Nagions Conference 2006, Nurnberg

2006-06-01 00:00:00

September 21-22 of 2006 saw the first annual Nagios Conference. Organised by the good folk of Netways, the conference was attended by around 130 people (mostly Germans, with some foreigners thrown in for fun).

Originally I posted some comments about the conference on my blog, but I thought I'd move them over into the Sysadmin section, to keep Google from thinking the Archives had content about Nagios :D

Day 0

Wow... Today was a long day :)

Left Utrecht around 09:30 and finally arrived at the hotel at 17:30. Eight hours, just as I predicted! 6 hours driving (0.5 of which due to delays) and 2 hours spent resting. Speaking of: I -love- the Germanian Autobahn! They are littered with comfortable places to take a break and there's also an abundance of what they call a Rasthof: parking space, combined with restaurants, gas station, maybe a hotel, a few shops and very cool sanitary facilities (by the Sanifair company). I'll talk about those some more another time :)

What else is there to tell? I showered, I unpacked, we had dinner with the whole group and I met some interesting people. *waves* Hi Stephan! Hi Jorg! *waves*

Now... I feel really tired (I also notice that it's getting harder for me to string together coherent thought, despite the recent cappuccino), so I'd better get to bed... I'm actually quite woozy in the head! :)

Tomorrow the conference'll start, so I'd better be at my best!

Day 1

So far, it's been an interesting day.

In the morning, Ethan Galstad (main Nagios developer) covered his plans for the future. Version 3.x (improved notification, expanded plugin output, custom variables and a greatly improved method for host checking) will Alpha in October and Stable somewhere this winter, while 4.x (a new PHP-based GUI, among other things) is on the long-term roadmap.

After that Michael Kienle and Markus Kosters told us a few things about the practical side of implementing Nagios in your organisation. I was already familiar with most of what they told us, but it must've been an eye opener for a lot of people! The notion that Nagios needs much more than just "download and install" is apparently foreign to a lot of people, which comes back to bite them in the ass later.

Lunch was terrific. I don't know how they do it, but the Nurnberg Holiday Inn are perfectly capable of making a buffet-style meal that -is- quite edible and actually varied and tasty! Kudos to them!

While on the subject of the hotel... The hotel, the rooms, the facilities: they're all wonderful. Nice ambience, a swanky in-house cafe and comfortable furniture. I like it! I just have to wonder about one thing: why the heck are there at least a dozen brothels and sex clubs surrounding the hotel?! o_O

The afternoon saw two sessions regarding data collection and representation: RRDTool and NagiosGrapher. RRD itself couldn't interest me for long, but NagGraph (which relies on RRD) on the other hand could. NagGraph allows you to include somewhat complicated graphs to Nagios (inside the Nagios GUI), which gives you something that is a little similar to Cacti

I had to skip the session on monitoring storage systems, because I -really- needed some fresh air. So I walked around Nurnberg's Alt Stad for a while. Looks nice, I have to say :) Of course I was only able to see a small part of it, but hey... At least I got out for a while. [EDIT: Anand from ASAM told me afterwards that I didn't miss much. Apparently is was kind of a marketing spiel]

So... The plan for the rest of the day:

See you guys tomorrow!

Day 2

*phew* That was great! <3

I'm sitting here in my hotel room with some apple soda and some Pringles, feeling nice and drowsy thanks to the hotel's sauna. It felt real good, just spending an hour and a half relaxing.

Anywho... The conference today... Pretty darn interesting and it gave me a load of things to think about! In his morning session Ethan covered some things that you usually don't think of when configuring Nagios, but that can save you loads of trouble! A few of the things he mentioned I will actually try to work into the design of $CLIENT's new Nagios infra, 'cause else they may run into some problems later.

The rest of the morning for me was filled with two sessions on varying ways to get info into Nagios. On the one hand there was SNMPtt (trap translator), which to me seemed like a really backward solution to a problem that wasn't too difficult to start with. And on the other hand, there was EventDB whose goal it is to have only one check command to access information provided by a great variety of sources. The only down-side being that you'll need translation adapters for each of these sources (which means that you basically are filling one whole by digging another).

Now I don't mean to be too negative about these two sessions. I'm sure that a lot of people are actually very happy to see these tools and that they will have some great uses for them.

Lunch... What can I say? It was great, just like yesterday. The hotel took great care of us, thanks to Netways.

After lunch, Ton Voon kicked off with a brief session on open source etiquette. Basically telling the attendees both the up and down sides their companies could experience by contributing to the Nagios community. As ever, Ton was charismatic and displayed a good sense of humor ^_^

Two Netways employees gave talks on:
1. The IT Portal they implemented at the Bundesverwaltungsamt. This is actually the same portal that Markus Kosters told us about yesterday, but Julian actually took time to show us the technology behind the portal.
2. Integrating Nagios with Asterisk (among other things), to allow for some nice telephone trickery. Mind you, Asterisk isn't really my thing, but I can imagine some people enjoying the idea of being called by the Nagios server to literally -tell- them (through a .WAV voice) that their server's down.

For me, the con was closed by a guy giving a marketing spiel about the services his company provides, but I was actually able to glean something useful from the talk.

Unfortunately there was no official closing ceremony, so the con ended quite abruptly. Which means that just about everyone stormed out of the building in the span of thirty minutes. I did however get to say goodbye to a few nice acquaintances I've made during these three days. And my hat's off to Anand who decided to drive home during the night (he lives in The Hague)... He should be arriving home, somewhere around 0200 ;_; Wow!

While waving off the last person to leave (Stephan), I met up with Ethan and his SO, Mary. We went to dinner together and I must say I enjoyed their company! Friendly folks and very down to earth. I believe that sometimes Ethan is just overwhelmed by all the attention people are willing to give him... Who could blame him?

Aside from Ethan and Mary, I'm the last conference attendee at the hotel. In the morning, I'll have a nice breakfast, grab some rolls at the bakery and head off home. I reckon I should get there around five-ish. tags: , ,

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