Design Decisions: Agent installation instructions
The agent for our server monitoring service, Server Density, is designed to be as easy to install as possible but it still requires a minute or two of work on your server to get going.
As soon as you add a new server in the web interface, you’re taken to the agent installation instructions so you can get going as quickly as possible. This page has remained the same for over a year so with our new support for several OSs we decided to take the opportunity to revamp it.
The goals were:
- Make it more straightforward to follow the instructions – it was often confusing where to find the agent key.
- Highlight the OS packages for Red Hat and Debian compatible systems as these allow for start on boot and auto updates, plus make deployment onto cloud servers easier.
- Provide an easy to way to see all of the platforms we support.
- Offer different instructions for each OS where they differ, but allow users to switch between them.
The previous design included the step by step instructions plus extra headings with some more details about the access to the source code, further configuration etc. At the step where you need to modify your config file, the instructions directed users to use the config table, but since this was below the fold it was sometimes missed.
The new design achieves all of the above. You’re first presented with a set of OS logos. Clicking Windows or Mac OS X gives you the instructions immediately but if you choose Linux, you get the option of using our OS packages, with the logos of those systems clearly shown to highlight their availability. You then drill down to get the instructions tailored to each system. This is better than the popup we stole from the server view graphs tips box!
For the instructions themselves, we highlight the commands to execute in a much better way than before but crucially, the contents you need for the agent config file are included right in-line instead of needing an extra scroll action to a different box.
The icons grey out as you progress through the UI with the next level sliding in. And if we know your server OS because you have already installed the agent and are just coming back to check something, we preselect the OS to save you a bit of time!
This was pushed out last week and since then we have refined it slightly to make it clear we currently don’t support FreeBSD. We don’t want to disappoint users when you click the OS icon and get a “coming soon” message so included this in the icon instead.
So check it out when you’re adding your next server, or by clicking the “Agent” link in the list table from the Servers tab.
Enjoy this post? You may also like Multi data center redundancy – sysadmin considerations