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I Hate my Monitoring: “More trick than treat”

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At Zenoss, we replace a lot of legacy monitoring systems.  From time to time we’ll share a customer‘s story about the stuff we’re replacing. Product names are changed to protect the guilty. Customer names are changed to avoid embarrassment. The stories are real; the quotes are altered for humor. We guess. – Moderator.

We talked to Jack at VMworld about the horror of managing his online travel site. “When they sold it to us they promised a treat, but my big orange monitoring software turned out to be an awful trick,” he said. “Four releases old and no way to upgrade made it one of the living dead.”

It’s difficult to get attention from the vendor for old software versions.

“Last year we begged for 20 treats. But we only got three useful pumpkins for our patch, our software was just too old,” said Jack. “We howled, but they felt fine about charging full maintenance prices.”

“We’d tried hard to carve out custom enhancements over the years. It’s a scary thing to attempt. Our changes have to visit four different houses – development, lab, preproduction, and then production – before they can be called ready to run. And speaking of ready to run, we ran shrieking from the four different languages it takes to program this monster.”

When server virtualization made the monitoring team give up the ghost, Zenoss came to the door. “We really wanted to be able to open up our monitoring software and get into its guts. When we laid the body parts of Zenoss out on the table we knew we didn’t need Dr. Frankenstein around to bring our monitoring to life.”

One big plus now that Zenoss is rolled out is improved satisfaction in the devops community. “The villagers aren’t burning torches at our gates any longer,” cackled Jack. “We’ve got them chained to their desks and generating revenue again.”

Jack is currently working on virtualizing servers. “We’re using the scream test to figure out who cares about a server. If we kill it and someone screams, we bring it back to life in the cloud. Otherwise it stays dead. 10% of our servers were zombies. We gave them the stake.”

 

Check out other stories from the I Hate my Monitoring Series!

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