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PHP Script Server

The PHP Script Server is a new feature in Cacti 0.8.6. This new feature allows for the rapid execution of PHP based Data Queries in Cacti. The Script Server process is launched by the poller during every polling cycle. It listens for commands from the poller, executes them, and then waits for an quit signal.

The reason that it is so fast is that PHP is started in memory only one time, and for every Data Query called, it's code is interpreted only once. The resulting Data Query binaries are therefore very efficient. Using the Script Server process over the traditional POPEN process nets a 20+ fold speed improvement in Cacti.

Since PHP scripts are so powerful, this new feature in Cacti, makes it an excellent choice for collecting non-SNMP and SNMP based data.

Using the PHP Script Server

The technique that is applied here uses the PHP include method. Assume, that your script is called myscript. For convenience, we prepend PHP script server modules with a prefix of ss_, denoting the use of script server. This makes the following name: ss_myscript.php. Now, write your code as part of a function, that will be included by the script server. Again, for convenience, we use the module's name as the name (of the first) function: ss_myfunction. Now we have a PHP module called ss_myscript.php which includes a function called ss_myfunction that has all your code.

As an extension, please note that a single module ss_myscript.php may hold several distinct functions, e.g. ss_myfunction1 and ss_myfunction2 and so on.

Cacti 0.8.7 contains two sample script server routines. They are for the collection of HostMib CPU and Disk Partition information. These two examples are based off the traditional POPEN version of the HostMib functions found in earlier versions of Cacti.

For new installs, the HostMib functions are defaulted to using the PHP Script Server, therefore, you don't need to do anything to use it.

For upgrades, you must make several changes to start using the PHP Script Server for the HostMib CPU and HostMib Partitions Data Queries. To migrate you must follow the step

Upgrade Steps for the Example HostMib Data Queries

If you are using the two built in script queries, “SNMP - Get Mounted Partitions” and “SNMP - Get Processor Information”, you can migrate to the PHP Script Server using the steps below:

  1. Verify the existence of New Data Input Method - Go to Data Input Methods, verify that you see the “Get Script Server Data (Indexed)” Data Input Method exists and that it is using the ”Script Query - Script Server” method.
  2. Disable the Poller - Goto Settings→Poller and uncheck the Poller Enabled checkbox. Press Save.
  3. Update Your Data Queries - Go to Data Queries and Edit the two Data Queries below. Change both their Data Input Method to ”Get Script Server Data (Indexed)” and in the XML path replace ”script_query” with ”script_server” as shown below:
    1. SNMP - Get Mounted Partitions
    2. SNMP - Get Processor Information
  4. Update Your Data Templates - Goto Data Templates, locate the following two data templates and change their data input method to ”Get Script Server Data (Indexed)”.
    1. Host MIB - Hard Drive Space
    2. Host MIB - CPU Utilization
  5. Re Enable the Poller - Go to Settings→Poller and check the Poller Enabled checkbox. Press Save.

Following those steps should complete your migration to the new PHP Script Server for the two example HostMIB Data Queries.

Migration of Existing PHP Scripts to Script Server

If you have other PHP scripts that you wish to migrate, you must follow the steps below to migrate your scripts to the PHP Script Server required format.

Script File Changes

Each PHP Script file must be changed to the new Script Server format. The changes are not dramatic, but required for the proper operation of the PHP Script Server. Follow the steps below to complete.

  1. Copy you existing script to a new name. The name must begin “ss_” followed by your script name. The “ss_” identifies the script as being a script server variety of the a PHP script. For example, if you previously had a script called “get_mysql_stats.php”, it's new name would be “ss_get_mysql_stats.php”.
  2. Edit the new PHP script and add the following required lines to the file, where “ss_myfunction” is the same as your filename.
    $no_http_headers = true;
    /* display No errors */
    include_once(dirname(__FILE__) . "/../include/global.php");
    include_once(dirname(__FILE__) . "/../lib/snmp.php");
    if (!isset($called_by_script_server)) {
       print call_user_func_array("ss_myfunction", $_SERVER["argv"]);
  3. What was originally just mainline code, must be replaced with a function name. For example, if your program previously contained the following three lines of code:
    $a = 100;
    $b = $a / 10;
    print $b;

    Would become:

    function ss_myfunction() {
       $a = 100;
       $b = $a / 10;
       return $b;
  4. If you have any additional functions declared within your script file, you must prefix them to make then unique amongst all functions. Our recommendation would be to prefix all functions with the name of the main function. For example if you have a function called “meme” you would rename it to “ss_myfunction_meme”. This guarantee's correct Script Server functionality.
  5. The last step is to change the function call that could have traditionally returned the value to the Cacti poller using the PRINT function. You must change that line or lines in your code to utilize the RETURN function instead. However, this does not apply to PRINT statements that are not called from the Poller.

XML File Changes

If you are using a ”Script Query” type function, then you must also change your XML file. Please reference the XML files in the <path_cacti>/resource/script_server directory for the specifics related to your required modifications. However, you may also follow the instructions below:

  1. Modify the <script_path> tag. Change it from:
    <script_path>|path_php_binary| -q |path_cacti|/scripts/myscript.php</script_path>

    to simply the following:

  2. Add the following two XML tags below the <script_path> tag. Replace ss_myfunction with your function name:
  3. Save the XML file.

Data Query & Data Template Changes

Your Data Queries and Data Templates must be also changed. Although somewhat self explanatory by now, you must make the following changes:

  1. Change it's Input Method to ”Get Script Server Data” or ”Get Script Server Data (Index)” depending on it's type.
  2. Change the XML file path to point to the new XML file in the <path_cacti>/resources/script_server/*.xml path.
  3. For all data templates that use the data query you must change their ”Data Input Method” accordingly.

Your final step is to go to the System Utilities and Clear Poller Cache to apply the new settings. If you script is operating correctly, you should now be migrated to the script server.

Testing Your Script in the Script Server

To test your script in the script server, simply follow the instructions below. When you have finished you testing, simply type “quit” <cr> at the Script Server command line to exit the script server.

  1. Start the script server - You can do this by typing the following command:
    shell> php <path_cacti>/script_server.php

    NOTE: Due to a bug in Windows implementation of PHP, you must type the full path name to the script_server.php file.

  2. Type in your command - Using the example from above, you would type in the following:
     script server> <path_myfunction> my_function argument1 argument2 ...

    In the Windows environment, your example could be the following:

     script server> c:\\wwwroot\\cacti\\scripts\\ss_myfunction.php ss_myfunction localhost public 1 get duddle
  3. If your function is operating properly, you should get a result.
  4. To quit the script server, simply type “quit” <cr> at the command line.

NOTE: If there are errors in your script, you must restart the script server before your retest your code.

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