PHP Weathermap and CactiPosted: June 2, 2007
Once again, open source proves its usefulness. Currently we’re implementing a rather large network monitoring setup from several large companies, mostly with TLAs as their company names. These cost millions of dollars to buy, hundreds of thousands of dollars to customize and equally as much to get the basics working in your environment. I used to use a tool called tkined back in the day to monitor our ISP network via bandwidth graphs overlayed on a network diagram. This was real-time and was the ultimate in network monitoring at the time. Strangely, the tools have all advanced, but I had yet to find something to do an equivalant graphical view of the network. That was until I found PHP Weathermap, which can be installed as a Cacti plugin. We already had a small Cacti installation that just needed to be expanded to include the majority of our core routers (it was mainly being used for ancillary routers and switches), and then I drew the map on top of an existing Visio I exported to PNG. The result:
This gives a near real time view of network bandwidth utilization. It was exactly what I was looking for. When I discussed this with the team doing the implementation from the TLA company, they said it might be possible, but I have a feeling it’s going to cost more than it would take a programmer to rewrite this from the ground up. Thus is enterprise software: the more expensive the package, the less you get out of the box and the more likely you are to end of spending hundreds of thousands if not millions only to replace it with something simpler.