[rrd-developers] holt-winters smoothing

Tobias Oetiker tobi at oetiker.ch
Tue Aug 21 23:40:04 CEST 2007

Today Evan Miller wrote:

> The Holt-Winters prediction code runs a data smoother periodically so that the
> first few periods of predictions look nice and clean. There are a number of
> flaws in the smoother, and I'd like to discuss what to do about them.
> 1. The time the smoother runs during the period is calculated by hashing the
> filename. Look:
> rrd_create.c line 586: current_rra->par[RRA_seasonal_smooth_idx].u_cnt =
> hashed_name % period;
> If you ask me, this is completely nonsensical. It means that if you create two
> identical archives and feed them identical data, they rarely produce identical
> predictions. This makes regression testing frustrating until you learn the big
> "secret" of naming your archives the same thing.

Evan, just guessing (jake should know) ... the smoother produces
extra load and therefore it should not run on all rrds at the same
time ... can you judge what that load is ?

> 2. The smoother runs at different times based on whether RRDtool has received
> individual updates or a bulk update with identical data. From a comment in
> rrd_update.c:
> /* calling the smoothing code here guarantees at most one smoothing
>   * operation per rrd_update call. Unfortunately, it is possible with bulk
>   * updates, or a long-delayed update for smoothing to occur off-schedule.
>   * This really isn't critical except during the burn-in cycles. */
> This behavior is counter-intuitive and complicates testing.


> 3. The smoother takes a running average over 5% of a season. This 5% figure is
> hard-coded, and has produced quite awful predictions when I've set the season
> to be a week, since each point becomes an average over about 8 hours.
> I'm not sure about what to do about #2, but I think #1 should be made more
> consistent (say, run at a fixed interval), and #3 should perhaps be an input
> parameter, although I don't know the right interface for it.
> At IMVU, we've disabled the smoother altogether because of its problems. I
> wouldn't be averse to ripping out the smoother altogether, but I imagine others
> find the feature useful.

this wold mean an extra parameter at RRA setup time ...

unfortunately I have not used HW in production, so this is all a
guessing game to me ...


Tobi Oetiker, OETIKER+PARTNER AG, Aarweg 15 CH-4600 Olten
http://it.oetiker.ch tobi at oetiker.ch ++41 62 213 9902

More information about the rrd-developers mailing list