Write an low-cost, ergonomic plugin for collectd
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A Collectd Plugin Written in Rust

Collectd is a ubiquitous system statistics collection daemon. collectd_plugin leverages Collectd's ability to dynamically load plugins and creates an ergonomic, yet extremely low cost abstraction API to interface with Collectd.


  • No unnecessary allocations when submitting / receiving values, logging
  • Register multiple plugin instances
  • Automatic deserialization of plugin configs via Serde (optional) feature
  • Deployment: compile against collectd version and scp to server
  • Referenced Rust libraries are statically linked


Add to your Cargo.toml:

collectd-plugin = "0.5.3"

If you want Serde support (recommended), include the serde feature:

version = "0.5.3"
features = ["serde"]

Then put this in your crate root:

extern crate collectd_plugin;

This repo is tested on the following:

  • Collectd 5.4 (Ubuntu 14.04)
  • Collectd 5.5 (Ubuntu 16.04)
  • Collectd 5.7 (and above) (Ubuntu 17.04)


See what to add to your project's Cargo file

Below is a complete plugin that dummy reports load values to collectd, as it registers a READ hook. For an implementation that reimplements Collectd's own load plugin, see examples/load

extern crate collectd_plugin;
extern crate failure;

use collectd_plugin::{ConfigItem, Plugin, PluginCapabilities, PluginManager, PluginRegistration,
                      Value, ValueListBuilder};
use failure::Error;

struct MyPlugin;

// A manager decides the name of the family of plugins and also registers one or more plugins based
// on collectd's configuration files
impl PluginManager for MyPlugin {
    // A plugin needs a unique name to be referenced by collectd
    fn name() -> &'static str {

    // Our plugin might have configuration section in collectd.conf, which will be passed here if
    // present. Our contrived plugin doesn't care about configuration so it returns only a single
    // plugin (itself).
    fn plugins(_config: Option<&[ConfigItem]>) -> Result<PluginRegistration, Error> {

impl Plugin for MyPlugin {
    // We define that our plugin will only be reporting / submitting values to writers
    fn capabilities(&self) -> PluginCapabilities {

    fn read_values(&mut self) -> Result<(), Error> {
        // Create a list of values to submit to collectd. We'll be sending in a vector representing the
        // "load" type. Short-term load is first (15.0) followed by mid-term and long-term. The number
        // of values that you submit at a time depends on types.db in collectd configurations
        let values = vec![Value::Gauge(15.0), Value::Gauge(10.0), Value::Gauge(12.0)];

        // Submit our values to collectd. A plugin can submit any number of times.
        ValueListBuilder::new(Self::name(), "load")

// We pass in our plugin manager type


There are five main ways to extend collectd:

And my thoughts:

  • I'm not confident enough to write C without leaks and there isn't a great package manager for C.
  • Python and Java aren't self contained, aren't necessarily deployed on the server, are more heavy weight, and I suspect that maintenance plays second fiddle to the C api.
  • The exec plugin is costly as it creates a new process for every collection
  • Depending on the circumstances, writing to a unix socket could be good fit, but I enjoy the ease of deployment, and the collectd integration -- there's no need to re-invent logging scheme, configuration, and system init files.

Rust's combination of ecosystem, package manager, C ffi, single file dynamic library, and optimized code made it seem like a natural choice.

To Build

To ensure a successful build, adapt the below to your project's Cargo file.

crate-type = ["cdylib"]
name = "<your plugin name>"

bindgen = ["collectd-plugin/bindgen"]
default = []
  • A collectd version is required. You can specify environment variable COLLECTD_VERSION as 5.4, 5.5, or 5.7, or rely on collectd-rust-plugin auto detecting the version by executing collectd -h.
  • The bindgen feature is optional (it will re-compute the Rust bindings from C code, which shouldn't be necessary). Make sure you have an appropriate version of clang installed and collectd-dev
  • Collectd expects plugins to not be prefixed with lib, so cp target/debug/libmyplugin.so /usr/lib/collectd/myplugin.so
  • Add LoadPlugin myplugin to collectd.conf

Plugin Configuration

The load plugin in examples/load demonstrates how to expose configuration values to Collectd.

# In this example configuration we provide short and long term load and leave
# Mid to the default value. Yes, this is very much contrived
<Plugin loadrust>
    ReportRelative true

Benchmarking Overhead

To measure the overhead of adapting Collectd's datatypes when writing and reporting values:

cargo bench --features stub

If you'd like to use the timings on my machine:

  • 100ns to create and submit a ValueListBuilder
  • 150ns to create a ValueList for plugins that write values

Unless you are reporting or writing millions of metrics every interval (in which case you'll most likely hit an earlier snap), you'll be fine.