[rrd-users] Getting an overview of many statistics...

Alex van den Bogaerdt alex at vandenbogaerdt.nl
Fri May 29 12:38:08 CEST 2015

I would generate a number of squares, showing either green, amber or red. 
Clicking on a square of interest would bring up detailed information for 
that interface (together with an RRDtool graph).

The layout of the squares depend on what I'm looking at. It could be a 
geographic map, a network map, or even just a matrix of 32 columns by as 
many rows as needed.

All green is all good.

I would NOT include logic which compares one interface to the others. Bad is 
still bad, even if other interfaces are also bad. If all interfaces are 
doing equally bad, you would want to show all red, not all green.

Squares could show information from the last hour and last hour only. Or, if 
so desired, a gradient from red to green, as a relative percentage of good 
vs. bad. over the last 24 hours or so.
Squares could be divided into 2 or 4 triangles, showing independent 
There will be some point where adding more information to the overview 
results in less readability.

Defining 'normal', 'not so good' and 'really bad' is a challenge which needs 
to be determined together with the customer. After all, these are his 
interfaces and his expectations. Bandwidth utilisation near 100% and packet 
loss would probably be important factors to make decisions. Maybe each 
interface could have its own set of limits.

Input data for the script can come from 'rrdtool graph'. Do not use graphing 
elements, use PRINT instead of GPRINT, and you can get averages, maxima, et 
cetera to use in your decision tree. The more information you need to 
extract, the more computing power will be needed.

Can RRDtool do the rest of what I suggested: no.  RRDtool is not a graphing 
program and although sometimes it is 'abused' as such, in many cases this 
involves unnessesary complexity.  Creating, filling and reading a database 
every time just to display 24 columns (1 for each hour) is IMHO a waste of 
resources. Just script it, or write a program in the language of choice. 
Depending on how complex you want to make it, you could create the overview 
page using a script generating html and css only, or create a complex 
program which uses a graphics library and generates a clickable map.

I'm sure others will have more suggestions, or can even provide suggestions 
for existing software to use instead of reinventing the wheel.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peter Valdemar Mørch" <peter at morch.com>
To: <rrd-users at lists.oetiker.ch>
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2015 11:38 AM
Subject: [rrd-users] Getting an overview of many statistics...


I'm looking for a little inspiration and experience here.

We have a customer that has about 400 interfaces and he'd like to get an
overview of "How these interfaces are doing". When there are more than
about 15-20, looking at each individual graph simply brakes down.

My user wants an idea of what the "normal" situation is, and information
about the worst outliers / extreme cases.

Looking at average and standard deviation is a possibility, but most of my
users (and I) really have no good intuitive feeling for what standard
deviation really "means". Plus "outlier/extreme" information is lost.

I've seen that smokeping does something interesting, see e.g.


The "historgram" approach where darker grey implies more datapoints in this
"region" could be cool. This gives the overview. Have no idea how this is
accomplished, though.

I was thinking of using a "histogram" approach like above overlayed with
showing the actual graphs of the N worst outliers/extremes. But that
implies lots of scripting and analysis to create the histogram (I'm
guessing) and to identify the outliers.

So: What have you guys done when creating an overview of many statistics?
I'll leave you with this picture from the gallery:


This is exactly the situation I want to avoid....



Peter Valdemar Mørch


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