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The Five Things That Sysadmins Hate About Their Monitoring System

Our “State of the Sysadmin Survey” got input from nearly 300 sysadmins across the world. We asked them a little about everything, from what they liked about their job, to what they believed their companies thought about their role.  We also asked them specifically about their monitoring systems. 

No system will ever be perfect to every single system administrator out there. So, what are the main things that most sysadmins can’t stand about their monitoring system?  There were some big time common trends when asking about their monitoring system.

1. Slow performance

What good is a monitoring system if it can’t perform as fast as your infrastructure? It’s hard to think that some monitoring systems can’t keep pace when issues arise. Alerts and warnings need to happen instantly.  Better yet, a monitoring tool should be able to detect a problem before you even need an alert. This brings us to the next problem...

A slow monitoring solution will make you feel like you're back in the dial-up days

2. Disconnected Management

The use of many different IT monitoring solutions can often lead to the multiple instance nightmare we describe in our Nagios eBook.  Sysadmins were pretty clear in making a true central management area a priority. Many systems only handle a certain amount of hosts and checks before a whole different instance needs to be spun up. Not having a single view into your infrastructure leads to confusion, frustration, and pre-mature baldness, none of which are things sysadmins want. 

3. Terrible Security

Surprisingly, security was only third on the list. One could argue that hacking an IT monitoring system would only reveal usage statistics and some very remedial information. However, IT monitoring systems can be targeted, not only for specific information but also as a blueprint to map out a bigger hack. Low security in a monitoring system can create unneeded paranoia, especially if you happen to be sharing a login for the whole team. Word of advice…don’t do that!

A lack of security precautions will leave your environment open to breaches and hacks

4. Complicated User Interface

Having the flexibility and customization of a monitoring system is important. However, this often comes as a sacrifice for learning that may take six months to a full year in order to use the system effectively. What’s worse is that complicated user interfaces usually means there are only a couple of knowledge experts on the team who may have built the monitoring system from scratch! Sysadmins want to worry less about learning how to use a monitoring system, and more time on maintaining their infrastructure and applications.

One of our sysadmins feeling extremely frustrated when attempting to work with a Nagios interface 

5. Configuration Nightmare

Some breeds of system administrators see it as a badge of honor to master plugins, service checks, and host configurations all through the command line. It’s like some kind of self-punishment, like climbing a mountain or eating incredibly spicy food. Some take pleasure in the pain, like 50 Shades of Grey (50 Lines of Code?). However, a complicated user-interface means only one thing gets hurt, your free time.

Happen to be a sysadmin? Use a monitoring system? Good or bad, what are your experiences? Let us know what you can’t stand about your monitoring system by contacting us on Twitter and if you are curious to explore what Opsview has to offer, feel free to head over to our trial page


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by Opsview Team,
Opsview is passionately focused on monitoring that enables DevOps teams to deliver smarter business services, faster.

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