21.7. Monitoring Performance with Net-SNMP

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 includes the Net-SNMP software suite, which includes a flexible and extensible simple network management protocol (SNMP) agent. This agent and its associated utilities can be used to provide performance data from a large number of systems to a variety of tools which support polling over the SNMP protocol.
This section provides information on configuring the Net-SNMP agent to securely provide performance data over the network, retrieving the data using the SNMP protocol, and extending the SNMP agent to provide custom performance metrics.

21.7.1. Installing Net-SNMP

The Net-SNMP software suite is available as a set of RPM packages in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux software distribution. Table 21.2, “Available Net-SNMP packages” summarizes each of the packages and their contents.

Table 21.2. Available Net-SNMP packages

Package Provides
net-snmp The SNMP Agent Daemon and documentation. This package is required for exporting performance data.
net-snmp-libs The netsnmp library and the bundled management information bases (MIBs). This package is required for exporting performance data.
net-snmp-utils SNMP clients such as snmpget and snmpwalk. This package is required in order to query a system's performance data over SNMP.
net-snmp-perl The mib2c utility and the NetSNMP Perl module. Note that this package is provided by the Optional channel. See Section 9.5.7, “Adding the Optional and Supplementary Repositories” for more information on Red Hat additional channels.
net-snmp-python An SNMP client library for Python. Note that this package is provided by the Optional channel. See Section 9.5.7, “Adding the Optional and Supplementary Repositories” for more information on Red Hat additional channels.
To install any of these packages, use the yum command in the following form:
yum install package
For example, to install the SNMP Agent Daemon and SNMP clients used in the rest of this section, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
~]# yum install net-snmp net-snmp-libs net-snmp-utils
For more information on how to install new packages in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, see Section 9.2.4, “Installing Packages”.

21.7.2. Running the Net-SNMP Daemon

The net-snmp package contains snmpd, the SNMP Agent Daemon. This section provides information on how to start, stop, and restart the snmpd service. For more information on managing system services in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, see Chapter 10, Managing Services with systemd. Starting the Service

To run the snmpd service in the current session, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
systemctl start snmpd.service
To configure the service to be automatically started at boot time, use the following command:
systemctl enable snmpd.service Stopping the Service

To stop the running snmpd service, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
systemctl stop snmpd.service
To disable starting the service at boot time, use the following command:
systemctl disable snmpd.service Restarting the Service

To restart the running snmpd service, type the following at a shell prompt:
systemctl restart snmpd.service
This command stops the service and starts it again in quick succession. To only reload the configuration without stopping the service, run the following command instead:
systemctl reload snmpd.service
This causes the running snmpd service to reload its configuration.

21.7.3. Configuring Net-SNMP

To change the Net-SNMP Agent Daemon configuration, edit the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf configuration file. The default snmpd.conf file included with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is heavily commented and serves as a good starting point for agent configuration.
This section focuses on two common tasks: setting system information and configuring authentication. For more information about available configuration directives, see the snmpd.conf(5) manual page. Additionally, there is a utility in the net-snmp package named snmpconf which can be used to interactively generate a valid agent configuration.
Note that the net-snmp-utils package must be installed in order to use the snmpwalk utility described in this section.


For any changes to the configuration file to take effect, force the snmpd service to re-read the configuration by running the following command as root:
systemctl reload snmpd.service Setting System Information

Net-SNMP provides some rudimentary system information via the system tree. For example, the following snmpwalk command shows the system tree with a default agent configuration.
~]# snmpwalk -v2c -c public localhost system
SNMPv2-MIB::sysDescr.0 = STRING: Linux localhost.localdomain 3.10.0-123.el7.x86_64 #1 SMP Mon May 5 11:16:57 EDT 2014 x86_64
SNMPv2-MIB::sysObjectID.0 = OID: NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpAgentOIDs.10
DISMAN-EVENT-MIB::sysUpTimeInstance = Timeticks: (464) 0:00:04.64
SNMPv2-MIB::sysContact.0 = STRING: Root <root@localhost> (configure /etc/snmp/snmp.local.conf)
[output truncated]
By default, the sysName object is set to the host name. The sysLocation and sysContact objects can be configured in the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf file by changing the value of the syslocation and syscontact directives, for example:
syslocation Datacenter, Row 4, Rack 3
syscontact UNIX Admin <admin@example.com>
After making changes to the configuration file, reload the configuration and test it by running the snmpwalk command again:
~]# systemctl reload snmp.service
~]# snmpwalk -v2c -c public localhost system
SNMPv2-MIB::sysDescr.0 = STRING: Linux localhost.localdomain 3.10.0-123.el7.x86_64 #1 SMP Mon May 5 11:16:57 EDT 2014 x86_64
SNMPv2-MIB::sysObjectID.0 = OID: NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpAgentOIDs.10
DISMAN-EVENT-MIB::sysUpTimeInstance = Timeticks: (35424) 0:05:54.24
SNMPv2-MIB::sysContact.0 = STRING: UNIX Admin <admin@example.com>
SNMPv2-MIB::sysName.0 = STRING: localhost.localdomain
SNMPv2-MIB::sysLocation.0 = STRING: Datacenter, Row 4, Rack 3
[output truncated] Configuring Authentication

The Net-SNMP Agent Daemon supports all three versions of the SNMP protocol. The first two versions (1 and 2c) provide for simple authentication using a community string. This string is a shared secret between the agent and any client utilities. The string is passed in clear text over the network however and is not considered secure. Version 3 of the SNMP protocol supports user authentication and message encryption using a variety of protocols. The Net-SNMP agent also supports tunneling over SSH, and TLS authentication with X.509 certificates.
Configuring SNMP Version 2c Community
To configure an SNMP version 2c community, use either the rocommunity or rwcommunity directive in the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf configuration file. The format of the directives is as follows:
directive community [source [OID]]
… where community is the community string to use, source is an IP address or subnet, and OID is the SNMP tree to provide access to. For example, the following directive provides read-only access to the system tree to a client using the community string redhat on the local machine:
rocommunity redhat .
To test the configuration, use the snmpwalk command with the -v and -c options.
~]# snmpwalk -v2c -c redhat localhost system
SNMPv2-MIB::sysDescr.0 = STRING: Linux localhost.localdomain 3.10.0-123.el7.x86_64 #1 SMP Mon May 5 11:16:57 EDT 2014 x86_64
SNMPv2-MIB::sysObjectID.0 = OID: NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpAgentOIDs.10
DISMAN-EVENT-MIB::sysUpTimeInstance = Timeticks: (101376) 0:16:53.76
SNMPv2-MIB::sysContact.0 = STRING: UNIX Admin <admin@example.com>
SNMPv2-MIB::sysName.0 = STRING: localhost.localdomain
SNMPv2-MIB::sysLocation.0 = STRING: Datacenter, Row 4, Rack 3
[output truncated]
Configuring SNMP Version 3 User
To configure an SNMP version 3 user, use the net-snmp-create-v3-user command. This command adds entries to the /var/lib/net-snmp/snmpd.conf and /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf files which create the user and grant access to the user. Note that the net-snmp-create-v3-user command may only be run when the agent is not running. The following example creates the admin user with the password redhatsnmp:
~]# systemctl stop snmpd.service
~]# net-snmp-create-v3-user
Enter a SNMPv3 user name to create:
Enter authentication pass-phrase:
Enter encryption pass-phrase:
  [press return to reuse the authentication pass-phrase]

adding the following line to /var/lib/net-snmp/snmpd.conf:
   createUser admin MD5 "redhatsnmp" DES
adding the following line to /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf:
   rwuser admin
~]# systemctl start snmpd.service
The rwuser directive (or rouser when the -ro command line option is supplied) that net-snmp-create-v3-user adds to /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf has a similar format to the rwcommunity and rocommunity directives:
directive user [noauth|auth|priv] [OID]
… where user is a user name and OID is the SNMP tree to provide access to. By default, the Net-SNMP Agent Daemon allows only authenticated requests (the auth option). The noauth option allows you to permit unauthenticated requests, and the priv option enforces the use of encryption. The authpriv option specifies that requests must be authenticated and replies should be encrypted.
For example, the following line grants the user admin read-write access to the entire tree:
rwuser admin authpriv .1
To test the configuration, create a .snmp/ directory in your user's home directory and a configuration file named snmp.conf in that directory (~/.snmp/snmp.conf) with the following lines:
defVersion 3
defSecurityLevel authPriv
defSecurityName admin
defPassphrase redhatsnmp
The snmpwalk command will now use these authentication settings when querying the agent:
~]$ snmpwalk -v3 localhost system
SNMPv2-MIB::sysDescr.0 = STRING: Linux localhost.localdomain 3.10.0-123.el7.x86_64 #1 SMP Mon May 5 11:16:57 EDT 2014 x86_64
[output truncated]

21.7.4. Retrieving Performance Data over SNMP

The Net-SNMP Agent in Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a wide variety of performance information over the SNMP protocol. In addition, the agent can be queried for a listing of the installed RPM packages on the system, a listing of currently running processes on the system, or the network configuration of the system.
This section provides an overview of OIDs related to performance tuning available over SNMP. It assumes that the net-snmp-utils package is installed and that the user is granted access to the SNMP tree as described in Section, “Configuring Authentication”. Hardware Configuration

The Host Resources MIB included with Net-SNMP presents information about the current hardware and software configuration of a host to a client utility. Table 21.3, “Available OIDs” summarizes the different OIDs available under that MIB.

Table 21.3. Available OIDs

OID Description
HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrSystem Contains general system information such as uptime, number of users, and number of running processes.
HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrStorage Contains data on memory and file system usage.
HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrDevices Contains a listing of all processors, network devices, and file systems.
HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrSWRun Contains a listing of all running processes.
HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrSWRunPerf Contains memory and CPU statistics on the process table from HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrSWRun.
HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrSWInstalled Contains a listing of the RPM database.
There are also a number of SNMP tables available in the Host Resources MIB which can be used to retrieve a summary of the available information. The following example displays HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrFSTable:
~]$ snmptable -Cb localhost HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrFSTable

 Index MountPoint RemoteMountPoint                                Type
    Access Bootable StorageIndex LastFullBackupDate LastPartialBackupDate
     1        "/"               "" HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrFSLinuxExt2
 readWrite     true           31      0-1-1,0:0:0.0         0-1-1,0:0:0.0
     5 "/dev/shm"               ""     HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrFSOther
 readWrite    false           35      0-1-1,0:0:0.0         0-1-1,0:0:0.0
     6    "/boot"               "" HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrFSLinuxExt2
 readWrite    false           36      0-1-1,0:0:0.0         0-1-1,0:0:0.0
For more information about HOST-RESOURCES-MIB, see the /usr/share/snmp/mibs/HOST-RESOURCES-MIB.txt file. CPU and Memory Information

Most system performance data is available in the UCD SNMP MIB. The systemStats OID provides a number of counters around processor usage:
~]$ snmpwalk localhost UCD-SNMP-MIB::systemStats
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssIndex.0 = INTEGER: 1
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssErrorName.0 = STRING: systemStats
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssSwapIn.0 = INTEGER: 0 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssSwapOut.0 = INTEGER: 0 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssIOSent.0 = INTEGER: 0 blocks/s
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssIOReceive.0 = INTEGER: 0 blocks/s
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssSysInterrupts.0 = INTEGER: 29 interrupts/s
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssSysContext.0 = INTEGER: 18 switches/s
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuUser.0 = INTEGER: 0
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuSystem.0 = INTEGER: 0
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuIdle.0 = INTEGER: 99
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawUser.0 = Counter32: 2278
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawNice.0 = Counter32: 1395
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawSystem.0 = Counter32: 6826
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawIdle.0 = Counter32: 3383736
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawWait.0 = Counter32: 7629
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawKernel.0 = Counter32: 0
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawInterrupt.0 = Counter32: 434
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssIORawSent.0 = Counter32: 266770
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssIORawReceived.0 = Counter32: 427302
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssRawInterrupts.0 = Counter32: 743442
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssRawContexts.0 = Counter32: 718557
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssCpuRawSoftIRQ.0 = Counter32: 128
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssRawSwapIn.0 = Counter32: 0
UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssRawSwapOut.0 = Counter32: 0
In particular, the ssCpuRawUser, ssCpuRawSystem, ssCpuRawWait, and ssCpuRawIdle OIDs provide counters which are helpful when determining whether a system is spending most of its processor time in kernel space, user space, or I/O. ssRawSwapIn and ssRawSwapOut can be helpful when determining whether a system is suffering from memory exhaustion.
More memory information is available under the UCD-SNMP-MIB::memory OID, which provides similar data to the free command:
~]$ snmpwalk localhost UCD-SNMP-MIB::memory
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memIndex.0 = INTEGER: 0
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memErrorName.0 = STRING: swap
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memTotalSwap.0 = INTEGER: 1023992 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memAvailSwap.0 = INTEGER: 1023992 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memTotalReal.0 = INTEGER: 1021588 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memAvailReal.0 = INTEGER: 634260 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memTotalFree.0 = INTEGER: 1658252 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memMinimumSwap.0 = INTEGER: 16000 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memBuffer.0 = INTEGER: 30760 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memCached.0 = INTEGER: 216200 kB
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memSwapError.0 = INTEGER: noError(0)
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memSwapErrorMsg.0 = STRING:
Load averages are also available in the UCD SNMP MIB. The SNMP table UCD-SNMP-MIB::laTable has a listing of the 1, 5, and 15 minute load averages:
~]$ snmptable localhost UCD-SNMP-MIB::laTable
SNMP table: UCD-SNMP-MIB::laTable

 laIndex laNames laLoad laConfig laLoadInt laLoadFloat laErrorFlag laErrMessage
       1  Load-1   0.00    12.00         0    0.000000     noError
       2  Load-5   0.00    12.00         0    0.000000     noError
       3 Load-15   0.00    12.00         0    0.000000     noError File System and Disk Information

The Host Resources MIB provides information on file system size and usage. Each file system (and also each memory pool) has an entry in the HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrStorageTable table:
~]$ snmptable -Cb localhost HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrStorageTable
SNMP table: HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrStorageTable

 Index                                         Type           Descr
AllocationUnits    Size   Used AllocationFailures
     1           HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageRam Physical memory
1024 Bytes 1021588 388064                  ?
     3 HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageVirtualMemory  Virtual memory
1024 Bytes 2045580 388064                  ?
     6         HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageOther  Memory buffers
1024 Bytes 1021588  31048                  ?
     7         HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageOther   Cached memory
1024 Bytes  216604 216604                  ?
    10 HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageVirtualMemory      Swap space
1024 Bytes 1023992      0                  ?
    31     HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageFixedDisk               /
4096 Bytes 2277614 250391                  ?
    35     HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageFixedDisk        /dev/shm
4096 Bytes  127698      0                  ?
    36     HOST-RESOURCES-TYPES::hrStorageFixedDisk           /boot
1024 Bytes  198337  26694                  ?
The OIDs under HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrStorageSize and HOST-RESOURCES-MIB::hrStorageUsed can be used to calculate the remaining capacity of each mounted file system.
I/O data is available both in UCD-SNMP-MIB::systemStats (ssIORawSent.0 and ssIORawRecieved.0) and in UCD-DISKIO-MIB::diskIOTable. The latter provides much more granular data. Under this table are OIDs for diskIONReadX and diskIONWrittenX, which provide counters for the number of bytes read from and written to the block device in question since the system boot:
~]$ snmptable -Cb localhost UCD-DISKIO-MIB::diskIOTable
SNMP table: UCD-DISKIO-MIB::diskIOTable

 Index Device     NRead  NWritten Reads Writes LA1 LA5 LA15    NReadX NWrittenX
    25    sda 216886272 139109376 16409   4894   ?   ?    ? 216886272 139109376
    26   sda1   2455552      5120   613      2   ?   ?    ?   2455552      5120
    27   sda2   1486848         0   332      0   ?   ?    ?   1486848         0
    28   sda3 212321280 139104256 15312   4871   ?   ?    ? 212321280 139104256 Network Information

The Interfaces MIB provides information on network devices. IF-MIB::ifTable provides an SNMP table with an entry for each interface on the system, the configuration of the interface, and various packet counters for the interface. The following example shows the first few columns of ifTable on a system with two physical network interfaces:
~]$ snmptable -Cb localhost IF-MIB::ifTable
SNMP table: IF-MIB::ifTable

 Index Descr             Type   Mtu    Speed      PhysAddress AdminStatus
     1    lo softwareLoopback 16436 10000000                           up
     2  eth0   ethernetCsmacd  1500        0 52:54:0:c7:69:58          up
     3  eth1   ethernetCsmacd  1500        0 52:54:0:a7:a3:24        down
Network traffic is available under the OIDs IF-MIB::ifOutOctets and IF-MIB::ifInOctets. The following SNMP queries will retrieve network traffic for each of the interfaces on this system:
~]$ snmpwalk localhost IF-MIB::ifDescr
IF-MIB::ifDescr.1 = STRING: lo
IF-MIB::ifDescr.2 = STRING: eth0
IF-MIB::ifDescr.3 = STRING: eth1
~]$ snmpwalk localhost IF-MIB::ifOutOctets
IF-MIB::ifOutOctets.1 = Counter32: 10060699
IF-MIB::ifOutOctets.2 = Counter32: 650
IF-MIB::ifOutOctets.3 = Counter32: 0
~]$ snmpwalk localhost IF-MIB::ifInOctets
IF-MIB::ifInOctets.1 = Counter32: 10060699
IF-MIB::ifInOctets.2 = Counter32: 78650
IF-MIB::ifInOctets.3 = Counter32: 0

21.7.5. Extending Net-SNMP

The Net-SNMP Agent can be extended to provide application metrics in addition to raw system metrics. This allows for capacity planning as well as performance issue troubleshooting. For example, it may be helpful to know that an email system had a 5-minute load average of 15 while being tested, but it is more helpful to know that the email system has a load average of 15 while processing 80,000 messages a second. When application metrics are available via the same interface as the system metrics, this also allows for the visualization of the impact of different load scenarios on system performance (for example, each additional 10,000 messages increases the load average linearly until 100,000).
A number of the applications included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux extend the Net-SNMP Agent to provide application metrics over SNMP. There are several ways to extend the agent for custom applications as well. This section describes extending the agent with shell scripts and the Perl plug-ins from the Optional channel. It assumes that the net-snmp-utils and net-snmp-perl packages are installed, and that the user is granted access to the SNMP tree as described in Section, “Configuring Authentication”. Extending Net-SNMP with Shell Scripts

The Net-SNMP Agent provides an extension MIB (NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB) that can be used to query arbitrary shell scripts. To specify the shell script to run, use the extend directive in the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf file. Once defined, the Agent will provide the exit code and any output of the command over SNMP. The example below demonstrates this mechanism with a script which determines the number of httpd processes in the process table.


The Net-SNMP Agent also provides a built-in mechanism for checking the process table via the proc directive. See the snmpd.conf(5) manual page for more information.
The exit code of the following shell script is the number of httpd processes running on the system at a given point in time:

NUMPIDS=`pgrep httpd | wc -l`

To make this script available over SNMP, copy the script to a location on the system path, set the executable bit, and add an extend directive to the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf file. The format of the extend directive is the following:
extend name prog args
… where name is an identifying string for the extension, prog is the program to run, and args are the arguments to give the program. For instance, if the above shell script is copied to /usr/local/bin/check_apache.sh, the following directive will add the script to the SNMP tree:
extend httpd_pids /bin/sh /usr/local/bin/check_apache.sh
The script can then be queried at NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendObjects:
~]$ snmpwalk localhost NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendObjects
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendNumEntries.0 = INTEGER: 1
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendCommand."httpd_pids" = STRING: /bin/sh
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendArgs."httpd_pids" = STRING: /usr/local/bin/check_apache.sh
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendInput."httpd_pids" = STRING:
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendCacheTime."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: 5
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendExecType."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: exec(1)
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendRunType."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: run-on-read(1)
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendStorage."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: permanent(4)
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendStatus."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: active(1)
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutput1Line."httpd_pids" = STRING:
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutputFull."httpd_pids" = STRING:
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutNumLines."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: 1
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendResult."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: 8
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutLine."httpd_pids".1 = STRING:
Note that the exit code (8 in this example) is provided as an INTEGER type and any output is provided as a STRING type. To expose multiple metrics as integers, supply different arguments to the script using the extend directive. For example, the following shell script can be used to determine the number of processes matching an arbitrary string, and will also output a text string giving the number of processes:

NUMPIDS=`pgrep $PATTERN | wc -l`

echo "There are $NUMPIDS $PATTERN processes."
The following /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf directives will give both the number of httpd PIDs as well as the number of snmpd PIDs when the above script is copied to /usr/local/bin/check_proc.sh:
extend httpd_pids /bin/sh /usr/local/bin/check_proc.sh httpd
extend snmpd_pids /bin/sh /usr/local/bin/check_proc.sh snmpd
The following example shows the output of an snmpwalk of the nsExtendObjects OID:
~]$ snmpwalk localhost NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendObjects
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendNumEntries.0 = INTEGER: 2
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendCommand."httpd_pids" = STRING: /bin/sh
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendCommand."snmpd_pids" = STRING: /bin/sh
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendArgs."httpd_pids" = STRING: /usr/local/bin/check_proc.sh httpd
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendArgs."snmpd_pids" = STRING: /usr/local/bin/check_proc.sh snmpd
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendInput."httpd_pids" = STRING:
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendInput."snmpd_pids" = STRING:
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendResult."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: 8
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendResult."snmpd_pids" = INTEGER: 1
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutLine."httpd_pids".1 = STRING: There are 8 httpd processes.
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutLine."snmpd_pids".1 = STRING: There are 1 snmpd processes.


Integer exit codes are limited to a range of 0–255. For values that are likely to exceed 256, either use the standard output of the script (which will be typed as a string) or a different method of extending the agent.
This last example shows a query for the free memory of the system and the number of httpd processes. This query could be used during a performance test to determine the impact of the number of processes on memory pressure:
~]$ snmpget localhost \
    'NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendResult."httpd_pids"' \
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendResult."httpd_pids" = INTEGER: 8
UCD-SNMP-MIB::memAvailReal.0 = INTEGER: 799664 kB Extending Net-SNMP with Perl

Executing shell scripts using the extend directive is a fairly limited method for exposing custom application metrics over SNMP. The Net-SNMP Agent also provides an embedded Perl interface for exposing custom objects. The net-snmp-perl package in the Optional channel provides the NetSNMP::agent Perl module that is used to write embedded Perl plug-ins on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.


Before subscribing to the Optional and Supplementary channels see the Scope of Coverage Details. If you decide to install packages from these channels, follow the steps documented in the article called How to access Optional and Supplementary channels, and -devel packages using Red Hat Subscription Manager (RHSM)? on the Red Hat Customer Portal.
The NetSNMP::agent Perl module provides an agent object which is used to handle requests for a part of the agent's OID tree. The agent object's constructor has options for running the agent as a sub-agent of snmpd or a standalone agent. No arguments are necessary to create an embedded agent:
use NetSNMP::agent (':all');

my $agent = new NetSNMP::agent();
The agent object has a register method which is used to register a callback function with a particular OID. The register function takes a name, OID, and pointer to the callback function. The following example will register a callback function named hello_handler with the SNMP Agent which will handle requests under the OID .
$agent->register("hello_world", ".",


The OID . (NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen) is typically used for demonstration purposes only. If your organization does not already have a root OID, you can obtain one by contacting an ISO Name Registration Authority (ANSI in the United States).
The handler function will be called with four parameters, HANDLER, REGISTRATION_INFO, REQUEST_INFO, and REQUESTS. The REQUESTS parameter contains a list of requests in the current call and should be iterated over and populated with data. The request objects in the list have get and set methods which allow for manipulating the OID and value of the request. For example, the following call will set the value of a request object to the string hello world:
$request->setValue(ASN_OCTET_STR, "hello world");
The handler function should respond to two types of SNMP requests: the GET request and the GETNEXT request. The type of request is determined by calling the getMode method on the request_info object passed as the third parameter to the handler function. If the request is a GET request, the caller will expect the handler to set the value of the request object, depending on the OID of the request. If the request is a GETNEXT request, the caller will also expect the handler to set the OID of the request to the next available OID in the tree. This is illustrated in the following code example:
my $request;
my $string_value = "hello world";
my $integer_value = "8675309";

for($request = $requests; $request; $request = $request->next()) {
  my $oid = $request->getOID();
  if ($request_info->getMode() == MODE_GET) {
    if ($oid == new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
      $request->setValue(ASN_OCTET_STR, $string_value);
    elsif ($oid == new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
      $request->setValue(ASN_INTEGER, $integer_value);
  } elsif ($request_info->getMode() == MODE_GETNEXT) {
    if ($oid == new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
      $request->setValue(ASN_INTEGER, $integer_value);
    elsif ($oid < new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
      $request->setValue(ASN_OCTET_STR, $string_value);
When getMode returns MODE_GET, the handler analyzes the value of the getOID call on the request object. The value of the request is set to either string_value if the OID ends in .1.0, or set to integer_value if the OID ends in .1.1. If the getMode returns MODE_GETNEXT, the handler determines whether the OID of the request is .1.0, and then sets the OID and value for .1.1. If the request is higher on the tree than .1.0, the OID and value for .1.0 is set. This in effect returns the next value in the tree so that a program like snmpwalk can traverse the tree without prior knowledge of the structure.
The type of the variable is set using constants from NetSNMP::ASN. See the perldoc for NetSNMP::ASN for a full list of available constants.
The entire code listing for this example Perl plug-in is as follows:

use NetSNMP::agent (':all');

sub hello_handler {
  my ($handler, $registration_info, $request_info, $requests) = @_;
  my $request;
  my $string_value = "hello world";
  my $integer_value = "8675309";

  for($request = $requests; $request; $request = $request->next()) {
    my $oid = $request->getOID();
    if ($request_info->getMode() == MODE_GET) {
      if ($oid == new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
        $request->setValue(ASN_OCTET_STR, $string_value);
      elsif ($oid == new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
        $request->setValue(ASN_INTEGER, $integer_value);
    } elsif ($request_info->getMode() == MODE_GETNEXT) {
      if ($oid == new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
        $request->setValue(ASN_INTEGER, $integer_value);
      elsif ($oid < new NetSNMP::OID(".")) {
        $request->setValue(ASN_OCTET_STR, $string_value);

my $agent = new NetSNMP::agent();
$agent->register("hello_world", ".",
To test the plug-in, copy the above program to /usr/share/snmp/hello_world.pl and add the following line to the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf configuration file:
perl do "/usr/share/snmp/hello_world.pl"
The SNMP Agent Daemon will need to be restarted to load the new Perl plug-in. Once it has been restarted, an snmpwalk should return the new data:
~]$ snmpwalk localhost NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen
NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen.1.0 = STRING: "hello world"
NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen.1.1 = INTEGER: 8675309
The snmpget should also be used to exercise the other mode of the handler:
~]$ snmpget localhost \
    NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen.1.0 \
NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen.1.0 = STRING: "hello world"
NET-SNMP-MIB::netSnmpPlaypen.1.1 = INTEGER: 8675309