Cool and Collected with collectd

Tutorials – Collectd

Article from Issue 194/2017

The collectd tool harvests your system stats and stores them for plotting into colorful graphs.

Linux has a host of command-line tools for probing what's going on under the hood. To list just a few examples, there's top, which shows what processes are using which resources, df, which shows how much disk space is free, and iftop to show how much data is flowing through the network.

If you really want to get fine-grained details, you can poke about in the /proc filesystem that the kernel automatically populates with precise details of everything that happens, but it can be a little too low-level for mere mortals to understand. Although all these tools are useful, they all have one fatal flaw: They only tell you what's happening right now. In this article, we're going to look at collectd [1], which hoovers up your system stats and stores them, ready to be interrogated and plotted into colorful graphs.

You'll probably find collectd and kcollectd (the graphical front end we'll be using) in your package manager. On Debian, Ubuntu, and derivatives, you can install them with:


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