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Posts Tagged ‘System administrator

Datadog and DevOps

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Based on what I see in the video embedded below, the Datadog team has developed a dashboard that can be used jointly by development and infrastructure operations teams to get a holistic view of everything that’s going on in the stack.  This challenge (the interaction between application developers and infrastructure operations, or rather, the lack of it) is very real, and I see it every day in my day job.   So, I always like to see when a startup (especially a NYC-based one) is building tooling to help bridge this gap.

It is hard to tell from the video how much of the product is focused on analysis versus aggregation and presentation of statistics.  Certainly there is value in correlating various statistics from different web services (e.g. money spent on AWS correlated with a spike in site traffic captured by Google Analytics) but the greater value would be in crunching the data and making predictions (or taking pre-emptive action).  Maybe the idea is that a dashboard is provided for free, with analytics available for a fee?

Another question that came to mind when watching the video was: “Who is the customer?” Is it the application developer, the system administrator, or both?  My gut tells me infrastructure folks would be the ones to get excited about this product, as they are generally spending lots of time looking at various metrics, reports, and charts, and trying to correlate behaviors between different areas of the infrastructure.   Anything that can help them pick up on correlations or trends is of value.  However, application developers who are running their application on a IaaS platform might appreciate this data as well, since they may not have system administration staff to support them.

This dual focus leads to some questions around the customer acquisition strategy and positioning.  Even in a world where DevOps is beginning to see traction, there is still a line of demarcation between application developers and infrastructure operations people.  Each group has a distinct set of needs, and a product that tries to cater to both groups might not catch on with either one.   I’m sure Datadog will address this question in the coming months as they move from Alpha into wider distribution.

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Written by John Gannon

October 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

Making system administration social

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

How can we make system administration more social (in the social networking sense)? And, more importantly, does anyone want to make it more social?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I’m using Twitter and participating in the community of VMware and cloud enthusiasts who are gathered there. There are loads of technical tips and tricks being shared on a daily basis and members of the community are supporting other members who have specific technical challenges. It is quite clearly valuable in building community among VMware users, the company and its users, as well as a practical way to get tips, tricks, and solutions to problems very quickly and in a ‘crowdsourced’ manner.

One way to make system administration more social would be to bake social networking features into the system administrators toolkit. Some examples of ‘social’ system administration products:

Web browser plugin: Similar to what Zemanta does to recognize that you’re working on a blog post, one could build a plugin that sees you’re logging into the web interface of a management application (e.g. Rightscale) and create an overlay that provides relevant Twitter content and interaction capabilities.

Plugins to extensible management systems: For example, VMware’s VCenter allows for 3rd party plugins. As far as I know, there is no technical reason why a plugin couldn’t be written to ntegrate with the Twitter API and/or specific RSS feeds.

Open source monitoring with social extensions: Use an open source monitoring platform as a base, but make it highly social via a set of extensions, with hooks to Twitter, recommended blogs, etc.

Similar to a product like StockTwits, I’d imagine you’d also want to feed this highly curated, specific Twitter stream to a destination site which could hopefully drive additional user acquisition through SEO.

If you’re an IT manager or a system administrator, do you want your toolkit to be more social? Is anyone doing something like this today? Do sysadmins even want this, or are they content with a social networking experience that is disconnected from their day-to-day toolkit. Very curious to hear your thoughts.

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Written by John Gannon

December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

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