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Cacti 0.8 Network Monitoring
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This book starts with taking the reader through every step that is needed to set up Cacti. While there are Linux distributions that provide Cacti, the book also shows how to set it up manually, which is a good solution for users that want to have more control over Cacti. Every step is shown in an easy to follow way which makes setting it up trivial. The only downside is that the book focuses on Debian/Ubuntu and APT packaging system - it would be of great benefit to also show similar path for RPM packages.
The book then goes on to configuring Cacti along with explaining underlying technologies like RRD, which is the Round Robin Database that is used for data and graphs. It also explains the concept of templates, reusability and why it is important to use them. The book also introduces SNMP, which is used for retrieving information from network aware devices and XML used by Cacti.
While the book introduces every concept related to Cacti the thing I found missing is extending some of them, such as more details on RRDTool - better understanding of RRDTool would allow making graphs better. SNMP chapter was also introducing the basics, but a continuation for readers interested in more details would also be beneficial. The book is only 116 pages and additional 2-3 chapters would be enough to introduce features for more advanced users.
I would recommend this book for new users of Cacti users. It should help them set up graphs much faster. This book will not provide much value for experienced Cacti users as it focuses only on the basics.
The first few chapters merely provide a brief overview of what Cacti is, and poorly written installation guide. The middle part of the book brings you through step-by-step on how to set up graphs, templates and so on. Nothing insightful, and no value over trying Cacti out by yourself. Finally the last few chapters only give a very brief overview of SNMP and network management concepts - again nothing insightful and very relevant to Cacti.
Stay away from this book - you can get more useful guides by searching online. You may also want to consider other alternatives to Cacti such as Nagios, ZenOSS or OpenNMS.