Cacti: traffic analysis and monitoring network

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Cacti is a complete network monitoring and data analyzing solution using RRDTool's data storage and graphing functionality. It is the most widely used monitoring tool by ISPs to see the network graphically.

Dedicated host pre configuration

Cacti has very special and fixed requirements from the host. For production systems, it must be installed on a dedicated host machine.

Note: here we use "" as the domain. please change to your domain. if you are installing locally, use "localdomain"

Hostname setup

hostname monitor

echo 'hostname="monitor"' > /etc/conf.d/hostname 

echo "monitor" > /etc/hostname

cat > /etc/hosts << EOF monitor localhost.localdomain localhost
::1 localhost localhost.localdomain

We added the ip address of cdn Alpine Linux to reduce DNS server traffic.

Repositories and packages

Unfortunately, some commands are more complex. We must take into consideration that common commands are just busybox minimalist versions, so we must make changes to ensure we are using the real ones. The following commands install bash as well as some other system tools as shown below. If they aren't present, Catci will fail randomly:

cat > /etc/apk/repositories << EOF$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/main$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/community

apk update

apk add bash attr dialog binutils findutils readline lsof less nano curl

export PAGER=less

cat > /etc/apk/repositories << EOF$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/main$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/community

apk update

apk add utmps

cat > /etc/apk/repositories << EOF$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/main$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/community

apk update

Take into consideration that if one package is retrieved, it must be the only package! i.e. not all the packages. First install all the dependencies and related files from the normal repository and later install only the required extras from edge! For that, you must visit and search for all the requirements of the involved package from edge. like utmps.


Before installing Cacti, many other packages must be installed and configured.

  • A web server e.g. lighttpd
  • The PHP scripting language
  • A database engine e.g. mariadb
  • To retreive data, net-snmp tools
  • To graph the data, the rrdtool package
Warning: These complex configurations will be necessary, as Cacti is demanding in its installation requirements to ensure complete functionality.

The web server: Lighttpd installation and configuration

Cacti runs as a web program, so we need the web server configured, Because Apache2 is so well known, we will document only lighttpd. There is a lot of info available about configuration options:

  • setup port, cache engine, event handler of lighttpd, with htdocs
  • setup web server status page
  • setup alias mod for aliasing, cgi handler, and create the directories with the correct permissions
  • setup the webserver start script and start the webserver to test it
  • add network back-end handler. file descriptor setup and improve file cache retrieval time
  • setup https and generate self signed certificate
apk add lighttpd gamin

mkdir -p /var/www/localhost/htdocs
sed -i -r 's#\#.*server.port.*=.*#server.port          = 80#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*server.stat-cache-engine.*=.*# server.stat-cache-engine = "fam"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#\#.*server.event-handler = "linux-sysepoll".*#server.event-handler = "linux-sysepoll"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

mkdir -p /var/www/localhost/htdocs/serverinfo
sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_status.*,.*#    "mod_status",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*status.status-url.*=.*#status.status-url  = "/serverinfo/server-status"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*status.config-url.*=.*#status.config-url  = "/serverinfo/server-config"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

mkdir -p /var/www/localhost/cgi-bin
sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_alias.*,.*#    "mod_alias",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*include "mod_cgi.conf".*#   include "mod_cgi.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

mkdir -p /var/lib/lighttpd
chown -R lighttpd:lighttpd /var/www/localhost/
chown -R lighttpd:lighttpd /var/lib/lighttpd
chown -R lighttpd:lighttpd /var/log/lighttpd

rc-update add lighttpd default

rc-service lighttpd restart

checkset="";checkset=$(grep 'noatime' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf);[[ "$checkset" != "" ]] && \
echo listo || sed -i -r 's#server settings.*#server settings"\nserver.use-noatime = "enable"\n#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

checkset="";checkset=$(grep 'network-backend' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf);[[ "$checkset" != "" ]] && \
echo listo || sed -i -r 's#server settings.*#server settings"\ = "linux-sendfile"\n#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

checkset="";checkset=$(grep 'max-fds' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf);[[ "$checkset" != "" ]] && \
echo listo || sed -i -r 's#server settings.*#server settings\nserver.max-fds = 2048\n#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

rc-service lighttpd restart
Warning: Next steps are recommended but optional, Cacti can use only https for the traffic between the host monitor and the rest of monitored devices! Cacti should be accessed only over TLS. (https) Otherwise, passwords and user data will be exposed. The following steps will generate a self signed cert file that will require accepting a custom exception on the web browser, but all of the https traffic will use TLS/SSL.

apk add openssl

mkdir -p /etc/ssl/certs/

openssl req -x509 -days 1460 -nodes -newkey rsa:4096 \
   -subj "/C=VE/ST=Bolivar/L=Upata/O=VenenuX/OU=Systemas:hozYmartillo/CN=localhost" \
   -keyout /etc/ssl/certs/localhost.pem -out /etc/ssl/certs/localhost.pem

chmod 755 /etc/ssl/certs/localhost.pem

cat > /etc/lighttpd/mod_ssl.conf << EOF
server.modules += ("mod_openssl")
\$SERVER["socket"] == "" {
    ssl.engine  = "enable"
    ssl.pemfile = "/etc/ssl/certs/localhost.pem"
    ssl.cipher-list = "ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:AES256-SHA256:RC4:HIGH:!MD5:!aNULL:!EDH:!AESGCM"
    ssl.honor-cipher-order = "enable"
\$HTTP["scheme"] == "http" {
    \$HTTP["host"] =~ ".*" {
        url.redirect = (".*" => "https://%0\$0")

sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_redirect.*,.*#    "mod_redirect",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

itawxrc="";itawxrc=$(grep 'include "mod_ssl.conf' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf);[[ "$itawxrc" != "" ]] && echo listo || \
sed -i -r 's#.*include "mime-types.conf".*#include "mime-types.conf"\ninclude "mod_ssl.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

sed -i -r 's#ssl.pemfile.*=.*#ssl.pemfile   = "/etc/ssl/certs/localhost.pem"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

rc-service lighttpd restart

The PHP: installation and configurations

Next requirement is the PHP scripting Language. Because Cacti are build with PHP, it has support for LDAP.

Note: Cacti supports PHP5 and PHP7. In the next section, we will only cover PHP7 because that's only version available that works with recent Alpine versions. If you use an older Alpine host for testing, you can use this command to detect what to install export phpmax=$(debver=$(cat /etc/alpine-release|cut -d '.' -f1);[ $debver -ge 6 ] && echo 7|| echo 5), the shel var phpmax indicates based on Alpine version if 5 or 7 php will be used in command lines as: apk add php$phpmax.

The commit that mess is at, is: where a specific pool for php-fpm is made for cacti. It's a mess because it's not documented. We must avoid and ignore it if we are to properly configure the general pool:

apk add php7-fpm php7-bcmath php7-bz2 php7-ctype php7-curl php7-dom \
 php7-enchant php7-exif php7-gd php7-gettext php7-gmp php7-iconv \
 php7-imap php7-intl php7-json php7-mbstring php7-opcache php7-openssl \
 php7-phar php7-posix php7-pspell php7-recode php7-session php7-simplexml \
 php7-sockets php7-sysvmsg php7-sysvsem php7-sysvshm php7-tidy php7-tokenizer \
 php7-xml php7-xmlreader php7-xmlrpc php7-xmlwriter php7-xsl php7-zip php7-sqlite3 \
 php7-gd php7-gmp php7-ldap php7-openssl php7-pdo_mysql php7-posix php7-sockets php7-xml

apk add php7-pdo php7-pdo_mysql php7-mysqli php7-pdo_sqlite php7-sqlite3 \
 php7-odbc php7-pdo_odbc php7-dba

The following configurations are for high or huge loads on a 2G RAM server, for more information about configuring PHP on Alpine Linux see Production LAMP system: Lighttpd + PHP + MySQL wiki page.

sed -i -r 's|.*cgi.fix_pathinfo=.*|cgi.fix_pathinfo=1|g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#.*safe_mode =.*#safe_mode = Off#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#.*expose_php =.*#expose_php = Off#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#memory_limit =.*#memory_limit = 512M#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#upload_max_filesize =.*#upload_max_filesize = 56M#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#post_max_size =.*#post_max_size = 128M#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^file_uploads =.*#file_uploads = On#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^max_file_uploads =.*#max_file_uploads = 12#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^allow_url_fopen = .*#allow_url_fopen = On#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^.default_charset =.*#default_charset = "UTF-8"#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^.max_execution_time =.*#max_execution_time = 90#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^max_input_time =.*#max_input_time = 90#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#.*date.timezone =.*#date.timezone = America/Panama#g' /etc/php*/php.ini

sed -i -r 's|.*events.mechanism =.*|events.mechanism = epoll|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.conf
sed -i -r 's|.*emergency_restart_threshold =.*|emergency_restart_threshold = 12|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.conf
sed -i -r 's|.*emergency_restart_interval =.*|emergency_restart_interval = 1m|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.conf
sed -i -r 's|.*process_control_timeout =.*|process_control_timeout = 8s|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.conf

sed -i -r 's|^.*pm.max_requests =.*|pm.max_requests = 10000|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*pm.max_children =.*|pm.max_children = 12|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*pm.start_servers =.*|pm.start_servers = 4|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*pm.min_spare_servers =.*|pm.min_spare_servers = 4|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*pm.max_spare_servers =.*|pm.max_spare_servers = 8|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*pm.process_idle_timeout =.*|pm.process_idle_timeout = 8s|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*pm =.*|pm = ondemand|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf

mkdir -p /var/run/php-fpm7/

chown lighttpd:root /var/run/php-fpm7

sed -i -r 's|^.*listen =.*|listen = /run/php-fpm7/php7-fpm.sock|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^pid =.*|pid = /run/php-fpm7/|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.conf
sed -i -r 's#^user =.*#user = lighttpd#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's#^group =.*#group = lighttpd#g' /etc/php*/php.ini
sed -i -r 's|^.*listen.owner =.*|listen.owner = lighttpd|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.* =.*| = lighttpd|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf
sed -i -r 's|^.*listen.mode =.*|listen.mode = 0660|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf

rc-update add php-fpm7 default

service php-fpm7 restart

After you have php ready, let's integrate it into the current preinstalled web server. We've chosen lighttpd, so the commands are:

mkdir -p /var/www/localhost/cgi-bin

sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_alias.*,.*#    "mod_alias",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*include "mod_cgi.conf".*#   include "mod_cgi.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*include "mod_fastcgi.conf".*#\#   include "mod_fastcgi.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#.*include "mod_fastcgi_fpm.conf".*#   include "mod_fastcgi_fpm.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

cat > /etc/lighttpd/mod_fastcgi_fpm.conf << EOF
server.modules += ( "mod_fastcgi" )
index-file.names += ( "index.php" )
fastcgi.server = (
    ".php" => (
      "localhost" => (
        "socket"                => "/var/run/php-fpm7/php7-fpm.sock",
        "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable"

sed -i -r 's|^.*listen =.*|listen = /var/run/php-fpm7/php7-fpm.sock|g' /etc/php*/php-fpm.d/www.conf

sed -i -r 'php-fpm7 restart

rc-service lighttpd restart

echo "<?php echo phpinfo(); ?>" > /var/www/localhost/htdocs/info.php

To test PHP is working correctly, browse to http://ipaddress/info.php Change "ipaddrs" to the web server's ip address.

The Database: MariaDB installation and configuration

Warning: Cacti also can run with PostgreSQL, inclusivelly it's a better choice for high production and huge data systems. We documented mysql only because postgresql needs complex tunning parameters

Note: You can install adminer to manage the database via a web browser. See Adminer in production LAMP systems that can manage any kind of database via a GUI
apk add mysql mysql-client tzdata

mysql_install_db --user=mysql --datadir=/var/lib/mysql

rc-service mariadb start

mysql_tzinfo_to_sql /usr/share/zoneinfo/ | mysql -u root mysql

sed -i "s|.*max_allowed_packet\s*=.*|max_allowed_packet = 100M|g" /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server.cnf

sed -i "s|.*bind-address\s*=.*|bind-address=|g" /etc/mysql/my.cnf
sed -i "s|.*bind-address\s*=.*|bind-address=|g" /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server.cnf

cat > /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server-default-charset.cnf << EOF
default-character-set = utf8mb4

default-character-set = utf8mb4

cat > /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server-default-highload.cnf << EOF
collation_server = utf8mb4_unicode_ci
character_set_server = utf8mb4
max_heap_table_size = 32M
tmp_table_size      = 32M
join_buffer_size    = 62M
innodb_file_format  = Barracuda
innodb_large_prefix = 1
innodb_buffer_pool_size = 512M
innodb_flush_log_at_timeout = 3
innodb_read_io_threads  = 32
innodb_buffer_pool_instances = 1
innodb_io_capacity     = 5000
innodb_io_capacity_max = 10000

rc-service mariadb restart

rc-update add mariadb default

After those commands run the mysql_secure_installation script, and answer as follows:

  1. Enter current password for root (for none, enter): it must be provided because we've set it previously. Correct response is OK, successfully used password, moving on...
  2. Switch to unix_socket authentication [Y/n] Not used. Must be disabled, answer NO, the response will be ... skipping.
  3. Change the root password? [Y/n] Press "n" only if you provided a good password, otherwise change it!
  4. Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] In a production system, we must remove them, so answer Y the correct response is ... Success!.
  5. Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Answer Y proper response is ... Success!.
  6. Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] You should removed it, so answer Y the proper response is ... Success!.
  7. Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Aanswer Y proper response is ... Success!.

After you respond to all of the questions, restart the service with rc-service mariadb restart

The tools: net-snmp and rrdtool

Warning: do no set agentAddress tcp:161,tcp6:[::1]:161, by default the package adds the udp 161 protocol, so if you set it, it will only listen and show info using ipv6 only

apk add net-snmp net-snmp-tools rrdtool

cat > /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf << EOF
view systemonly included .
view systemonly included .
rocommunity  public localhost
rocommunity  public default -V systemonly
sysLocation    Bolivar Upata Venezuela
sysContact     infoadmin <>
sysServices    72

rc-update add snmpd default

rc-service snmpd restart

Here we need only the commands for cacti. For more info about the topic see:

Cacti Installation

As of Alpine 3.12, Cacti still is in the edge branch, so first we pre-install the dependency packages. Afterward, from edge, we install only cacti.

Installing Cacti Packages

Warning: As of Alpine 3.5, Cacti was a only one package, i.e. "cacti". Beginning with Alpine 3.6, The cacti package is split into more than obe package. The commit that mess all is where a specific pool for php-fpm is made for cacti. It's a mess because it's not documented. We must avoid and ignore it if we are to properly configure the general pool:

cat > /etc/apk/repositories << EOF$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/main$(cat /etc/alpine-release | cut -d'.' -f1,2)/community

apk update

apk add bash busybox coreutils net-snmp-tools perl rrdtool ttf-dejavu php7-snmp

apk add cacti cacti-setup cacti-php7 cacti-lang

Cacti pre Configuration

Cacti is run under the cacti user. We temporally set the file permissions to world writeable, then later, we'll set them correctly.

cat > /etc/lighttpd/mod_cacti.conf << EOF
alias.url += (
     "/cacti/"	    =>    "/usr/share/webapps/cacti/"
\$HTTP["url"] =~ "^/cacti/" {
    dir-listing.activate = "disable"

sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_alias.*,.*#    "mod_alias",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_accesslog.*,.*#    "mod_accesslog",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sed -i -r 's#\#.*mod_setenv.*,.*#    "mod_setenv",#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

sed -i -r 's#.*include "mod_cgi.conf".*#   include "mod_cgi.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

checkssl="";checkssl=$(grep 'include "mod_cacti.conf' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf);[[ "$checkssl" != "" ]] && echo listo || sed -i -r 's#.*include "mod_cgi.conf".*#include "mod_cgi.conf"\ninclude "mod_cacti.conf"#g' /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

rc-service lighttpd restart

Cacti runs under the cacti user, but web server user (apache2, lighttpd) also needs access. So enable group access and as we said, temporally set world-writeable file permissions permissions:

  1. grant temporary access to the web server
  2. Create the cacti database and populate it
  3. Grant Cacti MySQL user access (give it a more secure password):
  4. Quit from Mysql command prompt:
  5. Import the initial Cacti MySQL database
  6. set the user, password, and database name to the cacti config file
  7. temporarily grant world-write permission to the cacti log and lib directories
chown -R cacti:lighttpd /usr/share/webapps/cacti/;chown -R cacti:lighttpd /var/lib/cacti/

mysql -u root -p -e "CREATE DATABASE cacti;"

mysql -u root -p -e "GRANT ALL ON cacti.* TO 'cactiuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'cactipassword';FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

mysql -u root -p -e "GRANT GRANT OPTION ON cacti.* TO 'cactiuser'@'localhost';FLUSH PRIVILEGES;"

mysql -u root -p -e "GRANT SELECT ON mysql.time_zone_name TO 'cactiuser'@'localhost';"

mysql --user=cactiuser -p cactipassword cacti < /usr/share/webapps/cacti/cacti.sql

sed -i -r 's#\$database_default.*=.*;#\$database_default  = 'cacti';#g' /etc/cacti/config.php
sed -i -r 's#\$database_username.*=.*;#\$database_username  = 'cactiuser';#g' /etc/cacti/config.php
sed -i -r 's#\$database_password.*=.*;#\$database_password  = 'cactipassword';#g' /etc/cacti/config.php

chmod 777 /var/log/cacti
chmod 666 /var/log/cacti/*.log

Cacti web setup install

Login using:

Password= admin user= admin

Next will be prompted to change password:

change password.

In the web page click:

-> Next

Then select new install if+ it's not selected:

-> New install, Next
Warning: take note since cacti 1.2.8 and still at cacti 1.2.10, installer have several errors for Cacti_Stats.xml.gz template, so last "check" has no description. You must uncheck last as described here: Th template can be installed later via the cli as: php -d max_execution_time=90 /usr/share/webapps/cacti/cli/import_package.php --filename=Cacti_Stats.xml.gz under the templates directory of the cacti install, but currently it hangs and never gets installed. Reported at

Then finish

-> Finish

Add to crontab:

Cacti post configuration

chmod 775 /var/log/cacti
chmod 664 /var/log/cacti/*.log

Pooler and crontab

As we said, cacti needs a crontab for pool collection of data!, these steps are not necesary as of Alpine 3.7 because the cacti package installs all necesary files.

Note: These steps are only for older cacti packages of Alpine up to version 3.6. Starting with version 3.7, cacti packages install a crontab for data collection
cd /etc/crontabs
vi root

copy to the end of the file:

*/5 * * * * lighttpd php /var/www/localhost/htdocs/cacti/poller.php > /dev/null 2>&1

In case you are using other web server have to modify the "lighttpd" user.

*/5 * * * * "web server user" php /var/www/localhost/htdocs/cacti/poller.php > /dev/null 2>&1

Add your devices and you're ready to start monitoring!

cacti plugins

If you used the latest cacti, you must use the latest development version of each plugin especially if you're using php7 on your webserver:


cd /usr/share/webapps/cacti/plugins/

wget -O cacti-1.2.11-plugin-monitor.tar.gz
wget -O cacti-1.2.11-plugin-gexport.tar.gz
wget -O cacti-1.2.11-plugin-routerconfigs.tar.g
wget cacti-1.2.11-plugin-reportit.tar.gz
wget -O cacti-1.2.11-plugin-reportit.tar.gz

After extract all of the files, change and fix permissions:

cd /usr/share/webapps/cacti/plugins/

chown -R cacti:lighttpd /usr/share/webapps/cacti/

chown -R cacti:lighttpd /var/lib/cacti/

Go to cacti configuration and plugins via the web interface to install and enable all of them.

Re-installing Cacti

Let's suppose you make a mess of everything and want to reinstall all of it from the beginning. Let's get started:

Erase everything cacti related

  1. remove istalled packages
  2. remove configuration files
  3. remove databases and users from mysql/postgresql (here only mysql for example)
  4. reconfigure to not load the cacti web server configuration
  5. restart services because the cacti pool was erased and lighttpd must reload its config files
apk del cacti cacti-setup cacti-php7 cacti-lang

rm -rf /var/log/cacti

rm -rf /usr/share/webapps/cacti

rm -rf /etc/cacti

mysql -u root -p -e "DROP DATABASE cacti;"

mysql -u root -p -e "DROP USER 'cactiuser'@'localhost'"

sed -i "/include \"mod_cacti.conf\"/d" /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

rc-service php-fpm7 restart

rc-service lighttpd restart

After you complete all of these steps, repeat all the steps from Cacti_Installation section.

See Also