Top five Must-Haves for a system monitoring solution

business process monitoring from Blue Chip

I have seen this very subject from pretty much every perspective; a 20 year career in the BPM and Systems Management space, ranging from working on the shop floor to strategic and advisory roles, as well as 10 years working for software houses.

The aim of this blog is to use my experience to highlight the key areas you should look for when searching for your next monitoring solution.

  1. Intelligence
    When searching for your solution, check that it has multi-criteria alerting. Any solution that uses one checkpoint before delivering an alert will quickly flood your screen with superfluous and ambiguous alerts. Also check that these checks are from more than one or two sources. SNMP and WMI simply are not fit for purpose in all but “headline” alerts.
     
  2. Business Process, Service Delivery and Technical Views
    Information technology is measured on how well it addresses business challenges. Therefore your monitoring solution must also show not just the technical data for problem resolution but also how well your “business services” are performing and what impact the business is experiencing. It must understand what combination of problems affects a service.
     
  3. Automation
    Check that you can automate at least 40% of your normal daily operational tasks, reducing human error and assigning precious resource to more than the mundane. Speedy responses will also allow you to meet SLA’s and gain numerous efficiencies. It’s what IT has been doing since it was created. It should be a core goal of your monitoring solution. Monitoring AND response.
     
  4. Bespoke
    Every application promises great monitoring of the usual suspects, IIS SQL, Exchange, JD Edwards.  However, most ignore the bespoke, or the vertical-specific applications that play a core role for your business.  If your solution can’t be configured to cover these in-depth, quickly and easily you may want to move on
     
  5. Single Pane of Glass
    Many solutions are either “Silo” or have a “hot spot”, and pay lip service to other technologies. Your solution of choice must be able to deliver a consolidated view of Windows, Unix, Linux, VMS and iSeries. It must do these seriously and offer both agent-based and agentless technologies for ANY hardware. It must be able to tap into a vast array of sources of information and be able to present this in a way that caters for the previous five points.

The list above focuses on the mission statements and the goals of the solution. There are of course other things you should take into account. The one you’re probably thinking about now is, how much does a thing like that cost and how long would that take?

My answer to that is the solution should have an easily proven ROI and be deployable in days or weeks.

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