What is Cacti?
Cacti is a tool for network data collection, storage and presentation. It provides a frontend to many of the functions of rrdtool (which is used for the underlying data storage and graph generation), as well as the interfaces for managing the configuration and graph presentation. Data is collected from remote devices on a regular interval (usually every 5 minutes) and stored in Round Robin Archives (RRA's), which are special-purpose data files. The stored data can then be retrieved and graphed in real-time. Historical data is typically presented in daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly views, though data for arbitrary timeframes can also be selected.
How we use Cacti at NCREN?
We use Cacti primarily to collect and present traffic utilization data for network connections that represent a particular school or school district, or an aggregate of multiple communities:
Why is Cacti important?
Having an historical view of traffic usage is one of several tools that allows us to better understand the utilization characteristics for a given network or community, which in turn helps us with capacity planning, general engineering and architecture, and helps our customers better understand their own utilization patterns.