Push vs. Pull Monitoring Configs

  • Everything is centralized, so it’s very easy to make global & wide or narrow-range changes. We often add (or disable) metrics in our Zabbix system, and they roll out to thousand-host fleets in minutes. Likewise, we can add or change monitoring metrics or frequencies, etc. on single groups of hosts that are having issues. New information arrives nearly instantly.
  • Push is especially useful with generic monitoring agents such as JMX and MySQL (or CloudWatch), which can get any of hundreds of possible metrics, so all we have to do is specify which we’d like at any given time on any given set of servers and services. It’s very flexible & dynamic, in near real-time.
  • Central systems often have templates, allowing new hosts and services to be very quickly & easily defined, inheriting all they need from existing templates. This lets us setup complex new host monitoring in seconds, automatically inheriting our years of approved best practices.
  • Central config allows for well-defined graphs, maps, and alerts, since all the data, types, units, etc. is known in advance, and often defined by service experts such as DBAs.
  • Pull systems usually accept ad hoc and unplanned metrics at any time, or even the ‘same’ metric with different units, tags, etc. This is a big advantage of Pull, especially in the DevOps world when developers can decide any time to add metrics to the mix. Just send stuff, any time.
  • Pull systems tend to be more ‘modern’, and better at accepting tags and additional metadata with the metrics. They are also starting to blur the line between metrics, events, and even logs (which are just semi-structured events), mixing them all together. This allows for much richer querying, visualizations, and problem-solving.

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CEO of ChinaNetCloud & Siglos.io — Global Entrepreneur in Shanghai & Silicon Valley

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Steve Mushero

Steve Mushero

CEO of ChinaNetCloud & Siglos.io — Global Entrepreneur in Shanghai & Silicon Valley

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