[smokeping-users] Rasp-Pi smokeping slaves

Gregory Sloop gregs at sloop.net
Fri Mar 29 19:26:08 CET 2013

Perhaps slightly off-topic, but I thought it might be interesting to
others and a starter for ideas for others...

Building on the concept of using a Raspberry Pi as a smokeping slave
[Thanks to Ioannis Theodoridis] for the push!] I've completed one.

As a FYI: I'm a consultant and need to monitor both external facing
connects as well as internal systems for multiple clients.

I've played with running the Pi's as full masters, with MRTG and
Nagios running. They can do it, at least for smaller installations.
[Over-clocking them helps some] But the Pi's are pretty CPU maxed. If
you drop Nagios, it gets much better... 

However, running smokeping as slave, and using SSH tunnels back to the
"mother-ship" allows me to see all the sites in one central location,
and secure the communication channel easily. [SSH is easier than
building OpenVPN pipes or something.]

I also use Nagios on the main master system to do alerts should
smokeping results fall into criteria that need attention. [I like
Nagios' reporting much better than SP. This isn't a knock to SP, just
that it was never intended to be a sophisticated alerting/escalation
tool and it shows.]

This also allows me to use the slaves to hit the external facing
portions of things from multiple viewpoints - which is valuable
because I'm seeing more and more subtle routing and latency issues
that are not universal. [i.e. RTT or packet loss occurs only between
POP's in the same ISP's network, or only to traffic that is peered
with specific other networks, etc.]

So, having the additional views of the same end-point from other
networks, via other peers etc, can be valuable in troubleshooting

I'm not completely done with the Slave Pi image, but if anyone would
like to snag a copy, I'd be glad to give it up when I'm done.

It's not like doing to work yourself is hard, but it's still a fair
bit of work, and time. Starting from an image that already has all the
packages installed and configured is nice.

I also have MRTG + routers2 [HT Shipway] loaded but set not to run at
startup. Doing moderate MRTG polls [say, less than a few hundred
targets] is very do-able on the Pi.

MRTG operates as a stand-alone setup, obviously - since there's no
other option.

CPU use is obviously higher when actually cranking routers2 data,
than when polling, but still very reasonable.

I've configured it to be as secure as I know how, using IPTables
lock-down as well as user auth with the MRTG/Apache pages, among other

Glad to discuss if anyone is interested.

For the price, power use, solid-state design and simplicity, I'm
seriously impressed with a Raspberry Pi as a slave - or even a small
master smokeping+MRTG setup.


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