Chapter 7. Ganglia and Nagios

Vladimir Vuksan

Jeff Buchbinder

Dave Josephsen

It’s been said that specialization is for insects, which although poetic, isn’t exactly true. Nature abounds with examples of specialization in just about every biological kingdom, from mitochondria to clownfish. The most extreme examples are a special kind of specialization, which biologists refer to as symbiosis.

You’ve probably come across some examples of biological symbiosis at one time or another. Some are quite famous, like the clownfish and the anemone. Others, like the fig wasp, are less so, but the general idea is always the same: two organisms, finding that they can rely on each other, buddy up. Buddies have to work less and can focus more on what they’re good at. In this way, symbiosis begets more specialization, and the individual specializations grow to complement each other.

Effective symbiotes are complementary in the sense that there isn’t much functional overlap between them. The beneficial abilities of one buddy stop pretty close to where those of the other begin, and vice versa. They are also complementary in the sense that their individual specializations combine to create a solution that would be impossible otherwise. Together the pair become something more than the sum of their parts.

It would surprise us to learn that you’d never heard of Nagios. It is probably the most popular open source monitoring system in existence today, and is generally credited for if not inventing, then certainly ...

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