Installing NAV

NAV releases official Debian packages. We recommend using these if you can. If you can’t, or won’t, please read on.

Install from source on

See Install from source on Debian for more complete, Debian-centric guide to installation of a full NAV system from source.


This section specifies what software packages are needed to build and run NAV. Be aware that many of these packages have dependencies of their own.

Build requirements

To build NAV, you need at least the following:

  • Python >= 2.7.0 < 3
  • Sphinx >= 1.0 (for building this documentation)

Runtime requirements

To run NAV, these software packages are required:

  • Apache2 + mod_wsgi (or, really, any web server that supports the WSGI interface)
  • PostgreSQL >= 9.4 (With the hstore extension available)
  • Graphite
  • Python >= 2.7.0
  • nbtscan = 1.5.1
  • dhcping (only needed if using DHCP service monitor)

PostgreSQL and Graphite are services that do not necessarily need to run on the same server as NAV.

The required Python modules can be installed either from your OS package manager, or from the Python Package Index (PyPI) using the regular method described below. The packages can also be installed from PyPI in a separate step, using the pip tool and the provided requirements files:

pip install -r requirements.txt

However, some of the required modules are C extensions that will require the presence of some C libraries to be correctly built (unless PyPI provides binary wheels for your platform). These include the psycopg2 driver and the python-ldap and Pillow modules).

The current Python requirements are as follows:

# for debian build-deps, see the apt-get commands in
# Dockerfile

asciitree==0.3.3  # optional, for naventity
configparser==3.5.0 ; python_version < '3'
psycopg2==2.5.4  # requires libpq to build

twisted>=14.0.1,<18 ; python_version < '3'
twisted>=16.6.0,<18 ; python_version >= '3'

xmpppy==0.5.0rc1  # optional, for alerting via Jabber
python-ldap==3.0.0 # optional for LDAP authentication, requires libldap (OpenLDAP) to build

# REST framework


# libsass for compiling scss files to css using distutils/setuptools

Installing NAV

To build and install NAV and all its Python dependencies:

pip install -r requirements.txt .

This will build and install NAV in the default system-wide directories for your system. If you wish to customize the install locations, please consult the output of python install --help.

Initializing the configuration

NAV will look for its configuration files in various locations on your file system. These locations can be listed by running:

nav config path

To install a set of pristine NAV configuration files into one of these locations, e.g. in /etc/nav, run:

nav config install /etc/nav

To verify that NAV can find its main configuration file, run:

nav config where

Initializing the database

Before NAV can run, the database schema must be installed in your PostgreSQL server. NAV can create a database user and a database schema for you.

Choose a password for your NAV database user and set this in the userpw_nav in the db.conf config file. As the postgres superuser, run the following command:

navsyncdb -c

This will attempt to create a new database user, a new database and initialize it with NAV’s schema.

Configuring the web interface

NAV’s web interface is implemented using the Django framework, and can be served in any web server environment supported by Django (chiefly, any environment that supports WSGI). This guide is primarily concerned with Apache 2.

An example configuration file for Apache2 is provided the configuration directory, apache/apache.conf.example. This configuration uses mod_wsgi to serve the NAV web application, and can be modified to suit your installation paths. Once complete, it can be included in your virtualhost config, which needn’t contain much more than this:


Include /path/to/your/nav/apache.conf


You should always protect your NAV web site using SSL!

Installing static resources

You want your web server to be able to serve all of NAV’s static resources. You can install all of them by issuing the following command:

# django-admin collectstatic --settings=nav.django.settings
You have requested to collect static files at the destination
location as specified in your settings:


This will overwrite existing files!
Are you sure you want to do this?

Type 'yes' to continue, or 'no' to cancel:

In this example, type yes, hit Enter, and ensure your web server’s document root points to /usr/share/nav/www, because that is where the static directory is located. If that doesn’t suit you, you will at least need an Alias to point the /static URL to the static directory.

Users and privileges

Apart from the pping and snmptrapd daemons, no NAV processes should ever be run as root. You should create a non-privileged system user and group, and ensure the NAV_USER option in nav.conf is set accordingly. Also make sure this user has permissions to write to your configured PID-file and log directories.


The pping and snmptrapd daemons must be started as root to be able to create privileged communication sockets. Both daemons will drop privileges and run as the configured non-privileged user as soon as the sockets have been acquired.

Building the documentation

If you wish, this HTML documentation can be built separately using this step:

python build_sphinx

The resulting files will typically be placed in build/sphinx/html/.

If you want to serve this documentation on your NAV web server, you should copy the html directory to a suitable location and make sure that location is served as /doc on the web server. If using the example Apache configuration (apache.conf.example), there is a define named documentation_path, which can be set to point to this file system location.

Integrating Graphite with NAV

NAV uses Graphite to store and retrieve/graph time-series data. NAV must be configured with the IP address and port of your Graphite installation’s Carbon backend, and the URL to the Graphite-web frontend used for graphing. These settings can be configured in the graphite.conf configuration file.


NAV requires the Carbon backend’s UDP listener to be enabled, as it will only transmit metrics over UDP.

For a simple, local Graphite installation, you may not need to touch this configuration file at all, but at its simplest it looks like this:

host =
port = 2003

base = http://localhost:8000/

Configuring Graphite

Installing Graphite itself is out of scope for this guide, but you will need to configure some options before letting NAV send data to Graphite.

  1. First and foremost, you will need to enable the UDP listener in the configuration file carbon.conf.

    For performance reasons, Carbon will also limit the number of new Whisper files that can be created per minute. This number is fairly low by default, and when starting NAV for the first time, it may send a ton of new metrics very fast. If the limit is set to 50, it will take a long time before all the metrics are created. You might want to increase the MAX_CREATES_PER_MINUTE option, or temporarily set it to inf.

  2. You should add the suggested storage-schema configurations for the various nav prefixes listed in etc/graphite/storage-schemas.conf:

    # Recommended Whisper schema definitions for using Graphite with NAV.
    # If you already have a Graphite installation you wish to use, use these
    # examples to adapt your own config.
    # Carbon's internal metrics. This entry should match what is specified in
    pattern = ^carbon\.
    retentions = 60:90d
    # Statistics - store data for a long time is more important than short
    # intervals.
    pattern = ^nav\.stats\.
    retentions = 300s:10d, 1h:100d, 1d:6y
    # NAV device/system metrics
    pattern = ^nav\..*(system|cpu|memory|services|ipdevpoll|sensors)\.
    retentions = 60s:1d, 300s:7d, 30m:12d, 2h:50d, 1d:600d
    # NAV multicast metrics
    pattern = ^nav\.multicast\.groups\.
    retentions = 60s:1d, 300s:7d, 30m:12d, 2h:50d, 1d:600d
    # NAV pping metrics. The default pping configuration pings in 20 second
    # intervals; the most detailes retention archive should match up with this.
    pattern = ^nav\..*\.ping\.
    retentions = 20s:6h, 60s:1d, 300s:7d, 30m:12d, 2h:50d, 1d:600d
    # NAV IP prefix utilization metrics. Default ARP/ND collection interval is
    # 30 minutes.
    pattern = ^nav\.prefixes\.
    retentions = 30m:30d, 2h:90d, 6h:600d
    # NAV generic metric retention archive
    pattern = ^nav\.
    retentions = 300s:7d, 30m:12d, 2h:50d, 1d:600d
    # A not-very-sane default for any metric not caught by the above.
    pattern = .*
    retentions = 60s:1d

    The highest precision retention archives are the most important ones here, as their data point interval must correspond with the collection intervals of various NAV processes. Other than that, the retention periods and the precision of any other archive can be freely experimented with.

    Remember, these schemas apply to new Whisper files as they are created. You should not start NAV until the schemas have been configured, otherwise the Whisper files will be created with the global Graphite defaults, and your data may be munged or inaccurate, and your graphs will be spotty.

  3. You should add the suggested storage-aggregation configurations listed in the file etc/graphite/storage-aggregation.conf:

    # Recommended Whisper aggregation methods for using Graphite with NAV.
    # If you already have a Graphite installation you wish to use, use these
    # examples to adapt your own config.
    # ipdevpoll jobs don't necesarily run very often; an xFilesFactor of 0 ensures
    # we roll up everything into the lower precision archives no matter how often
    # runs are logged.
    pattern = ^nav\..*\.ipdevpoll\..*runtime$
    xFilesFactor = 0
    aggregationMethod = average
    # Any kind of event counter NAV uses will log the number of events since the
    # last time the metric was logged, so the approprate aggregation is to sum the
    # counts.
    pattern = ^nav\..*-count$
    xFilesFactor = 0
    aggregationMethod = sum
    # NAV stores the raw octet/packet/error/etc counters of interfaces in Graphite.
    # Since these counter values are absolute, and the rates are calculated using
    # the difference of the port counter and the time difference between two
    # counter numbers, the appropriate aggregation method would be to picke the
    # last counter value when rolling up.
    pattern = ^nav\..*ports\..*
    aggregationMethod = last

    These will ensure that time-series data sent to Graphite by NAV will be aggregated properly when Graphite rolls them into lower-precision archives.