Monitoring with collectd 4.3

The Collector

Blessing or Curse?

The sheer volume of plugins available for collectd can be a blessing and a curse. The plugins allow for massive flexibility on the one hand, but things can become confusing quickly. For each plugin in the example, the admin has to check the configuration parameters that can, or need to, be used in collectd.conf.

Plugins are basically scripts; in fact, they are mostly shell scripts. The parameters differ from plugin to plugin, and a few of the featured plugins are not even included in the official collectd scope and must be installed separately.

This modular design makes for a relatively high degree of complexity. Although you can definitely set up a comprehensive and fully functional monitoring environment, you can also expect a fair bit of work when you start to tackle the somewhat complex configuration work.

Graphical tools that produce a final configuration based on the configured parameters do not currently exist. Admins looking for an easy workaround to all that editing in collectd.conf are, unfortunately, out of luck.


Collectd is a complex tool that provides full-fledged monitoring and generates RRD graphs for the acquired test values. This feature greatly facilitates an admin's daily work, if you actually make it to the point where collectd starts making things easier for you.

Although installing collectd is very easy, it may take some time to build a complete collectd.conf for every single host on your network. You will spend even more time if the computers differ in a major, or even minor, way.

In terms of complexity, collectd is on par with any Nagios or Icinga installation. Thus, anyone using collectd can expect good-quality monitoring at the price of a very complex installation.

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