It has been clear to many IT practitioners for a while now that the fundamental nature of IT infrastructure monitoring is transforming, right alongside the rest of the IT landscape.
Gartner’s latest Market Guide for IT Infrastructure Monitoring Tools is a great tool for ITOM professionals, offering the market definition, market direction, key findings and recommendations for IT infrastructure monitoring tools. In the opening passage for “Market Direction,” the analyst notes:
“The ITIM market has evolved with vendors providing holistic monitoring — a clear shift from domain-specific monitoring (server, database, network, etc.). I&O leaders are benefiting from a refreshed ability to reduce the number of tools needed to monitor multiple operation areas. In many cases, I&O leaders are able to improve collaboration across teams by adopting ITIM tools that work across domains.”
We couldn’t agree more. And I have some thoughts below about the report’s key recommendations, but I encourage you to read the entire report here to get the full context. Here’s an overview of the four key recommendations Gartner offers (with respect to infrastructure monitoring tools) for I&O leaders in this market.
1. “Prepare for the challenges of contextualizing data acquired by ITIM tools from highly modular IT architectures by utilizing AIOps to deal with the volume, variety and velocity of data.”
AIOps stands for artificial intelligence for IT operations. At a high level, AIOps tools work to reduce alert noise when event storms occur. They do this by performing real-time analysis on mass quantities of event data and inferring probable root causes based on data analyzed from previous issues. However, all AIOps tools are not created equal. Most rely solely on event data, and most have no concept of modeling, or mapping out the relationships of all elements that constitute an IT service. It is widely understood that any analytics tool is only as good as the data to which it has access. As such, some monitoring vendors, like Zenoss, have incorporated AIOps capabilities into their solutions.
In a recent article, Nancy Gohring of 451 Research stated, "Monitoring vendors are expanding horizontally and collecting more and more data. This means the market for stand-alone AIOps tools may shrink over time, as monitoring tools have all the data they need to run analytics." Zenoss Cloud is the first intelligent IT operations management platform that streams and normalizes all machine data, uniquely enabling the emergence of context to prevent service disruptions in complex, modern IT environments.
2. “Enable better data exchange by favorably weighing ITIM tools offering higher integration and interoperability with broader IT operations management (ITOM) tools like IT service management (ITSM), AIOps and automation.”
Taking it one step further, according to the document, “ITIM tools will never be used in isolation.” Our experience corroborates this 100 percent. ITIM tools are always deployed as part of a toolchain, and it is therefore critical for customers to understand how a tool they’re evaluating will integrate with the rest of their ecosystem. No matter which IT tools help your company succeed, the only way to ensure you're getting maximum value from them is to connect them and create efficiencies that cannot be achieved by the individual parts. Zenoss partners closely with industry leaders like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), ServiceNow and Nutanix — just to name a few — to ensure the highest levels of integration and unparalleled value with these technologies. Take a look at our most popular trade show handout: How Zenoss Connects Your IT Environment.
3. “Reduce tool management overhead by shortlisting vendors that have modern user interfaces and are architected to support emerging technologies, such as containers and the Internet of Thing (IoT).”
There are a couple of pieces of wisdom in this recommendation. The first is to reduce management tool overhead. The report says of monitoring tool counts “in the case of larger enterprises is more than 30.” This poses obvious challenges with respect to overhead and visibility and is one of the most common ailments of the relationships IT organizations have with their monitoring tools. It is also one of the easiest ones to fix, with a very high return on investment. The second piece of wisdom is how to narrow down the list of vendors/tools. This one is a bit trickier. The vast majority IT infrastructures have become hybrid (at least in larger organizations), spanning on-premises and multicloud environments. They have also become exponentially more dynamic in recent years, including not just simple server virtualization but emerging technologies like software-defined everything, containers and microservices, infrastructure as code, etc. To have any level of trust in visibility, modern IT organizations are turning to monitoring solutions that provide complete visibility into all of these things. Tools abound to provide this visibility, but when they’re not tightly integrated, you have silos of visibility. Modern solutions like Zenoss bring complete visibility into a unified view.
4. “Enhance the decision-making capability of non-IT teams (e.g., LOBs and developers) by providing contextualized data across IT and business.”
This is a key point that is overlooked too often. Monitoring tools are not there to simply benefit IT. IT organizations were created to serve businesses. In the era of digital transformation, it has become more and more true that IT is actually driving business. So, while any given tools may please an IT practitioner, or make her job easier, the real payoff is when business results are positively impacted. This means not only having capabilities that serve the DevOps and CIO use cases — it means providing unified visibility through intelligent dashboards for the entire organization. It means being able to demonstrate that the tools have a solid return on investment, including in metrics that are relevant to non-IT personas.
As you evaluate IT monitoring solutions and their abilities to meet digital transformation challenges in your organization, you should shortlist vendors that properly address these Gartner recommendations. I’ll assert that Zenoss Cloud offers one the most capable solutions. If you’re interested in learning more about how Zenoss Cloud can set up your organization to be ready as IT monitoring transforms, please request a demo today.
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