Your IT infrastructure is your organization’s central nervous system. It exists to help employees be as productive as possible and to deliver optimal service to customers. So you cannot afford a glitch that causes slowdowns or outages. As employees lay idle and customer dissatisfaction mounts, it could throw you into a race against the clock to find and fix the problem.
There are ways to avoid such performance breakdowns. The right server and storage monitoring and management tools can act as a crystal ball into the future, forewarning you of issues before they erupt. The dizzying array of storage and server monitoring options, however, makes it challenging to sort through them to find those that can help ensure your IT infrastructure’s performance.
Based on our experience, here are some guiding principles that may help you with your selection. Your solution should:
Go Wide and Deep
At 6 o’clock one night the response time to the disk on a group of 50 servers at one of our clients tripled. Luckily, they were monitoring servers, storage and SAN with the same tool. We could see their adapters were working well. Looking further, we discovered the common denominator — all the servers were on the same storage. The problem, however, was not in the storage. That led us to look at what was in between the storage and servers —the SAN switches. At six p.m. a pothole had shown up on two of the four storage ports, reducing a four-lane highway to a two-lane one. We looked up the identification numbers for the two ports and then found the SAN switches that correlated with them. The “ah-ha” moment arrived when we found out that at the same time as the highway had narrowed, the SAN switches had turned off. Conclusion? Someone had disconnected the cables. When technicians were cleaning up some “old” cables, they mistakenly pulled a couple that were still in use. This sophisticated analysis, with a simple solution, took us less than five minutes.
Luckily, they were monitoring servers, storage and SAN with the same tool. We could see their adapters were working well. Looking further, we discovered the common denominator….
The moral of the story? Since everything in an IT infrastructure is connected, the way to get to the root of issues more rapidly is to use monitoring software that oversees multiple brands and technologies—server operations, storage environments, SAN, and applications. That’s because it puts all the data you need is in one place and you can find the correlations that lead you to a solution.
Also, you must be able to dig deeply because issues often hide far below the surface, so breadth without depth may not give you the answers you need.
Cover On-Premise, Cloud and Hybrid Environments
Today’s IT infrastructures are no longer centrally located. They may be on-premise in the cloud or a mix of both. In line with having a wide-view of your IT infrastructure, you need to be able to monitor all these environments. You can only do this with a cloud-based solution.
Turn Data into Insightful Visuals
A picture tells a thousand words, so a visual dashboard in a single pane of glass is essential. But don’t be drawn in by pretty pictures filled with information that leaves you mystified and wastes your time. Remember, beauty is more than skin deep. You want visuals that give you powerful insights at a glance; they make your job easier and your results better. The best way to find out whether a solution’s visuals help answer your questions is to do a free trial before making a purchase.
Track Trends and Aberrations
The ability to track key metrics and keep historical data is essential to any forecast. Remember, that’s the eventual goal…to identify issues that foreshadow future slowdowns or downtime and stop them from happening. With historical data, you can track trends, spot deviations from the norm and determine what impacts performance. If for example, your use of a server’s memory is growing at a constant rate, you can predict when you need to add storage resources rather than waiting until you hear users complaining.
Provides Focus with Thresholds and Warnings
Because you can’t afford to waste time looking at all your IT infrastructure metrics, you need a dashboard that shows analytic thresholds for each server, storage, and SAN. These thresholds help direct your attention to what’s most important. Perhaps when CPU reaches 95%, slowdowns can occur so your threshold is set to 90%, giving you time to take action before users feel the effects. However, you should have the opportunity to customize them based on your situation.
Is Affordable and Easy to Manage
The best way to ensure your solutions is affordable and easy to manage is to opt for a cloud-based SaaS solution.
The best way to ensure your solution is affordable and easy to manage is to opt for a cloud-based SaaS solution. Rather than making a significant capital outlay, this allows you meter your spending with easier monthly subscription pricing. Also, because there’s a service component, your vendor will manage everything for you. So there’s no need to hire a full-time employee to manage and update the technology infrastructure that’s required to support the tool.