Looking at any organization today, one sees hard-working group of individuals tasked with the near impossible- that being navigating an increasingly complex IT environment while securely delivering virtually zero downtime. That’s today’s IT teams across companies and the software one chooses to empower teams is critical to their ability to perform. Thus is it important that the right selection is made based on the company’s specific needs.
The following ‘Top 5 Business Issues’ are directly related to the monitoring tools and approach for IT team select:
All IT teams react to unplanned service interruptions. But some teams identify the vast majority of issues before they are reported by users. The degree to which your team is reactive versus proactive can be measured by the percentage of service affecting incidents you first learn about from users. The more reactive the team, the less they are perceived as a valuable asset to the organization.
In countless studies and analyst reports, reactive management has been correlated with silo- or point-specific monitoring deployments. The causal effect most often stems from the inability to integrate data between organizational siloes and/or gain end-to-end visibility across technology domains.
Lengthy Troubleshooting Times
Service level disruptions trigger cross-departmental meetings and conference calls in which SMEs compare the health of their individual domains in an attempt to find a likely cause. Since what passes as a ‘healthy’ condition in at one level of the service delivery stack may cause disastrous results at a higher level, cause is all too often difficult to ascertain. This ‘siloed tool’ monitoring approach often adds considerable delay to your mean time to repair (MTTR) especially in more complex IT environments.
Higher Incident Rates
“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” As time passes and user frustration mounts, IT teams often turn in desperation to the process of restarting suspected problem servers. While this approach may restore service, every IT professional knows it just adds to another ‘known problem’ to the list. Over time, an increasing number of unresolved issues resurface resulting in higher incident rates.
Lowered Service Levels
Higher incident rates and long troubleshooting times combine to reduce service levels and impact your ability to roll out improvements. A common complaint of IT teams firmly in or entering this undesirable state is that ‘too many people spend too much time troubleshooting’.
Each management tool used requires some degree of dedicated manpower to operate and maintain. All too often, tools are selected based on the degree to which they can be customized without due consideration to the ease of customization. As the number of tools grows, this becomes a manpower drain on resources that impacts productivity. Therefore, as IT teams mature they often place a higher degree of emphasis on ease of automation and smaller numbers of tool vendors.
Advantages of a Unified Monitoring Approach
To address critical business issues, IT Teams are seeking flexible and unified monitoring tools to help them control complexity. In a typical multi-vendor environment nearly all IT components support a wide range of protocols that are used to gather data. Unified IT monitoring tools (UIMs) leverage these protocols to provide end-to-end visibility of servers, storage, networks, and applications as well as their interrelationships. This results in a number of key advantages:
A Proactive IT Posture
A single end-to-end perspective encourages a dependency-based approach to monitoring individual domain elements. For instance, knowing the scale and criticality of the virtual workload a physical servers hosts will dictate the thresholds and severity you apply to key performance indicators. When IT monitoring is based on such knowledge of dependencies it is more likely to identify potential or developing problems. Thus, organizations that use a unified monitoring approach are more likely to be proactive.
Faster Problem Resolution
Networking, server, storage and application teams are able to work together more effectively when they are all dealing with the same information. This leads to faster problem detection and resolution (MTTA, MTTR). Teams that better understand technology dependencies for the delivery of critical business applications and services are able to more quickly identify the cause of problems.
Every IT environment is different. Monitoring tools need to have the flexibility to handle a wide range of use cases, devices and protocols. Software licensing models also need to be flexible to support growth and changes in your environment. IT teams want to be able to monitor new devices and applications without having to buy additional licenses.
Improved Incident Rates
Of course, being able to detect developing problems and take proactive steps to avoid them decreases incident rates. So does actually being able to diagnose the cause of incidents. As causes are identified, problems can actually be fixed and the list of known problems decreased.