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What We Learned At Monitorama 2016

ebernsen's picture

The Monitorama conference has become a must-attend event for those in the IT monitoring business. Insightful presentations from qualified speakers, plentiful networking opportunities and a friendly atmosphere are just a few of the redeeming qualities of Monitorama, and we were happy to be in attendance this year! Monitorama 2016 covered several major monitoring themes that provided a number of takeaways for IT professionals to implement into their daily monitoring efforts. After several great days in Portland, here are four of the most important learning points from Monitorama 2016. We can’t wait to go back next year! 

Monitoring as a flexible platform

There is no question that monitoring capabilities have greatly advanced in recent years and one major key to success has been monitoring tools existing as flexible platforms. Gone are the days where a monitoring ‘solution’ vaguely tells you something is wrong with your systems, without delivering the steps to resolving the issue. The evolution from problem identification to actionable insights is what matters most to users who want to utilize monitoring for their individual needs. Monitoring improvements such as dashboard and metrics enhancements are great, but all Monitorama speakers stressed the importance of solutions being tools of empowerment that make it easier for sysadmins to do their jobs. 

Reducing the noise of alerts leads to great efficiency

A sea of red alerts and not having an understanding of which ones are most urgent is a problem all IT pros want to avoid. Reducing the noise of alerts was a much discussed topic at Monitorama and everyone agreed that receiving the right alerts is more important than receiving all of them. If IT staff is caught up sifting through an endless list of relatively insignificant items, productivity will suffer. In order to boost efficiency, all monitoring tools should be providing actionable insights that allow IT pros to resolve high-priority issues at a fast pace. Less noise, more insight was the shared mindset of all Monitorama attendees. 

The struggle to monitor new technologies starts at the ability to scale 

The desire to utilize emerging technologies was a commonly shared viewpoint amongst the tech community at Monitorama. However, there were too many stories of IT teams falling victim to premature optimization and implementing new applications despite their systems not being able to handle it at their current scale. Rather than rush to be the first to utilize a new technology, the advice that came from Monitorama is to gradually build up your environment until its ready to take on more advanced tools. The last thing you want to risk is providing the services you’ve promised to your users/customers, so don’t break that trust because you want to be too far ahead of the game. 

Less deliberating, more action 

Lastly, our favorite panel from Monitorama came from Pete Cheslock of Threat Stack. Cheslock touched on a number of topics such as cost per metric and the future of monitoring, but the overarching theme of his speech was less deliberating, more action. By breaking down complex IT issues in simple terms, Cheslock advocated the viewpoint that the highest priority of IT leaders should be implementing monitoring that solves your problems rather than spending months suffering from the pitfalls of subpar visibility. Collaboration amongst the IT community and developing relationships with others who are happy to share their monitoring experiences can make a big difference in this respect, and that’s why Monitorama continues to thrives as a monitoring destination every year! 

Be sure to head over to this Monitorama YouTube page to watch some of the best panels of Monitorama 2016!