n2 introduction

n2 is a client/server system for transmitting forensic snapshots from a number of hosts to a receiver node. This receiver collects statistics and is able to present an overview of the current and historical situation on a server. n2 provides a robust solution for real-time monitoring, optimizing performance and analyzing crashes. Our Freshmeat page can be found over here.

N2 component structure

In the diagram the N2 structure is explained. The n2txd transmitter daemon, collects data from within the server and sends it to the n2rxd receiver daemon. The receiver daemon sends the data to the n2view GUI as requested.

Beyond the hardware limitations of its receiver's host, there is no limit to the number of n2txd transmitters that the n2rxd receiver can handle. Our current setup is at 700 hosts and counting.

On the machine that runs the n2rxd receiver daemon, a Command Line Interface will be available for working with the collected data. This machine also hosts the n2view Web-based viewer to which users can be granted the access rights they need.


Development of n2

We have developed n2 because we were missing functionality in existing open source software. Basically, we needed a flexible monitoring and forensic system for ourselves and the customers on our clusters. The system also needed to be easy to provision. We hope you'll find it as useful as we did.

XLS Development team

  • Pim van Riezen (lead developer n2)
  • Peter van Dijk
  • Carlos de Boer Ver Voorn
  • J.P. Wesselink

Key benefits from using n2

  • Data-collection from within the server by a daemon running in the background, not solely external port monitoring.
  • Programmed in C and C++, light and robust
  • Flexible grouping of servers in the interface.
  • Flexible access for administrator and users.
  • Easy integration in automatic provisioning systems
  • Command line and Webbased Interface
  • Built-in webserver - no Apache required
  • In-depth analysis through an extensible Lua framework

Feedback and Bugreports

We appreciate feedback from the community and are happy to hear about your experiences with n2. When submitting feature requests, please keep updated with our Roadmap because it will reflect future changes to the system

If you find a bug in the system, make sure you can replicate the bug and be specific when you document the steps taken.

Communication for n2 is done through our n2 emailaddress, or join us on #n2 on the OFTC IRC network.

Release Roadmap for n2

Our short term plans:

  • Building an interface to change sensitivity parameters regarding status changes
  • Make it possible to authenticate against a remote system, so n2 can be integrated in a backend interface without having to log into n2 separately.
  • Support more operating systems (FreeBSD, ..) at least for n2txd.