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It is better when it is green

Monitoring systems are central to my happiness as a systems administrator. They tell me when things go wrong … hopefully before the phone rings … warn me when things are getting close to failing and can provide more directly useful information than direct customer reports. The major problem with monitoring systems is getting the information from the system to the human. Nagios’s web page will make noises and can provide a text based display; but sometimes you need a simple display that prompts you to go look for a problem. This is where traffic lights and other visual indicators are useful.
I wanted a completely self contained display needing only Ethernet and a Nagios server to point at. The result was the NagiosRGBMoodLight project. The prototype came in at approximately $100 making it competitive with commercial solutions and construction was simple. Now when the light is green my mood is good.

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These devices are simple and easily deployable in offices and datacenters letting me know when to look for problems when I am not at my desk and before the Nagios notifications go off allowing greater responsiveness.