This list comes from my friend Steve Barger, a brilliant monitoring engineer as well as a gifted artist and webcomic author (You can read his weekly strip, “UpgrADe!” , here).

Looking ahead to the coming year, Steve has come up with 12 important items that anybody working with monitoring tools should keep in mind:

  1. Never monitor something that will never break.
  2. Going from Point A to Point B is always blocked by a firewall.
  3. To say that problems will not occur after you monitor them is bad karma.
  4. Give customers the opportunity to tweak their own monitors and alerts.
  5. You are the only support person between a customer and a 2am alert.
  6. Up on every good shelf is a manual…use it.
  7. Never underestimate the power of a false alert.
  8. Going into a meeting without knowing your customer’s monitoring strategy is unwise.
  9. To every system there is a threshold, to every customer there is a limit.
  10. Let the tools do their jobs efficiently so you don’t have to spend extra time on yours.
  11. You should never allow a good alerting opportunity pass you by.
  12. Down on paper or up on a whiteboard, strategies must be implemented to be effective.

Steve mentioned that more good advice can be found on this site.