled reports. Both are simple, powerful, and effective.
  • For me, Cacti works best when I can easily get data back out. Pull it out, feed it into a dashboard, use it for Nagios plugins, feed it into your business logic. Looking at your data is great, but parsing it and interpreting it relative to other data to get a complete view of your environment or application is priceless. Or, at least, many companies will charge you a very large price for it.
  • Interactive server utilization Heatmap, thanks to James Gladstone, exported Cacti data, and Google Charts.
  • Poller1’s running a little hot. It’s also on a slightly smaller box, and doesn’t get any new load from automatically added devices. If it was a VM, I’d consider reducing its allocated memory.
  • Participate in the forums, Read the docs, Contribute, Do Awesome Things.


  • 1. Large Scale CactiAggregation, Automation, CMDB Integration, Extending, Reporting, and Scaling
    Mike Lindsey – IT Architect - Cisco
  • 2. Basic Cacti
    • Requires a host with a web
    Server, a database, and PHP
    • Gives you a pretty interface, some core monitoring templates, access control, and clicky-clicky editing tools
    • 3. Useful documentation provided online. Large and active community forums.
    • 4. It’ll get the job done for a few racks of uninteresting servers, but quickly becomes limiting for complex, large, or volatile environments.
  • Templates
    A sometimes complicated process, that someone else has probably done for you.
    Hit the forums. Good templates are stickied at the top of the “Scripts & Templates” forum.
    If you want to graph it, there are probably templates already.
    If there are no pre-existing templates, you might still not need to create them.
  • 5. Graphs For Every Occasion
  • 6. Graphs For Every Occasion
  • 7. Graphs For Every Occasion
  • 8. Graphs For Every Occasion
  • 9. Graphs For Every Occasion
  • 10. Custom Data Collection
    Downloaded scripts, custom PHP/Perl/Python/Bash/etc
    $ ./script hostname
    field1:123 field2:456 field3:1.0
    Product MIBs, Net-SNMP extend variables..
    Collect everything, graph it.
    Forum search: “automatic template generation”
  • 11. …icecream?
  • 12. Spine & Boost
    Cactid - Compiled C poller
    When 296 seconds from cmd.php isn’t enough.
    Boost - Decoupled RRD updates
    Remove local file system latency from polling times.
  • 13. Aggregate
  • 14. Aggregate
  • 15. Aggregate
  • 16. Aggregate
  • 17. Autom8Automatic Graph creation and Tree manipulation
  • 18. Command-Line Tools
    .. Or, how to stop all the mouse-clicks, and make it work for you.
    Add hosts
    Add graphs to hosts
    Add hosts to trees
    Never manually add a host or graph again.
    Or if CMDB integration isn’t your thing, check out the Discovery plugin!
  • 19. Distributed Polling
    Scale the bottleneck
    Toss a poller vm in every colo?
  • 20. Going Global
  • 21. Notifications & Reporting
    Thold plugin
    Threshold templating, for simple but effective alerting.
    Nectar plugin
    Scheduled reports.
  • 22. Cacti as a Data Warehouse
    Forum search or dig around GitHub!
  • 23. Extending
    Add a little data export to Google Charts…
    Credit: James Gladstone
  • 24. Extending
    Add a little data export to Google Charts… get something awesome.
    Credit: James Gladstone
  • 25. Aggregate
    CLI Tools
    Cacti Developers:
    Ian Berry
    Tony Roman
    Larry Adams
    J.P. Pasnak, CD
    Jimmy Conner
    Reinhard Scheck
    Andreas Braun
    Tobias Oetiker
    me: Mike Lindsey mike@5dninja.netforums: gninja