IT Monitoring: Getting Above the Noise, Part 2 – Lean or Unified Monitoring

With the increasing availability and accessibility of cloud-based monitoring solutions, managing IT infrastructures in multiple locations has become significantly easier.

Where 72% of companies surveyed had resources that were distributed across more than five physical locations, it’s clear that there is an opportunity to migrate to more flexible monitoring solutions. However, with the architectures for IT service delivery becoming more and more complex, the use of multiple monitoring tools can add to this complexity, according to Forrester.

Lean or Unified Monitoring?

A “unified” approach to monitoring can be an advantage, but practically speaking, a specialized lean monitoring tool for a specific set of components can provide better quality information because they’re designed especially for those components. The caveat to successfully using multiple monitoring tools is that an ad hoc mix of monitoring tools for specific infrastructure elements only increases operational silos and limit IT capacity to provide insight into the end-to-end service performance and availability. This can be true, but it can also be managed and organized in such a way that it is not a hindrance on the business, and does not necessarily justify the cost of a unified solution.

It’s clear from the research findings that unified monitoring is not a widespread strategy, even for large organizations. Only 21% of the 157 respondents however had an integrated monitoring toolset. 60% of companies are bringing in new tools to deal with new issues or when new infrastructure is added. 78% of respondents use a mix of monitoring solutions for different technology components. For all intents and purposes, these companies are no less competitive or well managed than their counterparts using unified solutions.

Cost/Benefit Is Still an Issue

This is likely due to the fact that purchasing, installing, configuring and using such a solution is cost-prohibitive. Also, the real-world benefits of unified monitoring might not be as potent as respondents imagine. In fact, 40% of organizations responded that they identify the root cause between one hour and a full day – that includes companies using unified monitoring systems. This raises the question of what proportion of efficiency gains are perceived versus tangibly measured.

SentinelAgent is, for now, a Windows exclusive lean monitoring solution. For companies that operate workstations, servers, and applications in an all-Windows environment could consider SentinelAgent a unified monitoring solution. The fact is though, not every company designs their IT networks with a single OS in mind. A mix of Linux servers, Windows workstations & applications, and Apple mobile devices is very common! What monitoring solution could reconcile all this data to provide a unified view? The fact is, using a mix of solutions, if well implemented, can provide all the information needed to manage and maintain a network without investing in a monstrous unified solution.