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So we have this company server standing in the corner of our office. It is connected to an LCD monitor hanging on the wall we occassionally use to check whether the backups did what they should.

The question is: what cool visualization thing could be run the rest of the time to deeply impress customers visiting us? The server is running on Debian 4.0. A cool whatever running on the console would be preferred as there's no window manager installed currently.

Things I thought about: Twitter feeds, Nagios visualization, global network status, news (from google news or whatever)... main criteria: it has to look cool.

Thanks for your ideas!

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I have the same question, but possibly running windows. –  notandy Sep 4 '09 at 20:40

5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you're not concerned about disclosing IP addresses have a look at EtherApe - it doesn't give you a lot info like zabbix but looks really nice: EtherApe screenshot

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Looks cool, thank you! –  Steffen Müller Sep 9 '09 at 9:18

A Few Options:


  1. You could use Nagios to monitor and then use Cacti for visualizations.

Cacti is a complete network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool's data storage and graphing functionality. Cacti provides a fast poller, advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods, and user management features out of the box. All of this is wrapped in an intuitive, easy to use interface that makes sense for LAN-sized installations up to complex networks with hundreds of devices.

Cacti is released under the GNU General Public License, meaning that it is completely free with no strings attached, however if you find it useful you should donate to support continued development.

Dual Pane Tree View get_image.php?image_id=43&x=640&y=568&quality=90

Preview Mode (Non-Thumbnail) get_image.php?image_id=40&x=600&y=639&quality=90

Graph View - Tree Mode get_image.php?image_id=29&x=640&y=465&quality=90


  1. There is also Icinga which started as a fork of Nagios. It has some flash to it but I still think Nagios has a bigger user base.

Icinga-Cronk-Statusmap.pngclassicweb3 1.png

It can also integrate with JasperReports Server. JasperReports Server is not free but it looks nice and integrates with Icinga (and others).

shot-dashboard-designer 1.png

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I'm a big fan of "MappedUp" myself.. However I like the "Hal 9000" one too. :)

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Similar to Nagios visualization, I have used Zabbix to visualize some server stats, I don't think I would call it "beautiful" but it is useful and would look impressive. You can also import other web pages, so adding an rss type feed constantly updating (via jquery or similar) would be pretty easy.

Zabbix Screen

An alternative might be Twitterfall for twitter feeds (based on search term); also there are a number of RSS screensavers that would look nice but I don't know if you are looking for that sort of thing. Once you have the RSS visualization you can use twitter feeds, google news, or any combination of those things.

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How about an Ambient Orb...if somehow you could supply server status to the color of the orb ;)

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