Monitoring 100% of your IT systems and infrastructure can be quite a challenge. In this article, Nick explains why an enterprise monitoring strategy offers the best approach for managing a complex IT environment and delivering a great customer experience.
The Problem With Traditional Silo-Monitoring
Traditionally, separate IT teams focus on specific parts of the overall IT infrastructure, or specific applications. Each team deploys monitoring tools that work well with specific systems. This gives rise to “silo-monitoring,” where each team monitors the health of their systems independent of the other teams.
For larger companies, you may centralize monitoring in a network operations center (NOC). But oftentimes this creates tool creep, where NOC teams are managing supersets of tools. Obviously this creates a cost problem (tool cost, training cost, cost of upgrading systems constantly, etc).
In addition, you may also run into these problems:
- Several teams end up working on the same problem.
- Several teams initiate a resolution, even though they’re unable to determine the original cause of the problem.
- No one is responsible for resolving “ghost” problems that can’t be isolated in a specific team’s area of responsibility.
- The business suffers due to downtime, and may lose money. In addition, customer satisfaction diminishes.
- The business is spending money on 50+ tools when they might only need five.
- As the business loses people they lose the technical expertise of the specific monitoring tool they were responsible for.
Enterprise Monitoring Generates a Shift in Perspective
Enterprise monitoring – the effective alternative to silo-monitoring – utilizes a centralized system and a set of standard procedures to collect, analyze, predict, and report on system performance. The main objective of enterprise monitoring is to reduce the time to repair problems and increase the availability of the applications.
Enterprise monitoring tools aren’t focused on the infrastructure itself. Instead, they focus on gathering information from the infrastructure to help IT staff understand how the problem in the components affects the availability of the applications.
With enterprise monitoring, teams start to interact differently. Questions like, “are you seeing what I’m seeing?” become a lot easier to deal with. Teams no longer focus only on the specific components they support. They need to work together with other teams to fix the problems that are preventing access to applications. This is especially crucial due to the interdependencies among the components. When all the teams share the same monitoring tool, inter-silo communication is critical to reduce downtime occurrences and the time to repair problems.
Using an enterprise monitoring strategy, you’ll realize several benefits.
1. Reduce the risk and cost of downtime
A central enterprise monitoring tool can predict problems throughout the infrastructure, and teams can work to address those issues before downtime occurs. In addition, when the mean time to repair problems is reduced, the associated costs also go down. The result is a lot more uptime, cost savings, and happy customers.
2. Improve the customer experience
You can improve the experience for internal and external customers, because applications are available and running at peak speed with less interruption.
3. Achieve high visibility and coverage across all microservices
In a system with a number of microservices, it’s possible that monitoring won’t treat all the microservices equally. A central monitoring tool addresses every component, thereby increasing the visibility and coverage for all microservices.
4. Increase proactive monitoring
Silo-monitoring approaches are typically reactive. The assigned teams are notified of a problem, and then need to initiate a repair. Assuming that the problem is isolated to one component, that approach works – but it still results in costly downtime.
An enterprise monitoring strategy will help you proactively monitors all services and applications. You identify problems before they cause downtime or performance issues.
5. Maximize the return on investment (ROI) for business application delivery
Virtually every business application is developed based on the return the business will realize. That ROI is reduced every time extensive repairs are necessary. The only way to maximize the ROI on the application is to ensure the highest percentage of availability possible.
6. Tap into predictive analytics
An enterprise monitoring strategy can help you use the data you collect to predict events that may happen in the future. For example, Icinga can monitor how much memory an application is using over a period of time, and notify you when it’s time to add additional resources to a server. Through the use of Elastic and Icinga Beats, you can see trends and better predict when you’ll need to add resources before your application starts to slow down.
Another common example might involve your SSL certificates. Enterprise organization have 100’s of SSL certificates with different expiry dates. Icinga can be used to monitor all SSL certificates and notify you in advance before they expire. You can set up alerts 45 days prior the expiry date; giving your team enough time to proactively renew certificates before a major downtime event occurs.
Instead of using 50+ monitoring tools across multiple teams, you should consider centralizing monitoring to a handful of tools that can identify a root problem and the effect it’s having on all the interconnected components.
Shadow-Soft is available to help you implement the technology you need to reduce your downtime risks and improve your customers’ experiences. For enterprise monitoring, we recommend Icinga’s open source monitoring tool. It offers an open and extendable framework to monitor all components of your IT infrastructure.