Five observations about why your your server monitoring still stinks by a monitoring specialist-turned-consultant.
Early in my career, I was responsible for managing a large fleet of printers across a large campus. We're talking several hundred networked printers. It often required a 10- or 15-minute walk to get to some of those printers physically, and many were used only sporadically. I didn't always know what was happening until I arrived, so it was anyone's guess as to the problem. Simple paper jam? Driver issue? Printer currently on fire? I found out only after the long walk. Making this even more frustrating for everyone was that, thanks to the infrequent use of some of them, a printer with a problem might go unnoticed for weeks, making itself known only when someone tried to print with it.
Finally, it occurred to me: wouldn't it be nice if I knew about the problem and the cause before someone called me? I found my first monitoring tool that day, and I was absolutely hooked.
Since then, I've helped numerous people overhaul their monitoring systems. In doing so, I noticed the same challenges repeat themselves regularly. If you're responsible for managing the systems at your organization, read on; I have much advice to dispense.
So, without further ado, here are my top five reasons why your monitoring is crap and what you can do about it.
1. You're Using Antiquated Tools
By far, the most common reason for monitoring being screwed up is a reliance on antiquated tools. You know that's your issue when you spend too much time working around the warts of your monitoring tools or when you've got a bunch of custom code to get around some major missing functionality. But the bottom line is that you spend more time trying to fix the almost-working tools than just getting on with your job.
The problem with using antiquated tools and methodologies is that you're just making it harder for yourself. I suppose it's certainly possible to dig a hole with a rusty spoon, but wouldn't you prefer to use a shovel?
Great tools are invisible. They make you more effective, and the job is easier to accomplish. When you have great tools, you don't even notice them.
Maybe you don't describe your monitoring tools as "easy to use" or "invisible". The words you might opt to use would make my editor break out a red pen.
This checklist can help you determine if you're screwing yourself.