Should Your IT Systems Monitoring Tool Reveal a View from the Top or the Trenches?

Should Your IT Systems Monitoring Tool Reveal a View from the Top or the Trenches?

With IT systems monitoring tools, the choices are often stark. With many of them, you can either see the forest or the trees. And when a fire starts, you’ll get an alert to tell you it’s time to jump into action to stop the productivity and revenue losses.

None of this quite meets your organization’s needs. That’s because you have multiple stakeholders who need to look at your infrastructure from different vantage points to keep performance high and users satisfied. Your IT infrastructure monitoring solution has to take you from an all-encompassing view to the root cause. And you’re better off with predictive analytics that help you to prevent fires than alerts that tell you when to fight them.

3 Essential Views of Your IT Infrastructure


By providing these three views, your systems monitoring tool will keep all stakeholders in the IT department happy, and they’ll be empowered to ensure optimal performance.

The Big Picture

CTOs want the bird’s eye view of how the infrastructure is performing across the organization. That includes a broad view of your storage, server, storage area network (SAN), and application assets — what you have and how everything is performing across the enterprise — all summarized at a high level. This data allows them to identify problem areas quickly and make informed business decisions.

CTOs are busy. They don’t want a deluge of data that leaves them sifting through chart after chart to learn what’s going on. If necessary, they should be able to mine down to detailed information. Or, they can spot the issue and delegate its resolution to their staff.

When looking at storage assets, they should be able to determine storage capacity as well as storage tiers, vendors, subsystem class types and device types. They also should have easy access to information on vital stats, such as average and peak disk throughput and IOPS.

For servers, they should be able to identify operating systems, physical architectures, virtual servers, and network connectivity rapidly. They’ll also want a quick assessment of performance metrics that include, for example, CPU, memory, and disk and network throughput.

Perhaps they’ll also want to go to the next level for planning purposes: grouping assets for analyses such as server consolidation, data center, and cloud migration, and IT integration during a merger and acquisition. For this, they’ll need the ability to assign custom tags to any asset so they can group them virtually.

Down the Road

Directors and mid-level managers want to use the information to predict and prevent slowdowns and downtime and plan for a future free from fighting forest fires. They know that delivering an excellent user experience is essential to winning in today’s economy and do not want to be blindsided by a slowdown or outage.

So, a system monitoring tool should enable them to identify issues before they affect performance.

Since they don’t have time to look at every tree in the forest, the monitoring tool should prioritize those most likely to burn. It does so by providing analytic thresholds that tell mid-level managers when a component of your infrastructure is headed toward trouble, whether it’s CPU busy, low network adapter throughput, slow disk service times, file system full or something else.

If subject matter experts pre-set these thresholds, it makes monitoring easier. Most managers, however, also like being able to customize thresholds as necessary to meet their business needs.

The Root Cause

System administrators and engineers want to dig deep to get down to the cause of problems. After all, it’s often the nitty gritty details that bring systems down, a switch or a router, so someone has to watch them.

Admins want a portal that provides in-depth, granular historical metrics about the IT environment for which they’re responsible. Such tailored information enables them to be as efficient as possible. So your systems monitoring solution must be able to group applications and resources according to administrators’ assignments. It should enable them to drill down deeply across storage, servers, SAN, and applications, rapidly pinpointing deviations from the norm that could threaten performance.

When looking for an IT systems monitoring tool, make sure you meet the needs of the entire IT department. It should provide the big picture for C-level executives, predictive insights to help mid-level managers with planning and insights into root causes of problems for the system administrators.

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