The diagram below has some parallels with OSS. The story however is a little long before it gets to the OSS part, so please bear with me.
The diagram shows analysis the US Navy performed during WWII on where planes were being shot. The theory was that they should be reinforcing the areas that received the most hits (ie the wing-tips, central part of the body, etc as per the diagram).
Abraham Wald, a statistician, had a completely different perspective. His rationale was that the hits would be more uniform and the blank sections on the diagram above represent the areas that needed reinforcement. Why? Well, the planes that were hit there never made it home for analysis.
In OSS, this is akin to the device or EMS that has failed and is unable to send any telemetry data. No alarms are appearing in our alarm lists for those devices / EMS because they’re no longer capable of sending any.
That’s why we use heartbeat mechanisms to confirm a system is alive (and capable of sending alarms). These come in the form of pollers, pingers or just watching for other signs of life such as network traffic of any form.
In what other areas of OSS can an absence of data demonstrate an insight?