[rrd-developers] rrdupates per second

Scott Brumbaugh scottb at prolexic.com
Tue Jun 10 18:01:17 CEST 2008

Hi Bernard,

Sorry for the double mail.  The first one went from a different email

On Mon, Jun 09, 2008 at 10:42:16PM -0700, Bernard Li wrote:
> Hi Tobias:
> On Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 10:31 PM, Tobias Oetiker <tobi at oetiker.ch> wrote:
> > the prime method to gain performance is to have more cache
> > available, since this will enable the system to be able to keep all
> > hot rrd blocks in memory and thus only 'modify-write' disk blocks
> > as opposed 'read-modify-write' them. (It will have todo reads too,
> > but only ocasionally).
> >
> > Since 1.2.24 or so, rrdtool tries to inform the OS (tested on
> > linux) that it should not read-a-head when accessing rrdfiles, but
> > just keep the current block around. By this we use less cache per
> > rrdfile and thus can keep more hot-blocks in memory.
> >
> > If you do not see this improvement then maybe your OS does not
> > support the fadvise call or rather configure did not pick it up
> > correctly.
> >
> > In 1.3 the whole fadvise/madvise thing has been further tuned, and
> > on top of that all the IO is mmaped which cal also help.
> There are noticeable improvements with 1.3, but not enough to
> eliminate the need for the tmpfs workaround.
> I will dig deeper to confirm whether my OS (CentOS 4.x) supports
> fadvise and whether the rrdtool RPM was built correctly with that
> option enabled.
> > does this mean ganglia calls rrd_update and links librrd ? or does
> > it call out?
> Yes, that is the case AFAIK.  The code in question is viewable here:
> http://ganglia.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/ganglia/branches/monitor-core-3.1/gmetad/rrd_helpers.c?view=markup
> Thanks,
> Bernard

The general problem we faced with rrd was how to scale the number of
files.  There are different ways to tune the rrd files, disks and
filesystem for better performance, but regardless at some point the
system will hit a maximum.  The solution we are using is to distribute
the rrd storage load across multiple servers, when one reaches
capacity we can add another in parallel.

The simplest way to do this is by using separate hosts for polling and
using NFS to mount the rrd storage partitions onto a central host for
graphing.  We experimented with this technique for a while but there
are some disadvantages.  For one, the storage hosts need to be located
close to the grapher on a fast LAN or NFS can have problems.  This
will be an issue if your poller servers are separated across the
Internet or a WAN.

We took a different approach and separated the rrd file readout code
from the graph creation code and added a network communication layer
between them.  This allows us to store rrd files on multiple hosts and
access them transparently with the rrd_graph command.

There is a patch on this list that contains this code:


The network messaging is based on a middleware framework called ICE
that has a lot of performance features built in and the patch requires


Scott B

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