SREday 2023

14 - 15 Sep London, UK
Site Reliability Engineering Conference

Know your data: The stats behind your alerts

Dave McAllister

Quick, what's the difference between mean, mode and median? Review how statistical behavior impacts alerting. Learn why a median is best for historical anomaly. Jump into distributions, data alignment challenges and the trouble with sampling. Walk out with a deeper understanding of your metrics.

Quick, what's the difference between the mean, the mode and the median? Which mean do you mean? Do you need a Gaussian or a normal distribution? How do you measure trends? Does "p" mean percentage? (Hint: No.) And does your choice impact the alerts and observations you get from your observability tools? Come get refreshed on the impact some basic choices in statistical behavior can have on what gets triggered. Learn why a median might be the choice for historical anomaly or sudden change. Jump into Gaussian distributions, data alignment challenges and the trouble with sampling. Walk out with a deeper understanding of your metrics and what they might tell you.

Currently providing technical evangelism for NGINX, Dave works with DevOps, developers and architects to understand the advantages of modern microservice architectures and orchestration to solve large-scale distributed systems challenges, especially with open source and its innovation. Dave has been a champion for open systems and open source from the early days of Linux, through open distributed file systems like XFS, GFS, and GlusterFS to today's world of clouds and containers. He often speaks on topics such as the real-world issues associated with emerging software architectures and practices, on open source software and on creating new technology companies. Dave has spoken on technical topics like distributed request tracing, modern monitoring practices, open sources projects from both corporations and foundation views, and on how open source innovations powers todays world. Dave was named as one of the top ten pioneers in open source by Computer Business Review, having cut his teeth on Linux and compilers before the phrase "open source" was coined. Well versed in trivia, he won a Golden Penguin in 2002. When he's not talking, you can find him hiking with his trusty camera, trying to keep up with his wife.

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