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Level 15

A Trip Down Amnesia Lane.

Remember when computers used bloated CRT monitors and AOL was still fighting for survival as the internet with training wheels? Remember life before wi-fi, cell phones, and apps? Pretty ugly, huh? If you were a SysAdmin during this dark time, you were pretty much chained to your desk trying to solve a host of problems using little more than your experience for reference. Wanted to leave the office for lunch? Puh-lease.

Application and Network Monitoring Eases your Life.

You know it does. Troubleshooting applications and networking issues has never been easier than it is today, with the right software. Simply look at a computer screen and your entire networked world appears before you. Gone are the days of figuring out where the problems are coming from. Your only concern at this point is fixing the problems the software already found for you. (Pretty slick.) But you’re not out of the office yet.

I Really Love my Phone.

To me, the right apps and mobile websites on your phone are kind of like what motorcycles are to husbands. Think about it. If you're a SysAdmin, you can finally get out of the office! Go to lunch, take a vacation, ride that motorcycle. The advent of mobile tools allows you see what’s going on in your world from virtually anywhere in the real world, instantly. This benefits you, the SysAdmin.

Imagine you’re on vacation and lounging by the pool sipping a Piña Colada. Suddenly, you get an alert email on your phone that Server XYZ is down! Relax. Go to the web console of your monitoring software from your phone, examine the issue, and then determine what needs to be done. Look at that, you also have a phone and email client right in your hand. All the tools you need to monitor your network, diagnose problems, and communicate are right in the palm of your hand! The point is, now, you will always be in the loop, and sometimes in the water.


Motto: Mobile monitoring software = mobile you.

Level 12

Unfortunately, I think teh ability to do monitoring from your mobile is a Bad Thing (tm) in some ways.

You mention in the article about being able to be sat by the pool on vacation and respond to monitoring alerts. I don't know about other readers, but personally when I'm on holiday I don't really want to be tethered to my mobile keeping an eye on the status of things at work - I'm on vacation... It's "me" time! My own opinion is that if something is important enough there should be sufficient human backup (either other support staff or vendor support) who can step in should your primary admin be unavailable. Dare i use phrases like "single point of failure" or "what if you were run over tomorrow by a steam roller"!?

I start to wonder if some people are starting to see mobile-accessible systems as a cheaper, sticking plaster solution (BuzzWord Bingo, anyone) - instead of having sufficient resources to cover systems, they expect 1 person to be available 24x7x52. I'm sure we'd all agree this is not realistic. I think there needs to be some sort of balance found. I do have a company BlackBerry, and I do have it switched on when I'm on vacation; but it is on the understanding that I will only be contacted in the event of a dire emergency that no-one else can resolve (unfortunately, I am a SPoF for some systems, including SolarWinds).

So yes, mobile monitoring can be seen as a good thing, but you really have to remember that in any system the human element is probably the weakest and needs taking care of!

Level 15

I agree with most of your comments.

In a perfect world, where money is no object, there should be sufficient human backup for one to enjoy their vacation unplugged. However, speaking from personal experience, money is a very real object and there has been the occasion where I was the only one who could take care of the situation, regardless of where I was. That said, mobile monitoring has kept me in the loop when not in the office. Granted I'd love to totally unplug for a week or so, but at least now I have the option.

About the Author
Who am I? • I met Robert Frost at the end of the road less traveled, and then pointed him in the right direction. • Einstein asked me to define "Up," and I did. • I cliff dive from airplanes. • On Christmas, Santa comes to me for gifts. • I play three-cushion billiards with one hand. • Lions ask for my protection (I speak Lion). • Bobby Fischer and I came to a stalemate while playing chess. • I have literally given a woman the shirt off of my back. • I have also helped an old lady cross the street. • I know what a dangling participle is. • Mozart bequeathed his Requiem to me, and I corrected it. • I was thrown out of an Eric Clapton concert twice in the same night for drawing too much attention to myself. • I am a verbose minimalist. • I am Bronx. Who are you?