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Assessing Monitoring Costs

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When evaluating monitoring choices, cost is always a major factor.  While seemingly simple, pulling together an accurate accounting of costs can be trickier than expected, especially considering all of the variables that can be associated with each offering. But in general, costs can be divided between two categories: “Upfront” and “Ongoing.”

MonitoringCost

In this article, we’ll focus on upfront monitoring costs – the costs associated with the acquisition of the platform; infrastructure components; deployment costs; and the integration of the solution to existing components. In other words, what it takes to get the solution up and running.

CostEquation

Calculating acquisition costs

Acquisition costs include, first and foremost, the software licenses you need to purchase for your monitoring solution.  These can be either perpetual or subscription licenses, which will factor into how much upfront cost there will be.  Make sure you factor in any costs for additional modules you may need for a complete solution, as well as any “Named User” licenses you may need for solutions that provide access rights to a specific number of users.  For perpetual licenses there is often an additional 18% - 20% maintenance and support fee which is also collected upfront.

Outside of software licenses, you need to account for the infrastructure needed to support the monitoring solution:  databases, servers, storage, networking, or other infrastructure requirements.  Don’t give these a hand wave when you’re putting together your numbers – software dependencies can end up significantly increasing costs.  If, for example, there is an Oracle database requirement, you could be looking at an additional upfront cost of $30-40K.

Factoring in deployment and integration costs

Infrastructure costs, however, can turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to monitoring costs.  Depending upon the complexity of your environment, implementation costs can far outweigh the initial software licensing and hardware costs.  Beyond the basic deployment of the solution, you will need to integrate the solution with existing platforms or services such as your Incident Management. For an enterprise-scale rollout, you can also count on professional services being a requirement.

You’ll need the following inputs to gauge your total deployment and integration costs:

  • # of Man hours required (for either consulting or internal team) to deploy and/or integrate the solution
  • Cost/man hour
  • Cost for project manager (for long deployments, this is often required)
  • Cost for in-house resource to support the deployment (1-2 staff members is not uncommon for a complex deployment)

One additional note on deployment and integration:  the architecture of your solution will likely have the largest impact on your final number.  Open, agentless solutions like Zenoss Service Dynamics make deployment relatively quick and integration straightforward.  Solutions that use legacy client/server architectures take much more time and effort to shoe horn into modern datacenters.

Learn More about Monitoring Costs

Making an accurate assessment of upfront monitoring costs isn’t difficult– as long as you don’t get tripped up by leaving out important details.  Our next article will focus on estimating the more complex cost inputs of ongoing monitoring operations.  In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about evaluating the cost of monitoring for your environment, read our Making the Business Case for Unified Monitoring white paper.

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