[mrtg] Distributed MRTG Polling

Steve Shipway s.shipway at auckland.ac.nz
Fri Dec 21 12:07:05 CET 2012

> I'm curious to know what the recommended approach is to setting up a
> distributed instance of MRTG.

We have had three different ways of doing it!

First, we had separate instances of MRTG/RRD with the Routers2 frontend.  The Routers2 frontend has a 'distributed mode', where it provides a common interface, hopping between the various backend servers as required.  This worked, but had a number of disadvantages in performance, cross-site scripting problems, and accessing the different RRD files from other applications.

Next, we had multiple installations of MRTG with rsynch'd copies of subsets of the config files.  These would run with the rrdcached option, so that the collected data were sent back to the central collector MRTG host over rrdcached.  The central machine was running the rrdcached and RRD database, and Routers2 on the main copy of the cfg files.  This works, but requires the Trunk version of RRDTool 1.4 (so that rrdcached supports update, create and info) and MRTG v2.17.4 or later (so that MRTG has RRDcached support).  It keeps the data in a common place for access from 3rd party apps and is much more efficient.

Finally, we are now using gearman to schedule the checks.  The gearman daemon runs on the central collector, and schedules checks over the cluster of satellite servers via their own local gearman client running embedded perl and MRTG.  This frees us from the problem of having to ensure that each satellite has its own MRTG daemon and cfg files in a separate location, and means we can add and remove satellites without issue.  Of course, in your situation, you still want to split the MRTG tasks by location, so the gearman additions would not give you much additional ability, other than resilience.

Feel free to drop me a direct email if you'd like more details on how we've set this up.


Steve Shipway
ITS Unix Services Design Lead
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Floor 1, 58 Symonds Street, Auckland
Phone: +64 (0)9 3737599 ext 86487
DDI: +64 (0)9 924 6487
Mobile: +64 (0)21 753 189
Email: s.shipway at auckland.ac.nz
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