Love Is In the Air ...and In Your Datacenter

 Originally published on February 13, 2017 by Greg Ross
Last updated on March 03, 2022 • 7 minute read

What keeps you up at night? Ok, I'm not talking about tonight after an evening with your special someone... ;)

What are the things on your network, in your infrastructure or in your business processes that are mission critical but may not have 99.99% availability or 11 9's of durability? For most of us, we're not Amazon, not even close. Even as you move platforms and infrastructure into Amazon or somewhere else, you still have a network with end points, switches, firewalls, access points, printers and more than a few servers. You have users bringing their own devices into your facilities, including their own cloud services and applications running over your network on top of what you "officially" support and maintain. Meanwhile, you have Nick Burns running around trying to be the local unofficial IT guy supporting all of that. 

It's Time to Fall in Love With Your Network All Over Again

When I started in IT, it was Windows 98, a little Novell, and NT Workstation all running behind a Cisco PIX. Things were getting very interesting though... Virtualization was getting hot, hardware costs were in a precipitous decline, while storage and networking were getting much more sophisticated including the adoption of wireless Ethernet and layer 3 switches. Fast forward to today and now we are talking about Software Defined <insert technology here>, machine learning, big data, IoT and edge computing. Ironically, according to technologist Peter Levine by 2020 the cloud is going to play second fiddle in the next technological transition since all those sensors running in the trillions of IoT devices in the world will need to process that data in real time on the device and not in the cloud. IT started in mainframe, went to client server, is now centralized again with mobile-cloud computing but will likely return to distributed computing with further development of IoT devices. So just when you thought there was going to be stability we may see further disruption in a short period of time.

Our understanding at Paessler is that what keeps you up at night is actually a people problem. There are not enough people to keep an eye on all of the systems and services you are responsible for.  There are too many data points, too many consoles and too many potential risks to your environment. There is also the reality of shadow IT in the form of mobile devices (BYOD) and cloud services used by your employees and customers that you don't manage. And to top it all off, you even have to worry about this new little IoT thingy defecting to the dark side and joining in on a botnet attack to take over the world!  What is an admin to do?! How do you get a better handle of the infrastructure that supports all of this?

Gartner predicts that by 2020 a "no cloud" policy will be as a rare as a no internet policy today. Of course, everyone should have a cloud first strategy when it comes to their operations and infrastructure, but our assumption is that the majority of organizations will continue to take a hybrid approach.  They will continue to maintain some on premises technology to go along with data centers, private cloud and public cloud solutions, with a slew of solutions and services running between all of them.

What Does This Have to Do With Monitoring?

With all the challenges that exist, you already have a half-dozen tools or more running to address specific concerns: firewalls, end point security, intrusion detection and prevention, specific manufacturer and device hardware monitoring. You have specific tools for monitoring the hardware of said device or service, developed by the vendor to monitor "their" stuff. You then have the monitoring solutions provided by your public or private cloud. But what keeps an eye on everything in an agnostic way?

Right, I'm talking about vendor agnostic IT-infrastructure monitoring solutions which can replace all these specialized tools.  You can break up with your tools for monitoring xyz-switch, your database or your virtual machines. And find "the one"—a unified monitoring solution that offers all the features you need:

...and that has all the nice extras which make you happy:

  • Comprehensive alerting and reporting
  • Individual dashboards/maps
  • Great look and usability
  • Mobile apps
  • Monitoring of distributed locations
  • Simple licensing without tons of add-ons and modules
  • Fair pricing

Don't give up: The love of your admin life is waiting for you. It's time to fall in love today!