Infrastructure monitoring is crucial to the successful operation of any platform or service. Infrastructure monitoring tools allow users to figuratively keep two fingers on their infrastructure’s pulse. These tools quickly identify any issue in a network and lead to a swift resolution. The result is reduced downtimes, increased consumer satisfaction, and considerable financial savings for the organization.
These days, there is a heavy emphasis placed on users’ ability to stay connected. Whether they’re gaming, reading, developing, or communicating they must have access to services when and where they need them. So how can you ensure that users will be able to seamlessly enjoy countless digital experiences? The answer to such an important question lies in infrastructure monitoring.
Let’s look at an example. Say you’re an application developer who decides to release a massive update. On the day of release, there’s a sudden spike in traffic on your server which causes issues for users trying to connect. If you had been using infrastructure monitoring tools, you could have been alerted to the increased traffic. This could have given you time to set up another server and avoid overutilization of the current server. This is a perfect example of how infrastructure monitoring proves itself invaluable.
What Exactly Is IT Infrastructure Monitoring?
IT infrastructure monitoring (ITIM), is a network monitoring solution process that collects and displays data metrics gathered from various backend sources. These sources might include servers, databases, routers, virtual machines, network devices, software, and data centers.
Collecting this data will provide insights into the performance and status of devices in an infrastructure. This data is then used to analyze and resolve potential performance issues that might hinder critical business operations. A business that leverages infrastructure monitoring can mitigate connectivity issues caused by the network. The goal is to resolve the connection issues before they escalate into a full-blown outage.
How Does Infrastructure Monitoring Work?
Several components work together to achieve infrastructure monitoring solutions. At the lowest level you have individual, specialized software called an agent. Multiple agents build up into clusters, and those clusters work together to achieve network issue resolution.
When installed on a device, an agent communicates information about the health and performance of the device back to a second device. The second device is then tasked with compiling and managing that information.
When many secondary device agents are set up, this creates a cluster. Each device in the cluster integrates with a network of clusters and reports back to a monitoring service. This allows an organization to cast an analytical net that references specific devices within specific clusters on the network.
A team of engineers will then access the information through a monitoring platform and implement network issue resolutions in real-time.
Every organization has a unique way of handling network issues as they arise, and not every network issue is the same as the next. However, there is a standard flow to the troubleshooting process. An operations engineer will attempt to reset the problematic device or software remotely. If this does not work, the operations engineer will then escalate the issue to a site reliability engineer (SRE). An SRE is then able to go on-premise and troubleshoot the problem in real-time until a solution is found.
Some examples of network events include sudden spikes in user traffic and even planned downtowns for maintenance. This allows the organization to better understand what is happening with devices in their network. An organization can effectively control and navigate network events using monitoring solutions.
Common Features of IT Infrastructure Monitoring
It is important to define features so that we may distinguish infrastructure monitoring tools from other IT monitoring tools. Here are some common features shared by IT infrastructure monitoring tools:
- Optimization of business objectives
- Device automation
- Customizable reports
- Scalable with large amounts of data
- The ability to detect downtimes
- Alert system integrations
- Detailed analytical visualizations
- Usage monitoring
- Performance monitoring
- Network monitoring
- Root cause analysis
Common Use Cases of IT Infrastructure Monitoring
The health of the backend infrastructure and network is directly linked to the outcome of business operations. If users can’t access your products or services, they will likely move on to a competitor. That is unfortunately the reality of our current digital space. Thus, there are many times when ITIM becomes the foundation for success. Some common use cases of ITIM include:
Infrastructure Diagnoses: Infrastructure monitoring is used to diagnose the overall health of your network infrastructure. Using the methods mentioned earlier, engineers can scan a network for potential issues and resolve those issues before they become a bigger problem, such as an outage.
Infrastructure Assessment: Along with collecting data and troubleshooting issues in a network, infrastructure monitoring can also be used to assess the future needs of the organization. Before a big update will be released, an organization can identify current usage and storage metrics to decide if more devices or services may be necessary to install.
Benefits of IT Infrastructure Monitoring
ITIM presents a handful of benefits to the organization and the end-user. The top five benefits of infrastructure monitoring are analytic reporting, saved time, lowered expenses, increased customer satisfaction, and the ability to plan for the future.
Infrastructure monitoring relies heavily on metrics that provide insight into device and application performance within a network. This provides an organization with more knowledge of its backend operations.
Infrastructure monitoring saves time when diagnosing network-related issues. Because it provides in-depth analytics and insight into devices on a network, it allows for quick resolution of issues before they escalate.
With a quick resolution of issues comes financial savings. An organization can find and address issues well in advance, stopping outages that could cost the organization quite a bit of money to repair. Or, if a server is being run but isn’t seeing much traffic, you can shut down the server and move the traffic to another. This could also save on operational expenses.
Increases customer satisfaction
Preventing outages directly leads to happier customers. There’s nothing more frustrating than needing an application or service only to find out it’s not accessible when you need it. Mitigating outage downtimes can reflect positively on an organization’s customer base.
The benefits don’t stop with handling network events in the moment. Infrastructure monitoring also allows an organization to plan for the future. As your organization continues to operate, ITIM processes will give you a strong idea about which areas of your network to improve.
Selecting the Right Infrastructure Monitoring Tool for You
Infrastructure monitoring is essential to the healthy operation and delivery of every digital product and service. When selecting the right infrastructure monitoring tool, you should consider the following features:
The scalability of the tool matters. Some tools are built to manage smaller networks, while others are built to scale with enterprise-level operations. Consider the size of your organization and whether your organization will need room to grow, before choosing a tool.
If you are creating a digital application or service, it could be worthwhile to consider a tool that allows for third-party cloud service integrations. Cloud services usually offer a variety of options such as dynamic server allotment and unlimited storage. Check out AWS or Microsoft Azure cloud services for example.
Every tool is different, which allows for a variety of customization levels. These can range from prebuilt plug-and-play tools to tools you can completely customize from the ground up. Consider what you will need for your organization and how much control you want to have over the setup and look of your ITIM tool.
Machine learning is a very powerful feature, and some ITIM tools provide access to it as a feature. Machine learning can learn patterns and identify variant operations. Incorporating machine learning introduces automation into the process of identifying potential weak spots in the network.
What does the usability of a tool look like? A good tool should have clean, easy-to-use dashboards and functionalities. The tool should include intuitive alerts or notifications. Make sure to consider the user interface when researching the right tool for you as it can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Pricing should always be considered when looking at software solutions. Some IT infrastructure monitoring tools are open-source and may offer relatively low costs for the solution. However, these come with the trade-off of requiring more initial setup work. And sometimes they may not necessarily be scalable to large business operations.
What it comes down to is finding a tool that fits your needs. These tools are becoming more powerful and more critical to the successful operation of an organization.
If you’re in the market for a good ITIM tool, take time to consider where your business stands. Ask yourself where you see your business a few years down the line. Once you have that figured out and you have an idea of what features you might like to have, research ITIM tools and weigh out which option might be best for you.
For more information on IT Infrastructure Monitoring, check out our all IT Infrastructure Monitoring software and read some reviews. If you’ve used infrastructure monitoring tools before, consider leaving a review!
Was this helpful?