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THWACKcamp 2017 - When DevOps Says "Monitor"

Level 18

As companies race to the cloud and adopt DevOps culture as part of that process, it's becoming more apparent that the word "monitoring" has a significantly different meaning within the walls of a data center than it does in the DevOps huddle area. But what, if anything, is actually different? Or is it all just jargon and an attitude of not invented here (NIH).

In my panel discussion, 'When DevOps Says "Monitor,"' I will be joined by Nathen Harvey, VP of Community Development at Chef, Michael Cote, Director of Technical Marketing at Pivotal, and Clinton Wolfe, cloud architect and DevOps practice lead (and current "hero for hire" seeking his next adventure). In our conversation, we'll break down expectations, and yes, even bad (monitoring) habits in the DevOps world in a way that will make a traditional monitoring engineer feel right at home.

Because it was so successful last year, we are continuing our expanded-session, two-day, two-track format for THWACKcamp 2017. SolarWinds product managers and technical experts will guide attendees through how-to sessions designed to shed light on new challenges, while Head Geeks and IT thought leaders will discuss, debate, and provide context for a range of industry topics.

In our 100% free, virtual, multi-track IT learning event, thousands of attendees will have the opportunity to hear from industry experts and SolarWinds Head Geeks, such as myself, and technical staff. Registrants also get to interact with each other to discuss topics related to emerging IT challenges, including automation, hybrid IT, DevOps, and more.

Check out our promo video and register now for THWACKcamp 2017! And don't forget to catch my session!


As the team responsible for NPM and its sister modules, I respectfully submit that there is NO difference between monitoring in DevOps and the Data Center.

If there's impact to customers or employees or availability or the bottom line, and if it can be monitored, it's just another thing to monitor with Orion's specialized apps.

Treating the DC and DevOps as different regarding monitoring is (perhaps?) just another way of building another silo.

They're all the same.  Well . . . mostly.


Same problems, different name


Level 20

Leon... we're doing some additional trade studies because we have additional monitoring requirements.  Many can be filled by SolarWinds tools... many can't.  Here's our current list:


Monitoring and troubleshoot workspace vm's
Deep dive of issues that users exerience with their workspace
Alerts on XenDesktop/XenApp servers that host GO Application/performance
Historical monitoring - able to go back at a point in time and look at what was running on a given vm - processes/etc.
Tracks users across a non-persistent environment. Does not care about state.
Visibility into the underlying storage arrays for performance related data (user Profiles for GO),
Login process performance monitoring
Visibility into network latency across data centers/remote sites
Up/Down monitoring
Services running
Disk space utilization
Performance monitoring (CPU, Mem, Network, Disk)
Capacity Planning
Service Dashboards
Sending Alerts
Monitoring of Software Defined Network (SDN)
Visibility into firewall rules
Monitor Physical Network Devices
Application Monitoring - Exchange(Mail Queues, etc)
Application Monitoring - AD(Replication, etc)
IAM Custom Tool - repalcing scripts, inactive accounts, password changes
Application Monitors(Oracle, SQL, JDE, Exchange, Remedy)
Application Monitor - Web performance
Application Monitoring - Lync(Metrics, QoE) - Cannot monitor live calls today. No alerting today
Application Monitoring - Lync(Monitor Live Calls)
Application Monitoring - Lync(Dashboard views)
Application Monitoring - Lync(SBC Integration)
Simulation Capabilities
Correlation Engine
Filer Event Logging
Reporting - (Aggregates,SVM,Volumes)
Backups Monitoring
Backups Reporting
Backup Alerts
Point in time capture/export
Historical playback of storage
Ability to create baselines
Ability to control data rollup - granularity over time
Alerting on other infrastructure (Memory leaks , Desktop VDI's not registering, Brokers)
Testing performance from remote sites a user sees it.
Deep Insight into the Netscalars, Up/Down, Performance, LB. Netscalar Insight may be able to do this. Not using it much today
Physical hardware component monitoring. Raid controllers, memory, disks, batteries… etc.
End-to-End Mapping of systems
Monitoring Physical servers
Tracks changes to files for compliance. JDE
Predictive analytics
Orchestration API's
Ability to determine from MAC address where a device is on the network
Right-Sizing vm reporting
Snapshot reclamation
What-if Analysis/Scenario Modeler

We're close but we're also considering adding some additional tools.

Wow!  That's a great shopping list for monitoring needs.  And nothing SW offers can do this?  Or you just haven't bought the modules or licenses to do it all yet?

Level 20

There's a few that I can't find a way with Orion... also I don't have SRM module.


Care to highlight the ones you can't monitor - you might get some tips from the peanut gallery around here.

Level 21

One thing I have found with DevOps guys is that hey tend to prefer the open source technologies for just about everything including monitoring; likely due to the increased flexibility.  I have found this personally within my own environment and have also talked to others that have told me the same thing is true in their environment; though I am certain there are cases where this is not true.  This is in comparison to traditional Operations that tends to prefer commercial solutions with support contracts and the such.  This is a place where I have found both a significant difference and challenge.  We have commercial solutions in place for monitoring (pretty much all SolarWinds products) and my DevOps guys hate working with them because they are not open source; or at least that is as best I can tell.  I get a lot of complaints about the API's and then they always seem to try and implement their own open source solutions instead.

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.