Is Monitoring Dead?

Is Monitoring Dead?

A recent marketing campaign from Zenoss suggests that traditional monitoring tools are, in fact, dead. They suggest that HP OpenView, IBM Netcool, CA Nimsoft, and BMC BPPM are high cost of ownership tools that lack automation and integration for today’s modern IT infrastructures.

Zenoss’ October campaign is timely, suggesting that owners of these tools feel as if they are stuck in a haunted house. I’m not sure about the haunted house, but clearly ITOM is changing and the future is not just about monitoring anymore. With the downturn of the ITOM market and saturation of an endless supply of free and premium monitoring tools, requirements once acceptable by IT management is no longer sufficient, and here’s why…

Enterprises and service providers are changing at an astounding rate. First virtualization, then the cloud, then software defined computing have all contributed significantly to dynamically changing infrastructure. Legacy monitoring tools were not designed to harness these technologies and frequently struggle with the discovery and modeling of managed end-points through third-party API’s, and physical systems such as routers, load balancers, servers, or firewalls are becoming scarcer. The need to identify soft vertices and correlate edge relationships to other soft components is extremely challenging for older technologies.

Another factor to consider is the value of performance data in today’s enterprises. In the olden days (roaring 90’s), performance management was a key factor in capacity management and planning, where managers used such data to help forecast budgets, data growth, and allocation of costly resources. In a world where compute is cheap, disk is even cheaper, and scale-out capabilities can be dynamically provisioned, the need for deep and wide performance data much less important than it used to be. Performance management is still important for advanced analysis, such as deterministic and predictive computations, and as a basis for standard deviation used in determining anomalies. However, unless your IT monitoring system can provide this type of functionality, the cost and burden of managing one or more massive databases of historical performance data carries a burdensome cost of ownership.

Zenoss is spot-on about modern requirements of automation and integration. Not all monitoring and management systems are created equal, but for the more advanced solutions, automation and integration are at the very heart of their design. Such products are designed with the notion that integration of external systems is critical to drive business automaton and efficiency. ROI and value does not exist by simply alerting when a system has a problem, but rather delivering the message to the service management team while also actively taking corrective measures to heal the situation. Legacy tools do in fact offer a plethora of options, however the mitigating factor for customers is cost and time. Spending 12 to 24 moths engineering a custom integration with ServiceNow, for example, while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars is a painful pill to swallow. Modern solutions provide automated integration that saves time and money, not the other way around.

Modern IT management systems should act much more like a broker of all things IT, to automatically detect and model all key elements within today’s soft computing environment, while fully supporting legacy infrastructure such as networking, storage, or facility devices. The solution should integrate out-of-the-box with your other key business systems and IT management tools. Users should be able to easily create custom integrations and reports without being an expert programmer, and to automate the execution of jobs for the purpose of rectifying a problem or validating the severity of an issue. And finally, the next solution you deploy should have the ability to deliver intelligent automation through machine learning and/or service mapping and management through intelligent discovery.

The key is to do more with less, leverage tools that can grow with your organization, and demonstrate a high degree of value to your entire organization!

See Zenoss’ Survey…


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