Cacti

(11)
3.7 out of 5 stars

Cacti is an open-source, web-based network monitoring and graphing tool designed as a front-end application for the open-source, industry-standard data logging tool RRDtool. Cacti allows a user to poll services at predetermined intervals and graph the resulting data.

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Cacti review by <span>Jeff S.</span>
Jeff S.
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Classic Network Monitoring

What do you like best?

Cacti has been around since 2004, and if you've read any of those "Top 5 network monitoring software" lists floating around it most likely included Cacti. Since Cacti has been around for well over a decade now, there is a vast (if not always thriving) community support for most issues that you run into. The software is also still actively being worked on, which is rare in a piece of free software that has been around for so long.

So what's so great about Cacti? It is infinitely customizable. If there is a MIB or SNMP OID for something Cacti can graph it. It's free.

Customization:

Are you tired of the standard white background and green traffic graphs? Well with Cacti you can make those graphs black with yellow outlines, or red, or fuscia, or sky blue, or any internet color you want. You have the options to make the graphs wider, shorter, taller, skinnier, include 20 data points or a single data point. The customization options are almost limitless.

SNMP Graphing:

If you can pull data off of a device via SNMP, then cacti can graph it. You are also not limited to graphs, pulling integers and displaying them as text is there. I personally have even used Cacti to graph voltage off of batteries and temperature readings off of a remote sensor. Cacti is well known for network interface statistics but it doesn't stop there.

Free:

There is typically no better cost than free. Being free though does come with some drawbacks, which are made fully aware when you look at the downsides.

What do you dislike?

So you want the customization beyond network interface graphing? Get ready to spend hours searching the forums hoping that someone else has figured out how to get the information that you are trying to get. That is exactly what I had to do when looking at how to graph information from that battery and temperature sensor. While Cacti has an amazing amount of customization options the flip side is that it requires a large amount of man hours to get it working the way you want. I don't know how many hours I spent customizing the system to just get information from Ubiquiti devices.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

When I started using Cacti, I needed a system that would monitor network traffic. It did that fantastically well, it only started to become a pain point when I started to move outside of the network graphing.

There are other systems out there that allow you to monitor networking equipment (LibrNMS, PRTG) but none of them give you the granularity of control in graphing anything and everything that Cacti does.

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Cacti review by <span>Adam K.</span>
Adam K.
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Best graphing software out there

What do you like best?

Cacti is fast, flexible and best of all it's open source. If our equipment doesn't support SNMP but does have some other API, we are able to write collection scripts for Cacti so that we can graph pretty much anything.

What do you dislike?

So far I haven't found anything I dislike about Cacti.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Since it is free, you can try it without losing anything.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Our engineers, technicians and support staff needed to see historical data for our in-house and customer servicing equipment. Cacti provides that to us and allows us to set granular permissions so we can even give a customer access to read-only view specific graphs if we choose.

What Network Monitoring solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
Cacti review by <span>Yehuda K.</span>
Yehuda K.
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Hard to configure sometimes, but couldn't do without

What do you like best?

We monitor all kinds of metrics about our network switches and routers and keep the stats in Cacti. It helps us find trends and problems quickly.

What do you dislike?

Configuration is a pain. We got a new core router and adding a new brand and model device with new SNMP information can be trying.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We can adjust network links and make decisions about what links need to be upgraded based on the information available in cacti.

Cacti review by <span>Amos R.</span>
Amos R.
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Long live Cacti

What do you like best?

We use Cacti for over 10 years.

It's a fundamental part of any network monitoring project we take part of.

It's easy to use, yet allows a lot of customisation.

The variety of graph templates is really good

What do you dislike?

The community around Cacti is getting smaller.

A lot of other "cooler" apps.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Very strong and detailed network monitoring for free

Cacti review by <span>Oleg S.</span>
Oleg S.
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Good highly specialized tool

What do you like best?

+ Open source

+ Quick and easy start

+ High performance and stability

+ Good community on tech forum

What do you dislike?

- Slow development and little innovation in the new version, limited functionality

- Complicated customization (e.g. non-standard poll periods of equipment)

Recommendations to others considering the product

Cacti good as quickly install, config and it works. But in present time is better to use (for example) complex screens in Zabbix but with correctly configured templates.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Monitoring traffic loading and errors on ports of switches and routers

Cacti review by Administrator in Entertainment
Administrator in Entertainment
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Great, simple RRDTool based performance monitoring.

What do you like best?

Cacti is simple to set up, can monitor pretty much any data source and makes it easy to build custom graphs (and alerts using the "thold" plugin).

The plugin' framework added in later versions makes it easily extensible and there are lots of excellent plugins. (earlier versions can be patched to have the plugin architecture too).

If there is no template for the device you want to monitor, you can create it yourself with ease.

What do you dislike?

Older versions had a rather low frequency and retention set up for RRA files by default, and changing this at a later date could be a pain.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Just give it a go, if creating a custom template seems complicated, just keep reading the docs and forums; however there are so many templates now, you shouldn't have to in 99% of cases.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Easily and clearly monitor services, applications and devices in detail. The simplicity of cacti means it's easy to visually see trends and resolve problems. There are lots of new fancy proprietary monitoring solutions out these days with interfaces so "flashy" they make the task of checking historical trends a nightmare, this is where Cacti is a breath of fresh air.

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