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The Journey of IT Monitoring Complexity

I enjoy speaking  with customers. We often get nostalgic about how we’ve all come along on the IT complexity journey. We remember when everyone used to monitor boxes with lights and fans, generating heat and noise. And how these all started going ‘to the cloud’. Of course, those boxes were still generating heat and noise, but on someone else’s premises, in someone else’s warehouse. These cloud providers would charge for the benefits of flexible, scalable usage, high availability and disaster recovery, offering all of these as a service. I’m talking like cloud is a thing of the past, but I’m really just pointing out a progression that started some years ago. Recent surveys show that many companies are pursuing a ‘hybrid infrastructure policy” – keeping some things on-premise, and others in the cloud. Gartner provide a good overview.

As customers began moving to the cloud, we were there, ready to monitor their changing infrastructure: on-premises, and in the cloud. The cloud market is still forming and changing shape. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are slugging it out for market-share and multi-billion-dollar contracts. We keep out of the politics of all of that, and quietly monitor (sorry!) the technology market. We saw Google Cloud emerging and added monitoring for that. We watch IBM and Oracle with interest. And in a more politically-charged world than ever, we watch national cloud providers emerge in the UK and Germany, and soon other countries I am sure. Add to this, the fact that the number of things that require monitoring in the cloud continues to grow, and you can imagine just how much time we spend ensuring that we have highly-competitive breadth and depth of coverage. 

Oh, and of course, virtual machines added to this mix. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I wondered just how long VMware would continue to grow, once public clouds gained traction. Seems I wasn’t alone in thinking this, but public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, virtual machines all continue to grow in prevalence. 

Around 18 months ago, I first came across containers – specifically Kubernetes. Where I was working at the time, the CTO made a decision to gradually move parts of the business service to Kubernetes to aid with future scalability and performance, as well as opening up a market opportunity for micro-services as a potential revenue stream. You can see a fairly grainy video from DevOpsCon 2018 where this is discussed. And that was me just being nostalgic for a second! 

Unbeknownst to me (because I just joined Opsview six months ago!), Opsview had already (six months earlier) released a market-ready monitoring extension for Kubernetes (I learned that we call these monitoring extensions “Opspacks”, and they give us dramatic advantages in flexibility and speed-to-market for monitoring emerging technologies). As I’ve been speaking with customers during my first six months with Opsviewit is clear that Kubernetes is now doing what cloud did maybe 8-10 years ago – it is moving into the mainstream. We are speaking with many early adopters – companies that have perhaps built a test system or moved parts of their existing business service to a micro-service, containerized architecture – namely Kubernetes – and are now looking to move their production environments into Kubernetes. Hence it should come as no surprise that we have just released an all-new Opspack for monitoring Kubernetes. You can do this directly with Kubernetes, or through Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Amazon’s Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Google’s Kubernetes Engine (GKS). 

For me, this is one of the most interesting parts of my role – understanding technology trends and drivers, spotting the winners, and then rapidly providing customers with the capabilities that they need – just before they actually need them. And I was wondering yet again what might happen to VMware. Would this rapid growth in Kubernetes uptake threaten VMware? The answer came from VMware themselves – they plan to support Kubernetes too! They are essentially disrupting their own business model, and publicly state that Kubernetes is their next “$5billion play”. I thought that this article took an interesting slant (and not just because the author is also called Scott!).

Tell me what your next monitoring challenge is going to be – it’s how I keep learn and keep pushing forward our monitoring capabilities to solve those challenges as they emerge. 

Scott Heyhoe
VP Product Management, Opsview


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