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From the Trenches of IT Monitoring: Five Steps Forward

You’re struggling in the IT trenches and it just kind of happened to you. You started out with a simple monitoring product to cover a few servers. Then a few more applications and an expanded database were added, which needed to be monitored with another tool. Then you merged with another company, and more network devices, services, virtual machines, applications, databases, etc. needed to be monitored. Of course, the new IT team members had three other monitoring tools. Then cloud entered the picture. A selection of apps are now running on AWS, and you now need to monitor its performance. And so it goes.

It is your responsibility to ensure IT is keeping pace with the speed of the business. Now with seven different monitoring tools and no single view of what is happening, executing this task is beyond difficult!  You are spending too much time maintaining tools and way too much time identifying issues, rather than proactively keeping things working and carving out time to complete the new projects the business needs. Of course, as all of this has happened to you, the business has increasingly relied on IT to drive success. At this point, nothing happens (no sales, no marketing, no product deliveries, etc.) without IT. Yep, you are in the trenches and under incredible pressure. 

But what do you do? You are engaged in “swivel chair management” with way too many UIs, constant configuration challenges, disconnected information, inability to scale, and a steep learning curve for anyone new. Unfortunately, there is no magical way to instantaneously jump from your monitoring terrors to monitoring excellence. As they say though, “admitting you have a problem is the first step.” It will take a thoughtful, concerted effort to move from your current situation, but with the following five guiding principles, you can make changes that will improve your situation.

1.    Play Well with Others and Scale: When evaluating monitoring solutions, be sure that the tool works well with others and can handle an incremental migration that doesn’t disrupt your environment. Your new monitoring solution should not only meet your current needs, but also have the capability to keep up with the growth of your business. A fully supported master-slave architecture will allow you to monitor your expanding infrastructure, both on premise and in the cloud, without fear of limitations. With organizational growth being at the forefront of the business, make sure your IT monitoring solution is equipped to meet new demands. 

2.    Single Pane of Glass: Developing insights from your monitoring solution is much easier when you have a single pane of glass view of your infrastructure. A master view allows you to retrieve all the information coming from your tool and evaluate all the data in a way that makes sense to the entire team. Overseeing the entirety of your IT infrastructure and its critical services via a single pane of glass will arm you with the right information to quickly address issues and make better decisions. 

3.    Administrative Efficiency: One of the most important qualities of a great monitoring solution is that it leads to IT efficiency. A great user interface, compelling and configurable dashboards, fast configuration and must-know information at your fingertips with context-sensitive drill downs are all key capabilities you will need in your monitoring solution. You shouldn’t need a lone monitoring expert to process and explain the information coming from your solution. Ultimately, a comprehensive monitoring tool should be easy to use and increase administrative efficiency across your entire team, allowing you to accomplish more tasks at a faster pace. 

4.    Problem Identification: It should not take a long journey to solve critical issues occurring within your IT environment. It is the job of your monitoring solution to quickly identify the root cause of problems at both a device and service level. Having to scroll through an endless list of alerts wastes valuable time and resources, so be sure to implement a monitoring tool that allows you to fix issues before customers are negatively impacted.

5.    Graphing and Reports: Data points, trends, flexible graphing and reporting are crucial to making informed decisions and demonstrating value to IT and business leaders. A powerful monitoring tool provides insightful graphs and reports that accurately showcase the overall health of your IT environment. These findings allow you to make smart decisions and help focus your limited budget on the most important areas.  

Through no fault of your own, you have evolved to a difficult situation. But there is a path forward. These guiding principles can act as a blueprint. By keeping them top of mind throughout your monitoring search, you will ultimately make the right decision and put yourself in a great position to achieve monitoring success.

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by Opsview Team,
Opsview is passionately focused on monitoring that enables DevOps teams to deliver smarter business services, faster.

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