[rrd-users] Re: Using stack vs lines - opinions?

Henk Uijterwaal (RIPE-NCC) henk at ripe.net
Tue May 28 16:03:05 MEST 2002

On Tue, 28 May 2002, 'Donald Mahler' wrote:

> Using rrdtool,  I am currently graphing  between 5-15 lines on the same
> graph, showing for example server  cpu consumption across all servers in a
> specific business unit.    it seems to work great (now that I am setting
> colors that differentiate nicely :-)
> Question: I was wondering if people had any guidelines or opinions
> regarding the use of lines vs stack.  When do you use lines vs when do you
> use stacks.
> The stack option certainly seems more interesting looking, but I am not
> sure how well it looks when the "lines" need to intersect a lot.  Is it
> best used when the data tends to "stack" cleanly?

I use stack when when the sum of the quantities is relevant, lines when
it isn't.

For example: when plotting CPU load of one machine, the sum of user,
system and nice is relevant, so I'd use stack, but when plotting the price
of 3 different stocks, the sum is not relevant so I use 3 lines.

Also, lines suffer from the problem that they might be hard to understand
when 2 or more frequently have the same value as they end up on top of
eachother. Stacks OTOH suffer from the problem that it is hard to see the
variations in the upper parts of the stack if the lower ones vary a lot.
(Of course, this can be circumvented by putting the more constant
variables at the bottom of the stack).


Henk Uijterwaal                    Email: henk.uijterwaal at ripe.net
RIPE Network Coordination Centre     WWW: http://www.ripe.net/home/henk
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That problem that we weren't having yesterday, is it better? (Big ISP NOC)

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