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README - information about RRGrapher


README - information about RRGrapher


RRGrapher, the Round Robin Grapher, is a Graph Construction Set for RRDTOOL. This document is the RRGrapher README $Revision: 1.6 $, $Date: 2000/04/04 16:35:25 $.


I'm pleased to announce the release of RRGrapher-1.013.

RRGrapher is a front-end for RRDTOOL that allows you to interactively build graphs of your own design. Also it allows you the freedom to use any combination of other RRDTOOL frond-ends such as MRTG, Cricket, and 14all to create and maintain the .rrd files, but generate graphs containing data from any of those sources in the same graphs.

I originally wrote this tool in 1999, and upon releasing FlowScan-1.002, another front-end of mine for RRDTOOL, I realized that I use RRGrapher all the time and it'd be nice if FlowScan users had access to it so they didn't go criminally insane trying to maintain rrdtool graph command lines by following the examples in FlowScan's Makefile.


RRGrapher is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License, and is available to you at:

Mailing List

There is an announcement mailing list having to do with RRGrapher:

This list is hosted by the Division of Information Technology's Network Engineering Technology group at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. To subscribe send email to:


   subscribe rrgrapher-announce

You should receive an automatic response that will request that you verify your request to become a member of the list, to which you must reply with the authentication information there-in. Then, in response to your reply, you should receive a welcome message. If you have any questions about the administrative policies of this list's manager, please contact:


   * perl version 5


Edit the script's CONFIGURATION SECTION (near the top) and then install it as ``.cgi'' script for the web server (e.g. Apache) running *on the same machine* as where the .rrd files reside.

If you don't have, or want, Apache on the same machine as where you produce .rrd files, I've found it convenient to simply scp or rcp the .rrd files over to the web server periodically via cron.


Hopefully usage is somewhat self explanatory. Here's a step-by-step, demonstrating the ``logic'':

   1) You should see a list of Available Databases - these are the
      ".rrd" files that you configured.  Select one or more of these
      which contain the data sources that you'd like to graph.
   2) If the Database contains multiple Data Sources of different types,
      such as bytes and packets which wouldn't make sense to attempt
      to plot on the same graph, consider using the "Data Source RegExp"
      to limit which Data Sources will be selected when you click "Add>>".
      E.g. I often enter "bytes" as the regular expression when using
      ".rrd" files created by FlowScan.  One might enter "ds[01]" as the
      filter to get just in and out octets with Cricket-produced Databases.

   3) Click "Add>>" to select the Data Sources.

   4) Choose the "Plot Type".  I often use "AREA" for the first Data
      Source, and "STACK" for all the subsequent Data Sources.

   5) If desired, change the color selections.  Clicking "Update Colors"
      isn't necessary unless you want to see them before generating the

   6) Add a Data Source of your own, using an RPN expression.
      This is an advanced option, you must understand RRDTOOL's graph
      feature to do this.  An example would be to enter
      "A,B,+,0.000007629394,*" to add source A and B, then convert
      from bytes to megabits.

   7) Click either "Graph Data Sources" or "Graph Data Sources to GIF"
      to produce the graph.  I find myself almost always using the former
      since it results in the graph being displayed above the rest of
      the user-interface.  "Graph Data Sources to GIF" is more suitable if
      you want to save the results to a file using your web browser.

   8) You can continue to use the above steps to tweak the graphs as
      you'd like.

   9) Once you have something you like, add it to your "Bookmarks" or
      "Favorites" of your web browser.

   10) To do an entirely different graph, I'd suggest starting all over.

Current Limitations, Bugs

When RRgrapher gets an error it may simply show a broken graph icon, or some other web server error message. Please check your web server error log. I intend to catch more of these errors in future revisions and send them to the user in the web browser.

RRGrapher is slow on some machines, on some network connections, and with some web browsers.

Its performance is partly based on the number of rrd files you make available to it in your configuration. Currently, it's faster to tell it to look in the ``leaf'' node directories than to have it recursively find all files under a ``root'' directory hierarchy, such as ``cricket-data''. I expect to speed this up in future revisions.

Slowness is also due in part to RRGrapher being a simple CGI - no fancy databases helping it along or anything. It sometimes causes hundreds of Kbytes to be exchanged between the web server and browser. I'm making the browser do all the work by storing all the graph options in the form and in hidden fields.

To remedy this I'd need a database on the web-server-side to store your queries, and would need to use cookies and lots of stuff that I don't have time to do right now, nor do I know if I ever want to do such a thing.

In the mean time, one way to speed things up once you've got a graph you like is to bookmark the URL of just the GIF output itself (i.e. use the ``Graph Data Source to GIF'' rather than simple the ``Graph Data Source'' button).

Copyright and Disclaimer

Note that this document is provided `as is'. The information in it is not warranted to be correct. Use it at your own risk.

   Copyright (c) 2000 Dave Plonka <>.
   All rights reserved.

This document may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety (including this authorship, copyright, and permission notice), provided that no charge is made for the document itself.