What is Cacti?
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Devices / Device Templates
Supports SNMP, ICMP, TCP and UDP Availability Checking
Includes Built-In Support for meta attributes such as Site, Location, and External ID for asset tracking
Provides Automatic Graph and Data Source creation control through Automation and Discovery
Supports extensible attributes through various Cacti Plugins
Graph assignment controlled through Device Templates which allow associating from one to many Graph Templates and Data Queries to their Devices
Includes built-in Device Templates for Generic SNMP, Net-SNMP, Windows, and Cisco Routers and Switches with much more available from the Cacti Community
Graphs / Aggregates / Graph Templates
Graph Items include LINE[x], AREA, STACK, HRULE, VRULE, GPRINT, and COMMENT
Graph Item Data Sources can be modified either through RRDtool CDEF's or VDEF's
Graph Items can leverage AVERAGE, MIN, MAX and LAST Consolidation Functions
Graphs and Graph Templates include both Left and Right Axis support
Graph and Graph Template editing support logical grouping of GPRINT Graph Items is provided to the parent Graph Item for ease of management
Graphs and Graph Templates include support for most of RRDtools Graph features including various Auto-scaling options, alternate min and max values and slope mode
Graphs can be either Controlled by a Template or in Advanced Mode, individually created
Multiple Graphs from a single Graph Template can be merged into Aggregate Graphs
Data Sources / Templates / Profiles
Defines RRDtools Round Robin Database File structure in Cacti
Each Cacti Data Source can contain from one to many RRDfile Data Sources
Data Collection frequencies are independent of the Data Source and Template and controlled by a Data Source Profile
RRDfile size and retention settings for each Data Source and Template are controlled through Data Source Profiles.
Each Cacti system can contain multiple Data Source Profiles and all can be used concurrently depending on the Cacti administrator
Data Collection / Polling
Data is collected via SNMP OIDs or scripts. Scripts can pull data from databases or run arbitrary code. Data collection is controlled by a Data Input Method.
Data collection can be distributed across many sites using Remote Data Collectors. Remote Data Collectors allow for more resiliency in Cacti's Data Collection framework supporting offline caching in the case of a network interruptions.
Data Collection includes built in SNMP support that can use either PHP's build in snmp support or Net-SNMP binaries provided by your OS vendor.
Data Collection can be extended to other protocols through Plugins. For example, the WMI plugin collects WMI data from Windows and other WMI compatible devices and stores in the Cacti database for rapid Data Source creation and updating.
Ability to retrieve multi-dimensional data based upon a Cacti concept called a Data Query. A Data Query is defined as data that is identified by its index. Examples of Data Queries include: Multiple network interfaces on a switch, each having Graphs of Packets and Bytes per second, and various error counters for each interface in a switch, or storage I/O, Bytes read/written, and Queue lengths from various mounted file systems on a server.
A high speed memory resident PHP-based script service to execute php scripts without the overhead of continually forking binaries which must re-interpret the script every time it is called.
Both Multi-process and Multi-thread Data Collection all the way to the Device level for devices that include up to 10's of thousands of Data Sources.
Templating and Packaging
Multiple Template types are included in the base Cacti install including Device, Graph, Data Source, Aggregate, and Color
Device Templates allow consolidation of supportable Graph Templates and Data Queries for a specific Device Type including Linux Servers, Switches, Routers, Firewalls, etc.
Graph Templates provide a way to reproduce Graphs for various Devices inside of your Cacti install thus reducing the cost to setup and maintain your Cacti installation
Data Source Templates make it easy to store the desired Round Robin Database file structure for your Cacti Graphs and Graph Templates.
Aggregate Templates make it easy to create Cacti Graphs that combine common elements from similar Graphs into a single Graph. For example, Aggregate Templates are important in showing the aggregate traffic into and out of a router, site or region.
Color Templates are used for Color Rotations inside of Aggregate Graphs. They make Aggregate Graphs look more consistent from Graph to Graph
Templates can be Imported and Exported as either static XML files, or in Package archives which include all components of a Template including the Template XML files, scripts and Data Query XML files
Discovery and Automation
Provides automation scheduling of network scans to discover SNMP enabled devices and add them to Cacti automatically
Provides the ability to selectively add Graphs to Devices based upon pre-defined Graph creation rules
Provides the ability to create custom Graph Tree and Tree branches based upon rules
Is extensible to Plugins such at the THold Plugin which will automatically create fault management alerts based upon rules
Graph Viewing Options
Graphs can be grouped into custom Graphs Trees, or through built in Site level Trees
The Graph List View allows users to construct a list of Graphs that they ultimately want to view in a single pane of glass, and then provides the ability to bookmark that Graph page
The Graph Preview mode displays all of Graphs from a single page. From that page, users can search for the Graphs they are looking for using regular expressions
Users can save their own Graph Settings including render mode, number of columns, graph title display, date display as well as other options
In addition to List View, Graph Trees can be bookmarked for easy access in future browsing sessions or to be shared with other users
Graph data can be exported in CSV format to be shared with others
When the Cacti Guest user is enable, Cacti Graphs can be embedded in other websites through a simple Image tag
Plugins allow the Cacti framework to be extended into other operational aspects within an operations management organization
The Cacti Group provides support for almost two dozen Plugins for various purposes.
The THold Plugin is used for Graph based Fault Management
The Syslog plugin is used for Log based Fault Management
The MacTrack Plugin is used for Device Tracking and notification
The Intropage Plugin is used for Dashboarding of the main Cacti console page
The Router Configs Plugin supports router backup and compare functions
Several other plugins can be found on the Cacti Groups GitHub page
Users and User Groups
User based management allows administrators to create users and assign different levels of permissions to the cacti interface.
Permissions can be specified per-graph for each user, making cacti suitable for co location situations.
Each user can keep their own graph settings for varying viewing preferences.
Theming and Internationalization
Cacti provides six built in themes including the 'Classic' Cacti theme in addition to several others
Theming is fully open, any user may simply copy one theme directory to a new one creating a new theme, which can then be modified as desired to change Cacti's persona.
Cacti utilizes jQueryUI's theming system. So, it is possible to further extend Cacti using that framework
Cacti has been partially translated into several languages for International support
Users may contribute to furthering Cacti's multiple language support at https://translate.cacti.net
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