This post is also available in: French
Between the fans, those who find the subject complex, and those who only have a limited use for it, monitoring is still too often the victim of preconceived ideas from the turn of the century. Viewed as a technical subject instead of a business subject, monitoring is often reserved to a small group of users who are in the know, that is when it’s not relegated to an intern. However, in the past decade, monitoring has grown and taken on a new dimension, changing from a commodity to a strategic corporate department.
This is a quick overview of preconceived ideas about monitoring that we would like to see the back of (because things have changed over the last decade!).
Monitoring does everything (detection, correlation, incident tracking, update deployment, asset inventories and even CMDB)!
Well no, it doesn’t! A monitoring tool monitors, and monitors well. It covers the monitoring of all your infrastructure technical and application assets. On the other hand, it can’t effectively support all the third party processes which themselves require a high level of requirements.
In a world in which publishers and communities offer software packages with leading edge features, wanting to include functions that are not part of the core business in a same tool means taking the risk of altering its value proposal. One of the main risks of this approach is the inclusion of a function that will only cover 20% of user expectations and will only be marginally used. Frustrating!
Maybe one day there will be software solutions with a wider functional scope, but there isn’t much chance of them being available in open source and for 0 euros!
Currently, the quality and variety of ITSM tools, combined with the standardization of exchange protocols and the high quality of automation tools encourages more to combine effective tools with each other rather than to look for a miracle do-it-all tool.
The monitoring solution goes live, the scope is integrated… We’ll see you next year for an update!
That would be just great, wouldn’t it? Well no! Implemented strategies and rules don’t maintain themselves (even if we would like them to!) ! Of course, one day, with technological progress and AI, we could imagine predictive systems, capable of self-configuring themselves and programming preventive action to be scheduled directly in our agendas. For now that’s not the case, even with an army of DevOps or Google’s resources!
The enterprise and its information system have never been more agile and they are evolving permanently. Monitoring must also regularly evolve so that it reflects the IT and follows its transformations. If it doesn’t, it runs the risk of being behind and losing its main purpose: the collection and availability of accurate and quality data to run operations.
So we can only recommend that you add a resource in your budget – at least part time – for your monitoring MRO activity (maintain, repair, operate). This will allow you to make your rules more dynamic, you will arbitrate thresholds, remove checks that are no longer useful and, above all, you will promote the monitoring service with your end users, both upstream and downstream of the project!
Monitoring is a good topic for your new intern
Romain and Julien, the founders of Centreon, are not going to contradict that. After all, they created their company thanks to their end of studies internship…
Another time, other habits…
How can you empower interns on implementation choices when they aren’t trained, have little knowledge of the company and its business, lack experience to create and organize work groups that must be stakeholders in the instrumentation technical and functional value proposal?
Furthermore, as these projects are designed to change over time and have a long term perspective, it seems difficult to hand over the entire project to an intern (even if they stay with you for 6 months!). Another non-negligible challenge (see previous section): making sure to capitalize and pick up the ball running at the end of the internship to avoid the tools withering away and being forgotten.
Interns are valuable and highly committed resources. So train them on the product as soon as they arrive, initiate them to the pleasures of collaborative workshops, highlight the “business” goal as much as the “technical” challenge of monitoring … And then offer them a job!
Monitoring, it’s just geeky stuff!
Let’s remember the definition of a geek (in the French Larousse dictionary): “A fan of computer technology, science fiction, video games, etc. who is always looking for new products and improvements to bring to digital technology”. This is a troubling cliché… With the digitization of business and society, we’re all potential (or budding) geeks. And above all … The world has changed since 2007! The time of the not so user friendly Nagios or Xymon interfaces reserved for IT Operations technicians (so 2007!) has passed.
All corporate players, including clients, now have a use for it. And the good news is that the current tools offer innovating graphics that strengthen the user experience!
“Monitoring is good for you, so use it! “.
When the CRM is down the sales and marketing teams are the first to suffer. Their feelings and approach to the situation are key elements in the improvement of the service.
Monitoring has become everyone’s business, and reducing it to measurement of CPU or a log is a mistake. Maintenance and continuous improvement are tasks that are way outside the scope of a computer enthusiast and should be shared with businesses and executive management.