S4E1: "Measuring Success"

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Recorded (UTC) Aired (UTC) Editor
2019-02-21 03:18:52 2019-03-04 02:08:01 "Edita"
Format SHA256 GPG Audio File
MP3 4d54a5eb356493a7c12fe214d89c05683228f8d0b5d0ce669428f847a5a77e61 click click
OGG 5a7e1728f9d3549d4dd1782b1c7e4fd1c48688172cb6bcf6877f82595063fe83 click click

On gathering and applying metrics data. Contain’s Jthan’s “compile noise”.

Just the Tip


Starts at 13m05s.

I was drinking water. Paden was drinking Glenmorangie Original again. Jthan was drinking Buffalo Trace.

  • Metrics!
    • Metrics is the measuring of data about services, etc. (with the purpose of application for optimization). e.g.:
      • CPU usage
      • uptime/availability
      • Memory usage
      • Bandwidth throughput average
      • Bandwidth usage (“bandwidth accounting”)
    • Metrics are vitally important to projected models for e.g. budgeting.
    • Gathering metrics:
      • Generally speaking, logs don’t have much value to gathering metrics with one exception: AWStats (for Apache or Nginx).
      • Jthan mentions Prometheus which has a lot of flexibility and is pretty.
      • I also mentioned Sysdig which seems to have taken a shift more towards container technology.
      • For bandwidth alone, there’s a lot of tools!
        • RRDTool has been an industry standard for a long time. One can even generate graphs from the data it collects with Cacti, or you can interact with it directly via e.g. python-rrdtool or use the RRDTool-provided python bindings, or even modify RRD data (for instance, if you wanted to redact some information or minimize your data for a report summary).
        • nmon gathers more than just bandwidth, but it does gather it as well.
        • bandwidthd has been around for ages.
        • (There are “live metrics” monitoring programs as well such as iftop and iptraf, the latter of which DOES have logging but you would need to write your own parser.)
        • Jthan also wrought his campus’ IT department’s wrath upon him with ntop-ng.
    • Metrics, in addition to budgeting approval, are good for providing feedback/insight to clients and C-level officers proving service value.
    • Metrics can also allow you to identify issues, but this is perhaps better reserved for monitoring as it’s better designed for that purpose.
    • Metrics also can allow you to identify trends — finding patterns of usage and then making projections based on said patterns (and allowing you to make “educated guesses” to maximize your resource availability/load/etc.).
    • Metrics are useful for “proving and quantifying success”; as part of our role, the better we are the more invisible we are (read through that parent thread, by the way! It has a lot of useful tips!).
      • Always remember to translate the success of your department to financial gain — servers up equals +$$$, servers down equals -$$$.

15 Clams

In this segment, Jthan shares with you a little slice of life. The title is a reference to this video. (2m16s in)

Starts at 35m15s.

Storytime! Jthan hires a student and he (Jthan) as a result is a happy little clam.

He also relates how someone seems to “just know” the answers, but knowing how to find an answer is even more important.


  • We didn’t mention it on-air, but another product to check out is netdata. It’s geared more towards the “monitoring” than “metrics” side though.
  • Nosbig (who has been on several of our Shitshow episodes and is a regular in our IRC) reminded us that we missed one of the biggest metrics platform out there today — Elasticsearch. Duh! Thanks, Nosbig!


Music Credits
Track Title Artist Link Copyright/License
Intro Suburb ULPIANA click CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0
Outro Frontex VS Zombies Die Leere im Kern Deiner Hoffnung click CC-BY-SA 4.0
(All music is royalty-free, properly licensed for use, used under fair use, or public domain.)



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