Location: PHPKode > projects > Network Managment / Inventory System > clearsite/include/about/ClearsiteVSCacti.php
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 | ClearSite/ALOE, A Long Overdue Enterprise network managment solution!   |
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 | http://aloeusers.net                                                    |
 | http://clearsite.sourceforge.net                                        |
 | http://aloenms.net                                                      |
 | http://clear-site.net                                                   |
 | http://clear-site.info                                                  |
 | http://xinn.org/ClearSite.html                                          |
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print "<h1>Clearsite VS. Cacti</h1>
			 <p>We created this page because Cacti and ClearSite are very similar in function and utility. Cacti has plugin's that will do most of the same things 
			 ClearSite does, but with minor differences. For the record, ALOE is the portion of Clearsite most like Cacti. See the FAQ to find out how that 
			 name came to be.</p>
			 <p class=\"title\">Hat's off to Cacti!</p>
			 <p>Cacti is more mature than Clearsite, and a really great piece of programming, as well as an absolute inspiration for us. We love the cacti developers and 
			 community; we felt that we also had something to offer, slightly different nonetheless. We think the goals and aspirations of the tools are also 
			 very similar. This has begged the question from our beta testers: \"Why not just code for Cacti?\" or \"Why not create the plugin's and additions 
			 to their code?\" To answer the question(s) here is a little background on how ClearSite came to be.</p>
			 <p>Over the years the company we worked for would buy prebuilt tools from vendors and 3rd parties, while these tools were great in some ways, 
			 they typically tried to do too much, or the information was not logically or astatically digestible. The main problem, which one coworker 
			 succinctly put it was \"The folks that purchase the tools we use are not the folks that will or are using the tools\", basically, it looked good 
			 on paper, but the interface and or output was abysmal. We've been using Cacti and other open source tools such as Nagios for many years, 
			 and they did exactly what we wanted at the time.</p>
			 <p>We had developed a neat \"wheather-map-like\" tool a number of years ago, we dubbed ClearSite. The idea was simple, use a map of the USA, 
			 Canada and other countries we had offices in, mouse-over the cities and get a pop-up of the current frame/Ethernet graphs generated via cacti, 
			 and the current Nagios state of that router. We received accolades for the tool, and were asked if it could be extended. Our PHP experience was 
			 limited, but growing rapidly because of this tool. We then received data center rack floor plans, as well as office and cube layouts we were to 
			 get some of the same functions working with. Needless to say the process was very manual, finding the coordinates on the map, then figuring out 
			 host-ip to mac-address to switchport to cube/office location, and then locating the proper cacti graph for that switch port. We were fed up 
			 with the manual process quite quickly. We did manage to automate a few aspects, however it wasn't enough, and really wasn't as useful in the 
			 end as the first tool, too much information we felt killed the project and us from wanting to go further. </p>
			<p class=\"title\">The good news:</p>
			<p>We showed these tools to others, who offered input and interest in something similar. With the PHP/coding experience, and possible new 
			directions we could see a new tool in the future. We sat down together, and listed our likes and dislikes for all the tools and programs we 
			had used in the past and added what we would do differently. Cacti had the most pluses for us, but these were the things we didn't like about 
			certain aspects of Cacti: 
			<dl>
				<dt>Cacti: Dislikes(this was at version 0.8.6g)</dt>
				<dd>Hard to maintain a large environment</dd>
				<dd>URL's aren't meaningful enough</dd>
				<dd>No Thresholding BUILT-IN</dd>
				<dd>Can't change polling interval, needs a 1 minute cron</dd>
				<dd>Search is limited, could be better</dd>
				<dd>Too hard to change graph stacks/lines/areas</dd>
				<dd>Learning curve too steep for others not intimate with cacti</dd>
				<dd>Layout not as customizable as it should be</dd>
				<dd>Data Sources are nulled after moving a 32-bit counter to 64-bit</dd>
				<dd>RRA/RRD's are too lossy over time</dd>
				<dd></dd>
				</dl>
			<p class=\"title\">Standing on the shoulders of Giants...:</p>
			<p>Bear in mind, we still use cacti and we do love the tool, and it pains us to even mention is might be lacking in some ways. But we could 
			see there was room for improvement. So we set out to improve upon those aspects of cacti we thought could be better. We did look at Cacti's 
			code in an attempt to build off of or change the code to suit us, but it was over our heads and we munged it up pretty good. So we decided to 
			start from scratch, and see if there was anything to take from cacti and other tools that we could use. And as it turns out, we don't use 
			anyone's code but our own. We would however KILL TO HAVE or to use Cactid/Spine as our poller, that damn thing is fast. We've not dedicated much 
			time to trying to do that, but in the future we may, because that poller is like greased lightning! Also, we do not support templates at this 
			time, cacti's scripting and custom templates give it a distinct advantage over ClearSite, and we plan on getting to that soon enough. There are 
			other differences in some of our methods here and there as well.</p>
			<p class=\"title\">What we do different:</p>
			<dl>
			<dt>Our remedies:</dt>
			<dd>Dynamic port/interface/cpu additions, if it's not active, it's not polled</dd>
			<dd>URL's are more meaningful than cacti</dd>
			<dd>We have a 5 minute and 1 minute cron (I believe cacti does this now and much more)</dd>
			<dd>Ajax searching for almost everything we have data for</dd>
			<dd>Graph types are easily customized, changed and saved, much easier than Cacti</dd>
			<dd>Learning curve is much lower from our users experience vs using cacti for similar tasks</dd>
			<dd>The layouts, grouping and pages are easily customized for all users and groups</dd>
			<dd>32/64 bit counters are automatically chosen, and have the ability to be changed manually without deleting the previous data in the rrd</dd>
			<dd>We do not break the RRD into, day, week, month and year consolidations we use 105408 data points.</dd>
			<dd>Much much more!</dd>
			</dl>
			<p class=\"title\">In closing...</p>
			<p>We hope you will like ClearSite, currently we are still developing it with our own goals in mind, and we will be taking user feedback and 
			feature requests very soon. We know what we want to change about ClearSite, namely it's not templated like Cacti, which will be a drawback for 
			many potential users, but we will get to that feature soon. We hope that our tool will also inspire others to add/create and donate time to the 
			myriad of opensource tools like Cacti, Clearsite and the many other wonderful tools out there! We'd like to thank you for your time and continued 
			support for FOSS like ClearSite; and any feedback you'd like to share.</p>
";
?>
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