Skip to content

Distributed Poller

A normal install contains all parts of LibreNMS:

  • Poller/Discovery/etc workers
  • RRD (Time series data store) *
  • Database *
  • Webserver (Web UI/API) *

* may only be installed on one server (however, some can be clustered)

Distributed Polling allows the workers to be spread across additional servers for horizontal scaling. Distributed polling is not intended for remote polling.

Devices can be grouped together into a poller_group to pin these devices to a single or a group of designated pollers.

All pollers need to write to the same set of RRD files, preferably via RRDcached.

It is also a requirement that at least one locking service is in place to which all pollers can connect. There are currently three locking mechanisms available

  • memcached
  • redis (preferred)
  • sql locks (default)

All of the above locking mechanisms are natively supported in LibreNMS. If none are specified, it will default to using SQL.

Requirements for distributed polling

These requirements are above the normal requirements for a full LibreNMS install.

  • rrdtool version 1.4 or above
  • At least one locking mechanism configured
  • a rrdcached install

By default, all hosts are shared and have the poller_group = 0. To pin a device to a poller, set it to a value greater than 0 and set the same value in the poller's config with $config['distributed_poller_group']. One can also specify a comma separated string of poller groups in $config['distributed_poller_group']. The poller will then poll devices from any of the groups listed. If new devices get added from the poller they will be assigned to the first poller group in the list unless the group is specified when adding the device.

The following is a standard config, combined with a locking mechanism below:

// Distributed Poller-Settings
$config['distributed_poller']                            = true;
// optional: defaults to hostname
#$config['distributed_poller_name']                      = 'custom';
$config['distributed_poller_group']                      = 0;

Locking mechanisms

Pick one of the following setups, do not use all of them at the same time.


In your .env file you will need to specify a redis server, port and the driver.


Using Memcached

Preferably you should set the memcached server settings via the web UI. Under Settings > Global Settings > Distributed poller, you fill out the memcached host and port, and then in your .env file you will need to add:

If you want to use memcached, you will also need to install an additional Python 3 python-memcached package.

Example Setup

Below is an example setup based on a real deployment which at the time of writing covers over 2,500 devices and 50,000 ports. The setup is running within an OpenStack environment with some commodity hardware for remote pollers. Here's a diagram of how you can scale LibreNMS out:

Example Setup


How you set the distribution up is entirely up to you. You can choose to host the majority of the required services on a single virtual machine or server and then a poller to actually query the devices being monitored, all the way through to having a dedicated server for each of the individual roles. Below are notes on what you need to consider both from the software layer, but also connectivity.

Web / API Layer

This is typically Apache but we have setup guides for both Nginx and Lighttpd which should work perfectly fine. There is nothing unique about the role this service is providing except that if you are adding devices from this layer then the web service will need to be able to connect to the end device via SNMP and perform an ICMP test.

It is advisable to run RRDCached within this setup so that you don't need to share the rrd folder via a remote file share such as NFS. The web service can then generate rrd graphs via RRDCached. If RRDCached isn't an option then you can mount the rrd directory to read the RRD files directly.

Database Server

MySQL / MariaDB - At the moment these are the only database servers that are supported.

The pollers, web and API layers should all be able to access the database server directly.

RRD Storage

Central storage should be provided so all RRD files can be read from and written to in one location. As suggested above, it's recommended that RRD Cached is configured and used.

For this example, we are running RRDCached to allow all pollers and web/api servers to read/write to the rrd files with the rrd directory also exported by NFS for simple access and maintenance.


Pollers can be installed and run from anywhere, the only requirements are:

  • They can access the Memcache instance
  • They can create RRD files via some method such as a shared filesystem or RRDTool >=1.5.5
  • They can access the MySQL server

You can either assign pollers into groups and set a poller group against certain devices, this will mean that those devices will only be processed by certain pollers (default poller group is 0) or you can assign all pollers to the default poller group for them to process any and all devices.

This will provide the ability to have a single poller behind a NAT firewall monitor internal devices and report back to your central system. You will then be able to monitor those devices from the Web UI as normal.

Another benefit to this is that you can provide N+x pollers, i.e if you know that you require three pollers to process all devices within 300 seconds then adding a 4th poller will mean that should any one single poller fail then the remaining three will complete polling in time. You could also use this to take a poller out of service for maintenance, i.e OS updates and software updates.

It is extremely advisable to either run a central recursive dns server such as pdns-recursor and have all of your pollers use this or install a recursive dns server on each poller - the volume of DNS requests on large installs can be significant and will slow polling down enough to cause issues with a large number of devices.

A last note to make sure of, is that all pollers writing to the same DB need to have the same APP_KEY value set in the .env file.


Depending on your setup will depend on how you configure your discovery processes.

Cron based polling

It's not necessary to run discovery services on all pollers. In fact, you should only run one discovery process per poller group. Designate a single poller to run discovery (or a separate server if required).

Dispatcher service When using the dispatcher service, discovery can run on all nodes.


Settings in config.php should be copied to all servers as they only apply locally.

One way around this is to set settings in the database via the web ui or ./lnms config:set

Config sample

The following config is taken from a live setup which consists of a Web server, DB server, RRDCached server and 3 pollers.

Web Server:

Running Apache and an install of LibreNMS in /opt/librenms

  • config.php
$config['distributed_poller'] = true;
$config['rrdcached']    = "";

Database Server: Running Memcache and MariaDB

  • Memcache

Ubuntu (/etc/memcached.conf)

-m 64
-p 11211
-u memcache
-l ip.ip.ip.ip

RRDCached Server: Running RRDCached

  • RRDCached

Ubuntu (/etc/default/rrdcached)

OPTS="-l 0:42217"
OPTS="$OPTS -j /var/lib/rrdcached/journal/ -F"
OPTS="$OPTS -b /opt/librenms/rrd -B"
OPTS="$OPTS -w 1800 -z 900"

Ubuntu (/etc/default/rrdcached) - RRDCached 1.5.5 and above.

BASE_OPTIONS="-l 0:42217"
BASE_OPTIONS="$BASE_OPTIONS -R -j /var/lib/rrdcached/journal/ -F"
BASE_OPTIONS="$BASE_OPTIONS -b /opt/librenms/rrd -B"

Poller 1: Running an install of LibreNMS in /opt/librenms


$config['distributed_poller_name']           = php_uname('n');
$config['distributed_poller_group']          = '0';
$config['distributed_poller_memcached_host'] = "";
$config['distributed_poller_memcached_port'] = 11211;
$config['distributed_poller']                = true;
$config['rrdcached']                         = "";


Runs discovery and polling for group 0, to deal with notifications and DB cleanup and alerts.

33   */6  * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/cronic /opt/librenms/ 1
*/5  *    * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/discovery.php -h new >> /dev/null 2>&1
*/5  *    * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/cronic /opt/librenms/ 16
15   0    * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/ >> /dev/null 2>&1
*    *    * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/alerts.php >> /dev/null 2>&1

Poller 2: Running an install of LibreNMS in /opt/librenms


$config['distributed_poller_name']           = php_uname('n');
$config['distributed_poller_group']          = '0';
$config['distributed_poller_memcached_host'] = "";
$config['distributed_poller_memcached_port'] = 11211;
$config['distributed_poller']                = true;
$config['rrdcached']                         = "";


Runs billing as well as polling for group 0.

*/5 * * * * librenms /opt/librenms/ 16 >> /opt/librenms/logs/wrapper.log
*/5 * * * * librenms /opt/librenms/poll-billing.php >> /dev/null 2>&1
01  * * * * librenms /opt/librenms/billing-calculate.php >> /dev/null 2>&1
15  0 * * * librenms    /opt/librenms/ >> /dev/null 2>&1

Poller 3: Running an install of LibreNMS in /opt/librenms


$config['distributed_poller_name']           = php_uname('n');
$config['distributed_poller_group']          = '2,3';
$config['distributed_poller_memcached_host'] = "";
$config['distributed_poller_memcached_port'] = 11211;
$config['distributed_poller']                = true;
$config['rrdcached']                         = "";

/etc/cron.d/librenms Runs discovery and polling for groups 2 and 3.

33  */6 * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/cronic /opt/librenms/ 1
*/5 *   * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/discovery.php -h new >> /dev/null 2>&1
*/5 *   * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/cronic /opt/librenms/ 16
15  0   * * *   librenms    /opt/librenms/ >> /dev/null 2>&1