Sensu and the Art of Monitoring

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 11:45am12:30pm

Sean Porter, Sensu


As the complexity and scale of our systems increases, our methods of monitoring them must adapt in order to maintain situational awareness. Our newfound ability to produce and deploy software at a high rate demands increased visibility into production.

We commonly use the term "monitoring" to describe a collection of components that make up a system comprised of fault detection, metric collection, analytics, visualization, and notification. Traditional monitoring tools tend to be monolithic in design with their own approach to each of these components. An alternative to the monolith is a composable system, a modular design, combining several best-of-breed tools to fulfill the functions of each component.

Sensu is an open source monitoring tool designed for today’s systems. Sensu is commonly referred to as "the monitoring framework," allowing its users to compose a monitoring system to meet their unique demands. Sensu provides a monitoring agent, transport, event processor, HTTP API, and more!

In this presentation, I will discuss each component of a modern monitoring system, comparing several approaches to each of them. I will also cover the advantages and disadvantages of specific tool architectures, talk about Sensu's approach to monitoring, and Sensu at scale!

Sean Porter, Sensu

Sean Porter is a toolsmith with a love for composable systems. He is a practitioner of passion driven development with an appetite for a good post-mortem. As the author and lead developer of Sensu, the open source monitoring framework, he acts as the primary caretaker of the project. Sean is a partner at Heavy Water Operations, building Sensu Enterprise and helping people automate and monitor their infrastructure.

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@conference {201488,
author = {Sean Porter},
title = {Sensu and the Art of Monitoring},
year = {2016},
address = {Boston, MA},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = dec,

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