Turning #monitoringsucks into #monitoringsucksless

About a month ago @roidrage (AKA Mathias Meyer) posted the following intriguing tweet:

It’s good to see that ‪#monitoringsucks‬ is starting to slowly turn into ‪#monitoringsucksless‬.

So I emailed him (because I was too self-conscious of putting what could be seen as a stupid question on Twitter) to ask:

I saw your tweet … and I wanted to find out what caused you to say this.

Are you finding better tools to work with, or does it have more to do with operations people joining together to figure out this problem?

Meyer’s response:

I said that because of both reasons, really, though it’s less about just ops people than about everyone working together at improving the tooling. The awareness that the tools need to be improved to make them useful and/or useable for everyone. And there’s a generation of new tools that questions the status pro too. Both are awesome, and both make monitoring suck a little less.

The fact that Meyer introduced #monitoringsucksless in May 2012 seems a testament to the DevOps community. After all, the #monitoringsucks movement is only celebrating its first anniversary this month.[1] On June 5, 2011, @lusis (AKA John Vincent) published a post on his blog titled Why Monitoring Sucks (and what we’re doing about it) that discusses the origin of this meme:

About two weeks ago someone made a tweet.[2] At this point, I don’t remember who said it but the gist was that “monitoring sucks”. I happened to be knee-deep in frustrating bullshit around that topic and was currently evaluating the same effing tools I’d evaluated at every other company over the past 10 years or so. So I did what seems to be S.O.P for me these days. I started something.

“Started something” is an understatement. Vincent had already started an initial IRC chat and a github repo 10 days earlier. His “step three” was “Hell if I know,” but he did know this:

There are plenty of frustrated system administrators, developers, engineers, “devops” and everything under the sun who don’t want much. All they really want is for shit to work. When shit breaks, they want to be notified. They want pretty graphs. They want to see business metrics along side operational ones. They want to have a 52-inch monitor in the office that everyone can look at and say:

See that red dot? That’s bad. Here’s what was going on when we got that red dot. Let’s fix that shit and go get beers[…]

In other words, Vincent wanted to “let smart people be smart and do smart things.” And it seems to be working. Maybe not as fast as anyone would like, but it’s working.[3]

I conducted an email interview with Meyer over the last few weeks, and his responses were thoughtful and inspiring. I’ll get into that interview in my upcoming posts.

  1. I’m using the June 5, 2011 date as its first anniversary because @lusis’ post formalized the #monitoringsucks manifesto. So if June 5 is its first anniversary, May 26 might been seen as the anniversary of its first “date.”  ↩
  2. Tweeted by [@portertech (AKA Sean Porter)] sometime in May 2011, it reads: “Nagios sucks! We all put up w/ it. Good thing we have CM to make it bearable. #devops #chef #puppet”  ↩
  3. I know I’ve brought this up before, but this community really puts our current political situation (with all its partisanship and deadlock) to shame…  ↩


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