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Real-world Benefits of Unified Monitoring Part 1: IT Productivity

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Zenoss Unified Monitoring

We recently had conversations with some of our largest customers that underlined some of the key benefits of moving to unified monitoring.   What we heard from these enterprise IT leaders is relevant to most companies tackling the challenges of monitoring today’s modern datacenters, so we wanted to pass on some of the on-the-ground insights they shared with us.

While individual results vary based on specific use cases, consensus was that the biggest benefits of making the move to unified monitoring generally fell into three areas:

  1. Increasing IT staff productivity

  2. Improving monitoring coverage throughout the organization

  3. Minimizing the time it takes to identify and resolve service issues

When it comes to IT staff productivity, unified monitoring has the ability to truly make some significant changes in how IT approaches the daily work of keeping infrastructure and services online.  Take, for example, one of our customers who increased productivity of their IT staff by 50% in moving to Zenoss.  How was this possible?

The most pressing problem was that they simply had too many monitoring tools in play – about 40.  That meant administrators in various groups were spending time jumping between 40 different consoles.  Between that and the work involved with maintaining all those tools, administrators didn’t have time to do much else. There was also the issue that despite having 40 tools in their arsenal, no single tool – or combination of tools – could illuminate how infrastructure issues related to service degradation or outages.  They would get a flood of events when something went wrong, but making sense out of them was a nightmare.  War room meetings were called where they manually tried to pinpoint the source of the problem, but without concrete data, these lengthy meetings inevitably devolved into finger pointing.

The decision to move to unified monitoring was key to addressing their efficiency issues.  When they implemented Zenoss Service Dynamics, they were able to consolidate monitoring and eliminate a third of their total monitoring tools.  Those still in place now fed directly into the Zenoss console, giving the administrators a single console that provided a holistic, service-centric view.  This centralization eliminated the need for admins to jump between consoles, dramatically increasing the time they could focus on strategic initiatives.  It also helped reduce firefighting time, since everyone had access to the same data for the complete infrastructure.  A single administrator could now track incidents to their source and take action – or contact the person who needed to take action – without having to involve a war room full of SMEs.

At the same time, they were also able to eliminate the confusion caused by daily event storms they had been experiencing. Because unified monitoring tracks relationships between infrastructure and services, they were able to automate root cause analysis (via ZSD Service Impact).  Administrators immediately saw the most likely sources of incidents – with the most probable source at the top of the list, accompanied by service impact context that allowed them to prioritize repairs.

Working in a single Zenoss console, the IT staff was able to do more with less – allowing each team member to monitor an additional 600 devices.  That, and the ability to eliminate war room meetings and hours of finger pointing, gave this customer a huge boost in operational efficiency.  This is just one example from one Zenoss customer – to read more about unified monitoring use cases, read our 4 Profiles in Unified Monitoring Success paper.  Up next: improving monitoring coverage.

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