Monitoring data with Collectd

I’ve been using collectd for quite a while just to monitor the performance of my workstation. I’ve tried other solutions (cacti, munin, etc) but I didn’t like how it all worked or the graphs it created, the amount of work required to have it working, or any other reason, finding collectd to be overall a good solution for my monitoring needs (which are basically graphing and getting some alerts). I like it because it generates nice and good graphs (among other things):

But what I like the most about it is the architecture it’s got for sending data and its low memory footprint.

Today I’ve been playing with it to use the network plugin and I quite like it. The network plugin allows you to have clients sent the monitoring results to a central server, just like the picture below. It sends the data using UDP, which then is captured by the server which will store the data in rrd files and thus having all the data centrally stored. This way, it guarantees that the server it’s not going to block on sending this data. Obviously we want to make sure our connection is reliable.

Collectd Architecture

Which means that you can have collectd running on a number of computers and having them sending the data to a server which can be used to store all this data and display it. The magic about it is that the memory footprint is very small (it’s written in C) and that it can send the data to a single server or more than one, even sending them using a multicast group, which is very nice.

Things that it, allegedly, doesn’t do very well is monitoring and generating alerts (but last version it claims it can have simple thresholds). Also, the web interface collection3 written in perl is a major liability.

So, I’m planning on spending a few more hours playing with this and possibly coming up with an article on how to set it up integrated with my systems and trac. Such that I :

  1. Have a plugin to display graphs on a wiki page, on trac possibly.

  2. Have it sending the data via openvpn (although the latest version supports encryption and signing) for clients behind a firewall.

  3. Make the most use of the plugins.

Any suggestions for a better web interface for collectd?

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