2014 Gartner IT Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit -- Recommendations, Predictions


Last week I was at the 2014 Gartner IT Infrastructure and Operations Summit in Orlando, Florida. Now that I’m back, I wanted to take a few minutes and share with you some of my key takeaways from the summit.

Too Many Tools Remains a Problem

While in Orlando, I was fortunate enough to meet with many different senior IT Operations leaders. During my conversations with them, I heard a common refrain over and over again:

"I have too many tools and I have got to find a way to increase my monitoring efficiency!”

Senior IT Operations leaders consistently told me over and over again that they have too many disparate monitoring tools — one or more for each silo (network, storage, virtualization, server hardware, etc.).

They say that “too many tools” not only is expensive from a licensing and training perspective, but it is the root of their inability to reduce MTTR and downtime to acceptable levels. It also makes it very difficult to identify root cause and get a team to accept responsibility for resolution of an issue, and next to impossible to see trends and predict capacity needs. Trying to get all the data in one place it is a manual effort that is simply not practical.

Here at Zenoss, we’ve been hearing about the “too many tools” problem from IT Operations teams for some time now. However, as we all know, fixing this problem is typically not an overnight proposition due to all of the inherent internal political hurdles related to trying to update and consolidate tools sets.

If you are in the same boat as many of the folks I talked to at the Summit and you would like some help identifying the costs and justifying a change from your current “too many tools” challenge, read our Making a Business Case for Unified IT Monitoring white paper or check out our Total Cost of IT Monitoring calculator.

Gartner: Start with a Unified Monitoring Base

Many of the IT Operations leaders I chatted with had attended Jonah Kowall’s Unified Monitoring session, which was very similar to what Jonah and Colin Fletcher presented at the Gartner Datacenter conference in December 2013 in Las Vegas. In his presentation, Jonah stated once again that organizations should start with a unified monitoring platform as the foundation of their monitoring strategy, then complement this foundation with APM, NPM, and log analysis.

It was great to hear Jonah share his wisdom in this area, and also reflects what we see here at Zenoss happening in our own customer base.

For example, one of our customers here at Zenoss -- a financial services company -- moved to Zenoss and went from 37 distinct tools down to 5 in an effort to consolidate tools, reduce license and training costs, increase service quality, and improve productivity.

The IT Operations team at this company reduced down to a core set of tools, just as Jonah recommended in his presentation, by using Zenoss to monitor all of their infrastructure. They then complemented Zenoss with an APM tool for their 20 most critical applications. (Note here that they estimated they have 600 applications and told me they could never afford an APM tool for all of them.)

This same financial services company forwarded events that the APM tool created into Zenoss. They also shared with us that while the APM tools are good for DevOps folks, they are not designed for enterprise event management and lightweight monitoring of the infrastructure that supports the application.

Because they were a large financial services company, they had some mainframe products as well. They forwarded events from their mainframe into Zenoss so they had a unified, centralized view of resource performance and availability information throughout their environment. This customer also leveraged a log management tool that the security team had purchased and fed critical events into Zenoss. Last but not least, they used policies in Zenoss that automatically create incidents in ServiceNow and track the status of events and incidents as they are remediated. You can learn more about how this customer used Zenoss to do exactly what Jonah was recommending in his session using Zenoss by reading Success Story: Midwest Regional Financial Services Company Elevates IT Operations with Zenoss Service Dynamics.

Zenoss = Unified Monitoring + Service Insight

Of course, as many of you already know, at Zenoss we are big believers in starting with unified monitoring as your base, and in their presentations, Gartner includes Zenoss in the Unified Monitoring category. However, one of the great things about Zenoss – and maybe you already know this, but like many of the folks I chatted with at the Gartner Summit, maybe you don’t – is that Zenoss is so much more than just a Unified Monitoring solution.

With Zenoss, you don’t just get unified monitoring. With Zenoss, we go above and beyond unified monitor to deliver what we call Unified Service Insight. With Unified Service Insight, Zenoss provides insight into service or application quality as well as event management, service impact, and IT operational analytics. Check out our blog article from a few weeks ago, More Than Keeping the Lights On — Unified Service Insight and the Evolution of IT Monitoring, to learn more about Unified Service Insight.

Gartner: 25% Will Have IT Operational Analytics by 2018

At the summit, I also attended Colin Fletcher’s Analytics presentation. According to Colin, while today only 1% of IT organizations have standardized on an IT Operations Analytics platform, by 2018 25% will have done so. Colin’s prediction here also dovetails with what we have been hearing. Here at Zenoss, our customers have been talking to us about their IT Operational Analytics for the last several years, and due to this strong interest in IT Operational Analytics, Zenoss already offers an Analytics solution with a single central operational data warehouse. Check out Deep Dive: Unified IT Analytics to learn more.

Wrapping Things Up

To address your too many tools challenges, do what Gartner suggests. Start with unified monitoring and then complement with APM and NPM as needed and where it makes sense.

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