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Visage is a web interface for viewing collectd statistics.

It also provides a JSON interface onto collectd's RRD data, giving you an easy way to mash up the data.


  • Renders graphs in the browser with SVG, and retrieves data asynchronously
  • Easy interface for building, ordering, and sharing collections of graphs
  • Interactive graph elements - toggle line visibility, inspect exact point-in-time data
  • Drop-down or mouse selection of timeframes
  • JSON interface onto collectd RRDs
  • Support for FLUSH using either collectd's rrdtool plugin, or rrdcached

Here, have a graph:

Something I prepared earlier - Visage 3.0 graph.


N.B: Visage must be deployed on a machine where collectd stores its stats in RRD.


On Ubuntu, to install dependencies run:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential librrd-ruby ruby ruby-dev rubygems collectd

Then install the app with:

gem install visage-app



Visage uses yajl-ruby to work with JSON, which requires Ruby >= 1.8.6. CentOS/RHEL 5 ship with Ruby 1.8.5, so you will need to use Ruby Enterprise Edition.

Endpoint provide packages for REE and a Yum repository to ease installation.

Follow the above instructions for installing REE, and then run:

sudo yum install -y librrd-dev ruby rubygems collectd
gem install librrd

Then install the app with:

gem install visage-app

CentOS/RHEL 6+

On CentOS 6, to install dependencies run:

sudo yum install -y ruby-RRDtool ruby ruby-devel rubygems collectd

Then install the app with:

gem install visage-app

openSUSE 12.3+

On openSUSE 12.3+, to install dependencies run:

sudo zypper install -y ruby-rrdtool ruby ruby-devel collectd

Then install the app with:

gem install visage-app

Before running visage-app set the environment variable to "RRDDIR=/var/lib/collectd"

Mac OS X

Visage is not supported on Mac OS X, as RRDtool is a pain in the arse on that platform. It's highly recommended you use Vagrant to fire up an Ubuntu box to run Visage.


You can try out Visage quickly with:

visage-app start

Then paste the URL from the output into your browser.

If you get a command not found when running the above command (RubyGems likely isn't on your PATH), try this instead:

$(dirname $(dirname $(gem which visage-app)))/bin/visage-app start


Visage can be deployed easily on Apache with Passenger:

sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-passenger

Visage can attempt to generate an Apache vhost config for use with Passenger:

$ visage-app genapache
<VirtualHost *>
  ServerName ubuntu.localdomain
  ServerAdmin root@ubuntu.localdomain

  DocumentRoot /home/user/.gem/ruby/1.8/gems/visage-app-0.1.0/lib/visage-app/public

  <Directory "/home/user/.gem/ruby/1.8/gems/visage-app-0.1.0/lib/visage-app/public">
     Options FollowSymLinks Indexes
     AllowOverride None
     Order allow,deny
     Allow from all

Copypasta this into your system's Apache config structure and tune to taste.

To do this on Debian/Ubuntu:

sudo -s
visage-app genapache > /etc/apache2/sites-available/visage
a2ensite visage
a2dissite default
service apache2 reload

Then visit your Apache instance in a browser, and Visage will be up and running.


Visage looks for some environment variables when starting up:

  • CONFIG_PATH, an entry on the configuration file search path.
  • RRDDIR, the location of collectd's RRDs.
  • COLLECTDSOCK, the location of collectd's Unix socket.
  • RRDCACHEDSOCK, the location of rrdcached's Unix socket.
  • VISAGE_DATA_BACKEND, which storage backend to retrieve data from.

Visage has a configuration search path which can be used for overriding individual files. By default it has one entry: $VISAGE_ROOT/lib/visage/config/. You can set the CONFIG_PATH environment variable to add another directory to the config load path. This directory will be searched when loading up configuration files:

CONFIG_PATH=/var/lib/visage visage-app start

This is especially useful when you want to deploy + run Visage from an installed gem with Passenger. e.g.

<VirtualHost *:80>

  SetEnv CONFIG_PATH /var/lib/visage
  SetEnv RRDDIR /opt/collectd/var/lib/collectd

  DocumentRoot /var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/visage-app-0.3.0/lib/visage/public
  <Directory />
    Options FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None

  LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b" common
  CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log common

Also to keep in mind when deploying with Passenger, the CONFIG_PATH directory and its files need to have the correct ownership:

chown nobody:nogroup -R /var/lib/visage

Developing + testing

Check out the code:

git clone git://

Install the development dependencies:


Run all the cukes:


Visage tests should pass every time. Travis says the current Visage is build status.

Run the app with:

VISAGE_DATA_BACKEND=Mock bundle exec shotgun lib/visage-app/ -p 9292 -o --server thin

Visage ships a Mock data backend, so you can test without needing a real instance of collectd writing data with the RRDtool plugin. Per the above example, you can enable it by specifying the VISAGE_DATA_BACKEND=Mock environment variable on the command line.

To create and install a new gem from the current source tree:

rake build


  1. Bump the version in lib/visage-app/version.rb
  2. Add an entry to
  3. git commit everything.
  4. Build the gem with rake build
  5. Push the gem to with rake push


Visage is MIT licensed.

Visage is distributed with Highcharts. Torstein Hønsi has kindly granted permission to distribute Highcharts under the GPLv2 as part of Visage.

If you ever need an excellent JavaScript charting library, please consider purchasing a commercial license for Highcharts.



Graph collectd metrics in the browser, backed by a JSON API




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