There’s more to monitoring IT than traffic lights

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traffic light

 

 

Traditional IT monitoring operated on the basis of reacting in a non-procedural way to system alerts.  But when there is more than one red light flashing, how do you know which to fix first?  Without a context to understand which services are dependent on what devices, you can’t prioritize your responses in line with the impact to your customer’s business.

 

Some red lights are more important than others.

 

Business service-centric monitoring and reporting is the key to doing things better.  By linking monitoring with a business service, assigning the impact of the monitored object on a business service’s health, and then prioritizing those services, issues can be reacted to in line with their:

  • Priority (a key business service with a stringent SLA/SLO) and
  • Impact (numbers of users affected, financial cost to business of prolonged unavailability).

 

Consider a simple example of an on-line retail application, where the key components are the webserver, the back-office application and database servers, and the network used to serve out the website. Depending on the high-availability features built into each of these components, an outage of any of them may result in a loss or degradation of sales capability. Alternatively, the service may continue to function, but remedial action may be needed to restore resilience going forward.

 

Knowing the impact an event will have on real business services can ensure the appropriate response.

 

As a service provider, whether to a paying customer or your own organization, you always need to know how you are performing against agreed SLOs/SLAs. You want to avoid incurring service credits so, as well as knowing the current status of infrastructure under your management, you need to use historical data to compute the overall availability against SLOs – this enables you to see services that are close to breaching their SLO. These then become your internal commercial priorities.

Having a business-centric approach to IT monitoring means that you can demonstrate your worth to your business or customers by “speaking” the language of the boardroom when reporting availability.

 

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