Windward Insights

Enterprise Monitoring - Are We Running in Place?

Published
Written by Sean McDermott

Man running on a treadmill

Enterprise monitoring is vital to rapid incident management and uptime in IT service management. So why aren’t we making better progress?

Several years ago I was talking to some investors about the run book automation (RBA)/orchestration space. 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?”

Enterprise monitoring: 3 Reasons for stagnant growth

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. While it can seem like Ground 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. They are starting to deal with “service-ish” challenges.
  2. The conversations were very network focused; now we are more focused on the application. This is due to the fact that enterprises ultimately care about the business application, not the infrastructure.
  3. Service providers led cloud integrations in early forms as Application Service Providers (ASPs), colocation services, and web hosting. Clouds will become a big part of internal enterprise IT environments, as public, private, and hybrid solutions.

Tech evolution pushing companies to Service-Centric IT

But alas, companies continue still struggling every day with the blocking and tackling of enterprise monitoring and 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 to move towards a more Service-Centric enterprise IT mentality. Migrating to Service-Centric IT requires a change in behavior, culture, organization, and tools. The bottom line is companies that don’t start moving to Service-Centric IT are going to fall further behind; until their IT organization is essentially irrelevant and no longer needed in any significant form.