We are building a network monitoring tool and we need to show a graph which shows the Active/Inactive state of the machines.

Like for example, during a period of 24 hours, during which periods the machine was down. The series values would be either ACTIVE or DEAD. And this series is laid over a time axis of 24 hours.

Can anyone suggest the graph which will help depict this scenario?

  • Do you want to show them all at once? Show an overview of 10,000 machines? What level of resolution is needed? These all affect how you would likely display them.
    – JohnGB
    Dec 28, 2012 at 7:25
  • No. For each individual machine. For consolidated, we are planning to show the count of the machines which are active and inactive. So, I think a simple bar graph would suffice. Dec 28, 2012 at 7:44
  • It sounds like a simple manhattan (vertical bar) graph would work here.
    – JohnGB
    Dec 28, 2012 at 7:55
  • I guess vertical bar graph should be good for consolidated count graph. I am asking for Active/Inactive graph over the period of 24 hours for a specific machine. The series values would be either ACTIVE or DEAD. And this series is laid over a time axis of 24 hours. Dec 28, 2012 at 8:08
  • If you only have 2 states, then just represent one of them and show the graph from 0 - 100%. The other state is clear from that one.
    – JohnGB
    Dec 28, 2012 at 8:20

2 Answers 2


Don't use bar graph if the value is boolean, use colors on a timeline.

enter image description here

  • This looks pretty interesting. Great work there. Thanks. Dec 28, 2012 at 8:40
  • 1
    Any graph API which can generate the above graph? Which one did you use to create it? Dec 28, 2012 at 14:48
  • It's handmade using Adobe Illustrator.
    – Andy
    Dec 28, 2012 at 21:27
  • @divinedragon check out my answer for automation using Google Graph API Dec 29, 2012 at 17:02

Based on @Andy's graphic for the graph you could then use Google Graph API to create a less pretty, but automated version of this:

Graph using Google Graph API

This was created using the following code:

function drawVisualization() {
  // Create and populate the data table.
 var data = google.visualization.arrayToDataTable([
        ['Status', 'On', 'Off'],
        ['12am',  1,   0],
        ['1am',  1,   0],
        ['2am',  1,   0],
        ['3am',  0,   1],
        ['4am',  1,   0],
        ['5am',  1,   0],
        ['6am',  1,   0],
        ['7am',  1,   0],
        ['8am',  1,   0],
        ['9am',  1,   0],
        ['10am',  1,   0],
        ['11am',  1,   0],
        ['12pm',  1,   0],
        ['13pm',  1,   0],
        ['14pm',  1,   0],
        ['15pm',  1,   0],
        ['16pm',  1,   0],
        ['17pm',  1,   0],
        ['6pm',  1,   0],
        ['19pm',  1,   0],
        ['20pm',  1,   0],
        ['21pm',  1,   0],
        ['22pm',  1,   0],
        ['23pm',  1,   0],
        ['12am',  1,   0],

  // Create and draw the visualization.
  new google.visualization.ColumnChart(document.getElementById('visualization')).
               { width:600, height:100, 
                 chartArea: {height:20},
               colors: ['#8ac244','#db1b1c'],
                hAxis: {allowContainerBoundaryTextCufoff:true, showTextEvery:6},
                vAxis: {gridlines:{count:0}},
                bar: {groupWidth:16},

​ And you can test the code here: https://code.google.com/apis/ajax/playground/?type=visualization#column_chart

  • This answer, while potentially useful, isn't really a separate answer, it's an implementation guide for Andys answer. UX is technology-agnostic, so answers including implementation instructions and code are best left to other StackExchange sites. We'll leave this here for now because it has been well-received but this shouldn't be a standard method of answering questions on this site . (We don't want to get bogged-down with code implementation here, and each answer should be a different and separate response to the question, not just commentary on others).
    – JonW
    Jan 4, 2013 at 8:41
  • Hey @JonW yes is was only because the author commented on the answer asking "Any graph API which can generate the above graph?" Jan 4, 2013 at 13:34

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