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collectd-iostat-python is an iostat plugin for Collectd that allows you to graph Linux iostat metrics in Graphite or other output formats that are supported by Collectd.

This plugin (and mostly this README) is rewrite of the collectd-iostat from Ruby to Python using the collectd-python plugin.


Disk performance is quite crucial for most of modern server applications, especially databases (e.g. MySQL - check out this slides from Percona Live conference).

Although Collectd provides disk statistics out of the box, graphing the metrics as shown by iostat was found to be more useful and graphic, because iostat reports usage of block devices, partitions, multipath devices and LVM volumes.

Also this plugin was rewritten in Python, because it's a preferable language for siteops' tools on my current job, and choice of using collectd-python instead of collectd-exec was made for performance and stability reasons.


collectd-iostat-python functions by calling iostat with some predefined intervals and push that data to Collectd using Collectd python plugin.

Collectd can be then configured to write the Collected data into many output formats that are supported by it's write plugins, such as graphite, which was the primary use case for this plugin.


Deploy the Collectd Python plugin into a suitable plugin directory for your Collectd instance.

Configure Collectd's python plugin to execute the iostat plugin using a stanza similar to the following:

<LoadPlugin python>
    Globals true

<Plugin python>
    ModulePath "/usr/lib/collectd/plugins/python"
    Import "collectd_iostat_python"

    <Module collectd_iostat_python>
        Path "/usr/bin/iostat"
        Interval 2
        Count 2
        Verbose false
        NiceNames false
        PluginName collectd_iostat_python

If you need to select a subset of the devices listed by iostat you can utilize DisksRegex to write a regular expression to select the appropriate devices for your environment.

# Only collect data for these devices
DisksRegex "^[hs]d"

In large and changing environments it benefital if your device statistics maintain the same device names across reboots or reconfigurations so that historical data is not compromised. This can be achived by enabling persistent naming based on udev attributes. Simply enable persistent naming by setting UdevNameAttr to the attribute you want to use to name your devices. A good example would be ID_SERIAL which is persistent and unique per device. To find useful attributes you can use udevadm info /dev/<devicename>

# Enable persistent device naming
UdevNameAttr "ID_SERIAL"

Please note that you need to install pyudev Python module for this functionality.

In a multipath environment, a single physical disk can be exposed as two /dev entries. A device mapper entry is created by multipathd to handle interacting with the disk. Setting SkipPhysicalMultipath causes the physical multipath disks to be skipped, and only the dm- entry to be processed. Physical non-multipathed disks will be processed normally. Enable NoDisplayDMName as well to display the /dev entry instead of the registered device name.

SkipPhysicalMultipath true
NoDisplayDMName true

Please note that you need to install pyudev Python module for this functionality.

If you would like to use more legible metric names (e.g. requests_merged_per_second-read instead of rrqm_s), you have to set NiceNames to true and add load the custom types database (see the iostat_types.db file) by adding the following into the Collectd config file:

# The default Collectd types database
TypesDB "/usr/share/collectd/types.db"
# The custom types database
TypesDB "/usr/share/collectd/iostat_types.db"

Once functioning, the iostat data should then be visible via your various output plugins. Please note, that you need to restart collectd service after plugin installation, as usual.

In the case of Graphite, Collectd should be writing data in the hostname_domain_tld.collectd_iostat_python.DEVICE.column-name style namespaces. Symbols like /, - and % in metric names (but not in device names) are automatically replaced by underscores (i.e. _).

Please note that this plugin will take only last line of iostat output, so big Count numbers also have no sense, but Count needs to be more than 1 to get actual and not historical data. The data collection will run every Interval * (Count-1) seconds and this value needs to be less than Collectd.INTERVAL. Default Collectd.INTERVAL is 10 seconds, so default value of Count=2 and Interval=2 works quite well for me.

Technical notes

For parsing iostat output, I'm using jakamkon's python-iostat Python module, but as an internal part of the script instead of a separate module because of couple of fixes I have made (using Kbytes instead of blocks, adding -N to iostat for LVM endpoint resolving, migration to subprocess module as replacement of deprecated popen3, objectification etc).


Plugin was tested on Ubuntu 12.04/14.04 (Collectd 5.2/5.3/5.4, Python 2.7) and CentOS (Collectd 5.4 / Python 2.6). Please note that if running Python 2.6 or older (i.e. on CentOS and its derivatives) we trying to restore SIGCHLD signal handler to mitigate a known bug which according to the Collectd's documentation breaks the exec plugin, unfortunately.


  • Maybe some data aggregation needed (e.g. we can use some max / avg aggregation of data across intervals instead of picking last line of iostat output).
  • The Disks parameter could support regexp.

Additional reading




Please do not send me PMs in Twitter with issues. Just open an issue on projects' Github instead and I'll respond ASAP!


Denis Zhdanov (@deniszh)


Collectd-iostat-python is an iostat plugin for collectd that allows you to graph Linux iostat metrics in graphite or other output formats that are supported by collectd.




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