October 10, 2013

Do You Have The Right IT Monitoring And Management Strategy?

By CloudTweaks

IT Monitoring And Management Strategy

As more organizations embrace hybrid IT, the task of monitoring and managing these environments becomes more complex. Virtualization and cloud add layers of abstraction, making detection and resolution of a performance/availability issue extremely challenging for the IT operations department. Without the correct process and tools in place, restoration of service becomes a difficult, long drawn process and downtime becomes a constant detrimental issue.

The team here at Zenoss commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study on the current state of IT’s ability to manage the performance and availability of critical applications and services in an increasingly complex IT environment. Forrester surveyed 157 IT professionals in North America via multiple channels and asked questions around the tactics the operations team uses to address downtime, capabilities that are most important to IT organizations in a monitoring tool and where they currently stand on addressing the complexities of the modern data center.

Below are key findings from this survey and ways in which organizations can begin to improve the way in which they manage IT operations.

Organization are experiencing way too much downtime

The findings suggested that IT greatly struggles to manage complexity of the modern data center with more than a third of organizations running into IT issues on a daily basis. The cost? Forrester found that companies lose $10,000 to $1 million hourly on down time. No wonder IT has become the number one concern for CEOs – even above people skills and market factors.

Organizations are not able to find or solve the problem quickly

In addition to experiencing a lot of downtime, another major problem was the time it took the operations team to find the root cause of the problem. According to this study, results showed that 42 percent of the respondents spend from one hour to more than a week identifying the root cause of service problems. Making it worse is the fact that over 60% of the surveyed need to involve 4 to 10+ full-time employees to solve the problem. This is a huge issue when it comes to costs for the company – as stated above an hour of downtime can cost upwards of a million dollars.

Why are IT operation teams struggling?

The two reasons for the downtime issue and mean time to recover were linked back to IT monitoring tool clutter and poor capacity planning.

More than 50 percent of respondents are using five or more monitoring tools, and an astounding 14 percent are using 20 or more different tools to find and fix issues. This leads to slow detection and imprecise root cause analysis. Even though, the number one benefit that companies look for in a monitoring tool is that the tool identifies an issue or problem before it can impact end users. 28 percent of respondents are unaware of service degradation until end users or business leaders contact them.

The tools are not providing the necessary intelligence to enable organizations to effectively work on a resolution. As a result, teams of SMEs from different groups have to be assembled each time there is a disruption. This is neither efficient nor scalable.

Capacity planning continues to be the Achilles’ heel for IT operations. Unplanned capacity planning was the number one cause for performance and availability issues. They need better insights into their environment to understand the utilization patterns and start to anticipate the upcoming capacity.

What can you do?

In order to get the agility and elasticity that cloud computing and virtualization provides, companies need to start tightening up their monitoring and management strategy. Monitoring cannot be siloed, you simply cannot afford 20 disjointed monitoring tools. You need a unified tool that can monitor virtual, cloud and physical infrastructure as well as their resources like storage and the network. A solution such as Zenoss Service Dynamics, can holistically monitor your environment, speed up root cause analysis and analyze your environment to provide you with trends and patterns to help you better conduct capacity planning and infrastructure optimization. While it is critical that organizations manage their environment to continue delivering on their SLAs, it is equally important to have monitoring be a strategic part of their IT planning as they mature.

By Chris Smith,

Chris Smith joined Zenoss in 2012 as CMO and is responsible for all aspects of brand management, product marketing, and Demand Generation. Prior to joining Zenoss, Chris was VP of Product and Partner Marketing at Quest Software. Before Quest, Chris was VP of Marketing and Product Management at Alert Logic, guiding the company from startup to over 1,000 customers and SaaS network security leadership in less than 4 years.

Smith holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Rice University.

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