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Highlights From Monitorama 2015




Major figures of well-known companies take on thought-leadership roles at these events and Monitorama PDX brings together some of the brightest minds in monitoring. With a more casual atmosphere in Portland, OR, Monitorama is known for its audience-friendly style that allows all attendees to learn the ins and outs of the latest trends in IT monitoring, developing, and web operations. This year’s conference proved to contain valuable insights in all of these topics from speakers representing companies such as Google, Twitter, GitHub, and Netflix. Since Monitorama is primarily focused in the monitoring space, we have provided a recap of the top 5 must-watch presentations from this year’s event. Take a look at our highlights from Monitorama 2015 below based off our learnings from our own Opsview employee who was in attendance! 

  1. The Dark Art Of Container Monitoring 
    Container monitoring is 2015’s hot topic amongst techies and sysadmins, so it only makes sense that one of the standout presentations from Monitorama was devoted to the subject. CEO/founder of sysdig Inc. Loris Degioanni led the demonstration of his new tool which specializes in visibility and performance management for cloud infrastructures. Degioanni especially impressed the audience when he unveiled details of the sysdig monitoring cloud, which can map infrastructures and make them zoom-able. The demos of both sysdig and cAdvisor from Google provided valuable information into the container monitoring territory. So if you are looking to get a better grasp on this buzzing talking point, look no further.
  2. Measuring Hard To Measure Things
    Chrissie Brodigan gave an enthusiastic talk on the user experience research work she does at Github. The presentation focused on how to deal with people at a macro level in order to improve the daily work life of each individual at your company. Brodigan built upon this theme as she delved into more specific details, including how Github made their enterprise product easier to administrate. While organizations tend to hone in on surveys to determine how people feel about product, there is more work that needs to be done from a demographic perspective in order to make sense of the math. “Get out from behind the numbers and in front of people” is one of many quotes which stood out from her presentation. If you are in the business of making your sysadmin happy and becoming better at discovering/solving problems, we highly recommend you watch Brodigan’s presentation.
  3. Monitoring As A Service
    James Turnbull, VP of engineering at Kickstarter, gave a detailed talk on the state of monitoring as a whole. He shared his views on modern, scalable, and business oriented monitoring and how each form is integrated into project development. Between Turnbull’s up-to-date metrics on the state of monitoring (68% of people are not monitoring business logic) and his top 4 action items monitoring should focus on (business logic, applications, services, and infrastructure), the presentation proved to be quite thorough. He explained what aspects of traditional monitoring are archaic, not easily manageable, and relics of the past as well as where the future of the industry is heading. Watching this talk will be helpful for any sysadmin or IT professional who has a goal of modernizing their monitoring efforts. One key piece of advice: consistently talk to your customers so you can find out easily what parts of your infrastructure you should actually care about!
  4. I’m A Designer and I’m Here To Help 
    The visual elements of your dashboards, reporting, and graphs are vital in making any monitoring system a user-friendly product. Stephen Boak, co-founder of Opsee, has been a designer in the monitoring world for several years now with the mission of enabling monitoring-driven development. Boak’s experience has helped him map the territory of both successful and unsuccessful strategies in designing monitoring software’s, and that was the crux of his presentation at Monitorama 2015. It is so easy to be ingrained in the technicalities of your work as a sysadmin that sometimes the creatively gifted designers get ignored. Rather than get lost in the never-ending screen of code, Boak describes the helpful role that designers have in IT departments and how their skill-sets are a nice match for their sysadmin peers. Walking people down the path from using to experiencing, the importance of context within monitoring, and explaining that the choices that a company makes around design determines their overall priorities were all key points in Boak’s insightful presentation.
  5. Working With Riemann
    This presentation from Kyle Kingsbury (a software engineer at Stripe) provides a comprehensive overview of Riemann, his monitoring system which aggregates events from your servers and applications with a powerful stream processing language. Covering the central concepts of Riemann and what it can accomplish, Kingsbury was quite convincing when describing the capabilities of his project and there is a lot to learn here for folks who are interested in learning how to utilize monitoring products. If you are a sysadmin who has the responsibility of monitoring distributed systems, this is the highlight video you should watch from Monitorama 2015. 

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ebernsen's picture
by Eric Bernsen,
Marketing Analyst
I write compelling content to educate our current and potential customers about the benefits of Opsview Monitor.

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