Time To Rethink Your Monitoring Portfolio

Have you ever done an audit of the number of monitoring solutions that you have in your environment? If you haven’t you are probably thinking - Why should I? I suppose if you draw an analogy to checking your car engine then not many people do this anymore. We are comforted by the thought that modern technology means our cars just work, but the reality is that with moving parts, technology will still fail and so we should at least be checking the important components before a long journey. Similarly the IT monitoring solutions that we have in our environment are important to the overall health of IT and so should therefore be audited to make sure they are ‘working’.

If you have done an audit then this may have prompted a number of questions including:

  1. Do I require monitoring or management solutions? The simple answer is that you require both. Good management solutions such as Application Performance Management (APM) are a combination of monitoring, configuration, analysis and automation components. So monitoring is essential to any management solution. Be very careful when buying a management solution that it covers your requirements in these areas and don't believe the marketing hype. Simply, be aware of marchitecture!
  2. HOW MANY monitoring technologies have I got?! This is a common reaction and you are not alone. It’s a problem of siloed I&O teams and what has happened is that the network monitoring team has bought their own solutions, the storage teams their own solutions and so on. The problem is that if you want to achieve benefits of APM, Business Service Management (BSM) or in a general sense, unified monitoring and management, you now have the potential problem of integration. One lesson moving forward here is to always explore and ask questions about the API framework with any monitoring or management solutions, and to always make sure that the solution vendor has credible background in regards to implementation and support services.

An audit may only just cover what you need now but what monitoring technologies will you need in the next decade?This is exactly question that Eveline Oehrlich and I are trying to answer in our TechRadar on Business Technology Monitoring Technologies that will be released later this year. To get you thinking about this, here is one monitoring technology that I think could be in a future monitoring portfolio:

  • End User Behavior Monitoring -I would like to call this customer behavior monitoring but maybe IT is not ready for this yet. Essentially this will monitor the way people interact with devices and applications in order to create a rich profile of them. So on one scale, how they work e.g. what applications they open, when, whether they are mobile, what device they are using. This is easy right? But the other component of this monitoring is intrusive and actually quite scary. How about combining this data to understand employee productivity? So when they are more productive at work and also how they are feeling? Sounds impossible but the groundwork for this monitoring has already been laid. There are already technologies used in the call centers that can detect tone of voice to understand the mood of the caller. We can even go further than this, how about tracking your employees sleep patterns and how healthy they are? This is already possible with the Fitbit device that I wear daily. If you want a current usage scenario of this type of monitoring then take a look at Tesco in the UK who are allegedly monitoring their staff with armband sensors.

So I would love to hear your thoughts on the technology monitoring market. What monitoring technologies are essential for I&O? If you would like to contribute to this TechRadar research then please contact me – jrakowski@forrester.com

Comments

Great post, we work with

Great post, we work with users who frequently have ten or more monitoring and management tools in place in their enterprise. Many of them don't realize the overhead involved in managing these different tools and how it's limiting them from improving IT service delivery. Having a unified view across all of your silos is essential to quickly diagnosing issues and being able to improve your IT team's performance. If you’re still spending time pointing fingers between silos using different tools, you’re not going to be able to prepare for the next wave of service monitoring and really accelerate your IT team.