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Free Monitoring Solutions: No Alignment with Business Goals
In our last blog, we talked about the value of multi-faceted support, and offered some reasons why use of unsupported free monitoring software would likely deny your organization meaningful benefits and substantial cost savings.
Being a customer, in other words, comes with perks -- not the least of which is a (metaphoric, or sometimes literal) seat at your monitoring solution vendor’s product planning table. Any commercial monitoring vendor’s enterprise customer base will be much smaller than the perhaps tens of thousands or even millions of putative users of an open source monitoring solution. And of course, you’re paying customers -- so you’re a member of a small, exclusive, and much-valued group; and your vendor will listen closely to your requirements, requests, and ideas.
By comparison, achieving real influence in a large open source community is much more difficult. It usually means hiring staff to make meaningful contributions to the project, and sustaining these contributions over time, earning the respect of other entities making similarly large contributions. This is not generally something that enterprises can afford to undertake unless their primary business pivots directly around the open source technology in question.
Being listened to by your monitoring vendor can make life easier. If you have a need (e.g., for a small but critical new feature, or a priority bugfix), especially if other users will also benefit and are willing to advocate with you, chances are pretty good that the vendor will provide for you, and promptly.
But that’s just one of many potential accommodations you may be able to negotiate. For example, many enterprises are now actively evolving hybrid cloud strategies: moving all or part of critical workloads, storage, and other functions to clouds. Monitoring is naturally part of this transition: both because you need to monitor cloud-resident assets and services, and because monitoring itself can beneficially consume compute, storage and other cloud resources.
Want to use AWS RDS instead of conventional, on-premises MySQL for storing monitoring data? Your vendor may be willing to help you make this happen (and even grateful for the market intelligence you provide: i.e., that you prefer the Amazon service to comparable offerings from other cloud vendors). Over time, as business conditions change and technology evolves, your vendor may be willing and able to support your transition to a cloud-resident managed monitoring service model, or to their SaaS-based offering.
Given the reality of constant IT evolution and relentless change, a long-term relationship with your trusted monitoring vendor can help make your organization more adaptable, agile, and effective -- far beyond the time horizon of a single product version, configuration, or architecture.
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