Windward Insights

Enterprise Monitoring - Are We Running in Place?

Published Sep. 2, 2013
Written by Sean McDermott

Man running on a treadmil

Several years ago I was talking to some investors about the run book automation (RBA)/orchestrationspace. I explained the value of integrating many enterprise management systems together and applying workflow, to create huge returns in efficiency, delivery of services, service quality and cost savings. One of the investors remarked, “I was managing data centers 10 years ago and we were dealing with those issues then – you mean this hasn’t been solved?”

So here we are, a few years later and I feel the same way – especially when it comes to enterprise monitoring. I continue to talk to customers about monitoring, performance analytics, integration of multi-vendor products, capacity planning, process, IT service dashboards – much as I did in 1997 when I founded Windward. While it can seem likeGround Hog Day, there are a few reasons why we might feel like we’re running in place…

  1. Most of my conversations were with carriers and service providers, now enterprises and government agencies are dealing with these issues. So the enterprises are maturing rapidly – as their IT environments have grown magnitudes more complex – and starting to deal with “service-ish” challenges.
  2. The conversations were very network focused, now we are more focused on the application – again mostly due to the fact that enterprises are the driving force and ultimately care about the business application, not the infrastructure.
  3. Cloud was a seed in the ground, starting to sprout up in early forms as Application Service Providers (ASPs), colocation services, and web hosting – led by service providers. Clouds are set to become a big part of internal enterprise IT environments, as public, private, and hybrid solutions.

But alas, companies continue still struggle every day with the blocking and tackling of infrastructure management. Fire fighting is the norm, holding them back in many areas:

  • Event management, root cause analysis and correlation, is still very reactive
  • Integrating EMS applications is still complex – even with a lot of vendors leveraging web-services interfaces
  • Dashboards and real-time service views are not deployed widely
  • Most organizations are still dealing with events, not looking at services
  • Performance management is still a too much of a data mining exercise

So why is this? I believe that first and foremost technology is evolving faster than companies can manage it. Cloud is pushing against the boundaries of traditional IT hard, forcing companies move towards a more Service-Centric IT mentality. Migrating to Service-Centric IT requires change in behavior, culture, organization, and tools. Companies that don’t start moving to Service-Centric IT are going to fall further and further behind, until ultimately their IT organization is essentially irrelevant and no longer needed in any significant form.