With Nagios Monitoring implementations, “Planning is the Hallmark of Intelligence”. Actually I borrowed that phrase from some animal show about squirrels and how squirrels become better planners each season, as they build the skill of planning. It was some evidence of animal learning, but what really stuck in my mind was the phrase “Hallmark of Intelligence”. It still amuses me because it sounds haughty at the same time it oversimplifies. But then as this phrase rang again and again in my thoughts, and then again, I realized it was true.

According to dictionary.com, the definition of the word, "hallmark", (noun) is defined: 

1. an official mark or stamp indicating a standard of purity, used in marking gold and silver articles assayed by the Goldsmiths' Company of London; plate mark.
2. any mark or special indication of genuineness, good quality, etc.
3. any distinguishing feature or characteristic

But not only is good planning the distinguishing feature and good characteristic, it very well can be a true technical strategic advantage, as well as the main catalyst for a lot of other good practice.

Here are the main reasons why you should spend significant energy in the planning phase when setting up a new monitoring system, whether using Nagios or any other monitoring platform:

  1. Primarily and foremost: Good planning avoids costly and painful future mistakes. The more complex your environment, the more complex your monitoring and analytics. Complex problems are not solved by throwing paint.
  2. Good planning yields useful diagrams, matrices and schematics of important technical inventory information.
  3. With planning, you will create better, more efficient processes. For example, with Nagios you can leverage hostgroups, templates, and macros to minimize the configuration efforts to deploy new checks for new hosts and services.

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