[Nagiosplug-devel] Suggested alterations to the Performance P rotocoll

Karl DeBisschop karl at debisschop.net
Fri Sep 10 19:04:29 CEST 2004

Voon, Ton wrote:
>>From:	Karl DeBisschop [SMTP:karl at debisschop.net]
>>Ben Clewett wrote:
>>>9.  Limit protocol to just numerical data:  No.  But will not be 
>>>supported by some storage programs
>>Right - programs that are built for graphing would be expected to ignore 
>>such data. But that does not give license to design the guideline such 
>>that nothing but graphing can ever be done with the data.
> 	[Voon, Ton]  [apologies for using Outlook]
> 	Actually, I disagree on this fundamental point. I think perf data is
> **only** about graphing the data - this is why I am against strings and
> check_time labels. 
> 	I've been thinking a lot about this and I think what is required is
> the concept of "additional structured data". The status output gives an
> overview, the perf data gives the graphing and the "additional structured
> data" gives plugin-specific stuff that can be processed in some way.

I like the idea of "additional structured data"

But I don't see how it in any way suggests we should require that all 
perfdata be numeric.

Sometimes the data itself is a string (e.g., the current status of a 
printer - ONLINE/OFFLINE, or the DHCP-assigned IP address of an 
interface, or the hostname of a machine connected to a particular port 
on a Shiva terminal concentrator)

SNMP recognizes this - if has the capacity to return simple strings and 
other "interesting" data like IP addresses. Why should we assert that if 
someone monitors a string via SNMP, that they will not be able to use 
perfdata to create a long-term log of that data?

Note that I'm not requiring anyone to actually handle that data - I'm 
only saying that we should not create a data specification that forces 
one view of perfdata utility (graphing) onto the world as a whole, when 
there may be other uses also.

And what is the cost of allowing strings? We use "$NAN$ instead of "NAN" 
and "$$" instead on "$". A small effort.

I just do not see how the new guideline will benefit significantly by 
outlawing string data. If someone has explained the harm in allowing 
strings, I have just missed it, and could you repeat the argument?


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