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Remstats was written by Thomas Erskine at the CRC in Canada and now looking for work.

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Release Notes

Note: These release notes do not cover the usual install, just differences from previous version, new features and special procedures involved in upgrading from one version to another. In other words, this isn't a short-cut, it's more stuff you've got to read. Sorry.

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.13a

Bug Fixes

Significant changes

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.12b

Bug Fixes


  • If you're upgrading, you should switch from run-remstats to run-remstats2. The former will be going away soon and the latter is much more flexible.
  • moved the default location of the datapage directory. If you don't change yours, then all the pagemakers will run every time, which is bad. Edit your general config-file and change datapagedir to something outside /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config. The new default is /home/groups/r/re/remstats/data/DATAPAGES, which you should probably use unless you have reasons to do otherwise. Then move /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config/datapages to /home/groups/r/re/remstats/data/DATAPAGES, or wherever you decided to put it.
  • replaced the remoteping rrd with remoteping-*, allowing one RRD per remoteping-server host.
  • renamed cleanup to remstats-cleanup to avoid name collisions. Make sure that you change the remstats user's crontab.

New Features

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.11b

  • all configuration files/directories will be checked to see if the configuration has changed, to determine if run-remstats needs to run the pagemakers.
  • New rt-updater program to watch info on a specified host+RRD+graph in near real-time. It's not well integrated with everything else, but it's still usefull for testing.
  • New program-collector to run external programs to supply values for RRDs, written by Arnauld Michelizza.
  • All the collectors now honor a stop file. If there is a file in the configuration-specified tempdir called STOP-programname, then the collector called programname will exit after reading its configuration. This is more for debugging, but there may be other reasons to use it. This is similar to the feature in run-remstats and run-remstats2.
  • New show-config.cgi to allow configuration browsing. No editing. Also, it's incomplete, but it does do the important pieces: hosts, and rrds and what they refer to. However, it's not secure, in that it may reveal too much, such as SNMP community strings. Make very sure that you control access to it.
  • Make install now will make default htpasswd and htgroup files for use with apache's htpasswd feature, if it can find an htpasswd program in the path. These will also be used by the new access_control routine which will be used to control access to all the cgis.
  • configure will now do proper checking for required and optional perl modules. Missing required modules will abort configure; missing optional modules will mark the files which require them so that they won't be syntax checked (which would fail).

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.10b

If you see this version, you're really fast. Please remove it and take 1.0.11b instead.

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.9b

Note: There is a new target in the Makefile: upgrade. It's supposed to do the required changes for folks who are upgrading from previous versions. It won't work for upgrading from versions before 1.0.4a. It has NOT been exhaustively tested, especially for earlier versions. If the install target notices that the configuration directory exists, it will try to do the upgrade for you. To use it manually:


	make all
	make upgrade
	make install

New Features

  • The new run-remstats2 program replaces run-remstats. It also brings two more config-files run and run-stages. This permits run-remstats2 to be completely configurable in what programs get run. This can be used to run more processes in parallel, but intelligently divided, to permit the run to complete more quickly.

    [UPGRADE] If you are upgrading, this will require you to do the following, before doing the install:

    	mkdir /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config-base/run-stages
    	ln -s /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config-base/run /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config/run
    	ln -s /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config-base/run-stages /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config/run-stages
  • The new headerfile directive for the hosts config-file permits you in inject arbitrary information into the host header.
  • The new currentvalue directive for the rrds config-dir permits you to store the current value of variables in status files in the host's data directory. Particularly useful in conjunction with the headerfile directive. Can also be used to permit other processes to act on values collected by the collectors.
  • A new section, sar, for the unix-status-server. This runs "sar -A" and parses the result. Unfortunately, there is no consistency about what data is available or when the various items should be called, so the RRDs are OS-specific.

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.8a

Another minor release.

New Features

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.7a

Another minor release. This one gets rid of GIFs and replaces them by png files.

Also some minor bug-fixes.

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.6a

Oops. There was a small glitch in the install for 1.0.5a. Here's a fixed version.

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.0.5a

New Features

  • RRD config-files can now (like host config-files) have keys associated with them. This was mainly added for the new page-writer, but could be of other use.
  • graph-writer has been replaced by page-writer, which writes directory trees of pages from simple templates. The original look of the pages graph-writer created has been re-created with 8 templates totalling 94 lines. Other completely different interfaces can now be created.
  • macinfo a script (and cgi) to look up MAC addresses from an ethernet switch via SNMP and show, for each port on the switch, which host is on that port (by MAC address or IP number or domain-name, or a combination). The related script update-switch-ports will also update the description of each interface on the switch, with the host which is connected to it.
  • The unix-status-server has some new sections to make available various data from /proc under linux, including disk I/O, memory, ...
  • alert-monitor get some new relations: <daystddev, <weekstddev <monthstddev (to compare standard-deviations), |> |< (absolute value comparisons), delta>, delta< (change comparisons).
  • the links config-file now has a more flexible definition and all the links are now configurable.
  • the lockfile script and remstats-backup which uses it.
  • the hosts config-file has a new directive tags to allow processing of sub-sets of all hosts.
  • The new ntop-collector, configured by the ntops config-file, allows you to collect stats on protocol usage distribution.
  • The graph.cgi script now allows the time-span to be user-specified, and also the graph width and height.
  • All the collectors now accept -H, -G and -T flags to allow them to be run on subsets of all hosts, for an explicit list of hosts (-H), all hosts in a list of groups (-G), or hosts which have a particular tag (-T).
  • A new dbi-collector to collect information from remote databases. Look at the rrd dbitest1 for an example of how to create your own.
  • A new config-file environment to set up the environment for children of run-remstats.
  • The log-server implements a new function lastof to permit it to match patterns, while maintaining state from previous runs. See the RRD nfsproblems for an example.
  • A new utility remstats-rrdtune to tune all the RRD files to match the remstats RRD definitions. Or as much tuning as rrdtool will do. The big one that you probably wanted, mucking with archives, it doesn't do.

Release Notes for Remstats version 1.00a4

[There is no version 1.00a3.]

It's always a good idea to run check-config after changing any of the config-files, but it's also a good idea to run it after doing an upgrade, especially when, as in this version, there are changes to the config-files.

Mostly small new features and bug-fixes, except:

  • Incompatible: re-written alert-sending mechanism. Permits easily written new methods of sending alerts, by separating the alert-text generation (see alerter) from the alert-sending (see alert-email and alert-winpopup). The new alert-destination-map config-file permits mapping an alert-destination to different addresses depending on the time-of-day, day-of-week, ... and its alias facility permits sending to a list of addresses which may use different methods of sending the alert.
  • Incompatible: The unix-status-server's do_df now returns bytes not K-bytes. This avoids silliness in the graphs saying that you've got 20k kbytes free. It may have been correct, but it wasn't intuitive. You can multiply all the old numbers by 1000 to convert RRDs.
  • Warning: new-config now copies the configuration files which you are likely to change, so that your changes won't be overwritten by an update to remstats. Unfortunately, as all updates (including this one) will overwrite config-base, so people upgrading from a previous version of remstats should convert the following files from symlinks to config-base into copies of those files:
    • alerts alert-destination-map general html links tools

    You can do this by running the supplied convert-config-links script BEFORE INSTALLING THIS VERSION

New Features

  • the new datapage-status script generates datapages for each host, which will show the current values of all rrd variables. There is a new tool in the default tools config-file which will show this page, and it's been added to the defaults generated by the new-xxx-hosts programs.
  • Host templates. So that you can configure similar hosts like:
    	desc	whatever
    	template their-template

    Can also be used to make changing some things for many hosts easier. E.G., you could have a template, say default-nt-status-server which contained:

    	nt-status-server some-host

    and configure all hosts which use c<some-host> like:

    	template default-nt-status-server
  • New availability-report and availability-report.cgi and config-file availability for reporting on "availability".
  • New nt-status-server and nt-status-collector and RRDs for them (ntactivity, ntmemory, ntpaging, ntnetwork and ntlogicaldisk-*).
  • New cleanup program to remove stale files.
  • New new-snmp-hosts now adds other rrds than snmpif-*
  • New new-unix-hosts program to add hosts which are running the unix-status-server with the apropriate rrds.
  • ought to work with perl 5.6 now. I'm not using perl 5.6 on the main collector yet, but it seems to install correctly on a test system.
  • run-remstats now checks all configuration sub-directories to figure out if anything has changed, so you ought to be able to just edit files and the changes will get caught on the next run.
  • remstats internal instrumentation allows monitoring remstats collectors, for now. More later. Look at the pseudo-host _remstats_.
  • removed old Overall Index, since I never looked at it, and wrote a new RRD Index, which I was wanting.
  • new nt-discover program to discover and add NT systems

    Note: this adds the new discovery config-file which must be locally configured. I won't even attempt to guess at values here.

  • The old alertflag entry in the html config-file has been replaced by three new entries: alertflagcritical, alertflagerror and alertflagwarn, allowing e.g. different colors for the different levels of alert.
  • datapage.cgi now does variable substitution properly for HTML macros. See the example datapage under /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config/datapages.
  • datapage.cgi and dataimage.cgi have two new commands: alertstatus and alertvalue to fetch alert statuses and values. To be used on forthcoming status pages.

Release Notes for Remstats version 0.13.1

I fixed a minor buglet in 0.13.0 which was noticed shortly after release. I was annoyed enough with it that I made 0.13.1.

Release Notes for Remstats version 0.13.0 (AKA 0.12.2)

There are lots of little improvements, which are detailed in the Change History, which I'm not going into here. The main incompatible changes are:

  • The configuration structure ($main::config) now has the graphs stored under $main::config{RRD}{$wildrrd}{GRAPH} instead of $main::config{GRAPH}, so there won't be problems with having the same graph-name defined under two different rrds. This will only affect you if you've been writing your own code for remstats, like a new page-maker. I thought that the bug was annoying enough and difficult to figure out when it was triggered that the incompatibility was worth the change.
  • After typing $main::config{CUSTOMGRAPH} instead of $main::config{CUSTOM} one too many times, I renamed $main::config{CUSTOM} to $main::config{CUSTOMGRAPH} which is what it should have been all along. Again, this should only affect you if you've been writing your own remstats code, like a new page-maker.
  • Changed default location for datapages to /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config/datapages, so that all the configuration, including the datapages are together.
  • Removed the general config-file directive pagesas since all the generated pages are CGIs now. Check-config will abort if you still have it. Just delete that line in the general config-file.
  • use strict in all the scripts (unless I missed some) in preparation for perl 5.6, which doesn't like use vars. Shouldn't bother you unless you've been writing remstats code, in which case, you probably know what to do.
  • To deal with alert templates (see below), you'll need to manually fix your config-dirs. For each one, you need to:
    	su terskine
    	cd your-config-dir
    	cp /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config-base/alert-template-map .
    	mkdir alert-templates
    	cp /home/groups/r/re/remstats/etc/config-base/alert-templates/* alert-templates
  • remoteping-collector has been modified to return the server-name instead of a number to differentiate the data from different servers. There's also a new remoteping-* wildcard RRD to make it more usefull.

Customgraphs on host-index pages

The new customgraph graphname directive for host config-files permits you to add a customgraph to a host-index page. (Thanks Marek.)

graph.cgi - remstats graphs anywhere

Like it says, using the new graph.cgi, you can put remstats graphs on any page you want.


You can now define your own pages with page-layout of your choice using views. (Thanks to Marek and Thorsten and Matt and anyone else I've forgotten.) Don't forget to add view-writer to the list of pagemakers if you've changed the default.

ping-* rrd

You can now ping different interfaces on a host separately (Thanks Steve)

fileage section for unix-status-server

This allows you to fetch the last-modification-time for specified files. It was written to allow remstats to monitor lock-files to check for stale locks. There is no included rrd using it as lock-files are all over the place.

port-collector can collect data from results

The port-collector has always been able to send a string to remote services to that it could tell if they were working correctly. Now it can pull values for RRDs and status-files from the results as well. I've included a sample rrd (weathernetwork) and script (weathernetwork) to collect current weather data for Ottawa. Look at the updated docs for scripts config-files.

new script - snmpif-description-updater

The snmpif-description-updater will keep the descriptions on snmpif-* RRDs up-to-date with whatever you've set as ifAlias for that interface. (Thanks Steve Francis.)

Alert Templates

This feature allows you to customize the alert messages by addressee or by RRD. Look at the docs in alert-template-map and alert-templates.

Autoconf-like configure

You can now do:

	make install

for the beginning of of the install.

Release Notes for Remstats version 0.12.1

Ideally, this document will only have to tell you about the great new features of remstats in this version.

Not this time.

In addition, due to various stuff (read the Change History), this covers changes since version 0.11.1.

Configuration File Replaced by Configuration Directory

The old "one huge configuration file" has been replaced by a directory of files and sub-directories. (See the new configuration docs for details.) This means that most programs don't need to read and parse everything, including stuff that they're not going to use. It also makes it easier to find things, as you can go directly to the file that has what you want, e.g. details on a particular host. It also made possible the newly revamped replacements for make-ping-hosts, make-port-hosts and make-snmp-hosts, which will insert their additions directly into the appropriate configuration files.

There is a new script, split-config, which will take your old config-file and a new name and generate a new config-dir from it.

On a related note, I broke the groups line out of the general config-file into its own file. It's easier to see what you've got. split-config will do this for you. Also the (undocumented) [html] section will absorb large portions of the [general] section which really belong to wep-page generation.

If you've made your own collector, you'd better look at the new skeleton-collector for the required changes. Just change read_config to read_config_dir, with extra args. There's also documentation on how to write your own collector.

do-remstats replaced by run-remstats

The old do-remstats shell-script and all the kludgy shell-scripts that went with it and the watchdog and lockfile scripts have all gone away. The replacement run-remstats does everything they did and does it correctly. It's also configurable, so you don't need to modify the scripts to change which collectors you want to run, e.g.

A new feature of run-remstats configurability is that you can have it run the ping-collector before everything else and not bother trying hosts that didn't answer it. You can also choose which collectors, monitors and pagemakers to run.

CGI scripts and non-default config-dirs

At the moment, the supplied CGI scripts don't deal with non-default config-dirs. I do consider this to be a problem, but I need to get this release out to deal with other serious installation problems.

You can work-around this by editing the installed CGI scripts and putting in the correct definition for $config_dir, near the top.

plugin-collector is gone

It was an inefficient, difficult-to-configure, kludge and isn't needed anymore with the new run-remstats.

pre-release testing automated

You won't see it, but I hope you'll all notice the improvement in release quality.

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Last updated Fri May 30 13:51:05 PDT 2003 by <>.