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Monitoring for Managers

Level 18

Executive Summary:
If you’re a manager with questions about monitoring, we want to give you answers. Fill out this three-question survey and tell us what’s got you stumped.

Engineering Details:
Hang around with IT folks for anything longer than your typical stand-up meeting and you’re likely to hear some variation of “Managers! Am I right?” Like salespeople, managers are one of those roles we who make our living in tech love to hate (or at least poke fun at). And it’s all fun and games until it’s time for your yearly review.

As folks who design, deploy, and maintain monitoring solutions, we’ve got a choice: we can continue to dismiss and diminish people who don’t know about our discipline; or we can take the time to educate and inform.

It’s in this spirit we’re preparing a special session during THWACKcamp geared to answering the technical questions managers—those folks who both lead and represent the boots-on-the-ground monitoring engineers—might have. Anything from “What’s this SNMP stuff I keep hearing about?” to “Why does my staff keep nagging me to move our database off RAID5?” to “How do I make a compelling case for application tracing to my leadership team?”

We’ve got a short, three-question survey open right now ( for managers to submit the nagging questions they have about tech. Whatever is on their mind. The goal is to help them be more informed about the work you do and enable them to walk into the boardroom confident they can speak to your work and the positive impact it’s having on the business.

But we need your help to make this session the best it can be. Share it ( with your managers, your colleagues, and your circle of monitoring aficionados. We’re committed to answering every single question we get.* Some of them we’ll even answer during THWACKcamp, Nov 12 – 13.

Those of us who’ve built a career in tech know our knowledge and expertise grew steadily throughout our journey. And a lot of that knowledge came when we accepted we didn’t know something and asked someone who did. This is our chance to support managers who are committed to learning more about the work of monitoring and becoming better at what they do as part of the process.

 * the ones related to monitoring. I’m *still* not answering questions about the flight speed of an unladen African swallow.

1 Comment

It's challenging to answer questions about the speed of an unladen African Swallow . . . when no one's defined which African swallow is referenced.  

Wikipedia references twenty-three different species of Swallows native to Africa.

Perhaps one may best be prepared to say "I don't know that!" and be catapulted off the cliff?

Or, one might reply "31 - 40 mph" and reference Wikipedia again.










About the Author
In my sordid career, I have been an actor, bug exterminator and wild-animal remover (nothing crazy like pumas or wildebeasts. Just skunks and raccoons.), electrician, carpenter, stage-combat instructor, American Sign Language interpreter, and Sunday school teacher. Oh, and I work with computers. Since 1989 (when you got a free copy of Windows 286 on twelve 5¼” floppies when you bought a copy of Excel 1.0) I have worked as a classroom instructor, courseware designer, desktop support tech, server support engineer, and software distribution expert. Then about 14 years ago I got involved with systems monitoring. I've worked with a wide range of tools: Tivoli, Nagios, Patrol, ZenOss, OpenView, SiteScope, and of course SolarWinds. I've designed solutions for companies that were extremely modest (~10 systems) to those that were mind-bogglingly large (250,000 systems in 5,000 locations). During that time, I've had to chance to learn about monitoring all types of systems – routers, switches, load-balancers, and SAN fabric as well as windows, linux, and unix servers running on physical and virtual platforms.