More control: Challenges and best practice in monitoring
IT has become a fundamental component of practically every business process. Because of this, monitoring and reporting requirements have also changed dramatically.
Internal IT departments have long since become IT service providers ensuring other departments and business areas have the infrastructure and applications they need.
In daily operations, the monitoring and recording of performance data from servers, switches, routers and individual services is only part of the challenge: It is now largely taken for granted that IT departments will ensure stability and proactively provide early notification of errors so that outages can be avoided.
The real challenge today is being able to holistically monitor services and make their availability something that can be easily analysed and evaluated.
A good example of this is email. Here, a variety of components are involved in performing and providing this service. The interaction of one or several mail clusters, firewalls, infrastructure, clients and more must work together flawlessly so that users can send and receive their mails. Moreover, it's not enough to individually monitor the components and then be informed about their performance. Rather, their relationships with each other must be represented as a combined, total service in the form of logical AND / OR / MINIMUM operators.
Using this sort of comprehensive monitoring, an appropriate evaluation of the services as a whole can be carried out, thus enabling their availability to be reviewed in line with agreed SLAs.