How to Effectively Monitor Virtual Environments

An understanding of virtualization and how to effectively monitor virtual environments can help data-driven organizations thrive.

What Is Virtualization? 

Virtualization of computing environments is a technique widely used by organizations to extend the capabilities of their hardware resources. Virtualization creates a simulated, or virtual, computing environment in place of a physical environment. Cloud computing is largely based on the use of virtualization to provide customers with systems tailored to their specific requirements. 

Virtualization offers enterprises substantial benefits by reducing hardware, space, and power costs. It also provides an easily scalable infrastructure that can grow or contract to meet business needs. Virtualization is here to stay as a method for extracting the maximum value from computing resources.

The shift from physical to virtual systems has a significant impact on the way an enterprise manages its computing environment. This change requires modifications to the way organizations manage and monitor their computing resources. 

Virtualization Poses Management Challenges

Nothing in the IT world is free and the benefits of virtualization are accompanied by a new set of challenges facing decision-makers and support teams. The ability to successfully meet these challenges can be the determining factor in the viability of enterprise virtualization efforts. 

The challenges organizations typically face when undertaking virtualization and monitoring virtual environments include: 

Controlling costs and maximizing IT resources

Hardware costs are reduced through virtualization, but there is no associated saving in labor costs. In some cases, the increased complexity of virtualized environments demands additional support personnel or those with different skill sets. 

Minimizing the proliferation of monitoring tools

As systems are virtualized, new dedicated monitoring solutions may be introduced into the environment. Multiple tools that were intended to offer valuable information on system performance or address outages can quickly become impossible to manage efficiently. 

If at all possible, it is preferable to use the least number of monitoring tools that will provide the necessary insight into virtualized IT resources. 

Managing continuous change and server sprawl

The scalability and ease with which virtual systems can be implemented are two of virtualization’s greatest benefits. They also pose some of the biggest challenges to the team responsible for managing a virtualized environment. 

In a virtual environment, system sprawl can quickly get out of control as teams take advantage of the opportunity to create systems at will. Server sprawl can result in unexpected provider costs and problems passing licensing audits.

Demonstrating IT value to the business

The information obtained from monitoring tools is often used to measure the impact of IT resources on the business as a whole. 

Using outdated monitoring platforms will not provide the necessary data to demonstrate IT’s value and can result in unwarranted budget cuts by the entities controlling corporate purse strings. 

Features of an Effective Virtual Monitoring Solution

Organizations searching for effective virtual monitoring solutions should consider the following characteristics when making their selection:

Visibility with a comprehensive IT dashboard

The chosen monitoring solution needs to provide visibility into the complete physical and virtual environment. Using multiple dashboards adds complexity and opens the door for important issues to be missed by the support team.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) monitoring and reporting

Reporting and monitoring enterprise performance measured against their SLAs is an important feature that helps organizations meet their obligations and avoid paying penalties. The data obtained from the monitoring tool can be used to demonstrate the benefits of new IT processes to budgetary decision-makers. 



Appropriate metrics

Collecting the appropriate metrics for virtualized environments demands that different measurements are observed by the monitoring solution than for physical systems. The best solutions will be able to provide the necessary metrics for whatever types of systems make up an environment. 

Integration with current management tools

Integrating new tools with existing solutions is preferable when possible. New solutions that can be easily connected to current tools and processes allow organizations to leverage their previous software investments.



Uptime Infrastructure Monitor 

Uptime Infrastructure Monitor addresses the challenges faced by teams managing virtual environments. It’s a comprehensive and flexible monitoring solution that can monitor all of the physical and virtual components of complex IT environments. The tool is capable of reporting on hybrid cloud environments and includes an extensive library of plugins allowing it to monitor a variety of technology platforms.

Uptime Infrastructure Monitor enables users to set SLAs that can be tracked for compliance and reporting. Intelligent SLA monitoring sends proactive alerts when trends indicate SLAs may be missed so teams can take the necessary steps to prevent misses. Root-cause analysis is provided so corrective actions can be taken quickly.

A Discovery Wizard launches automatically when installing Uptime that identifies many of the devices that will be monitored in the environment. 

Customizable monitoring can be configured for any number of infrastructure elements and notifications set so the right personnel are informed when problems occur. Uptime offers native integration with ServiceNow and can be used as part of the ticket creation process.

Teams can take advantage of a 30-day risk-free trial of Uptime Infrastructure Monitor to see how it provides a total picture of your computing landscape.

Further information on the challenges and available solutions for monitoring virtual environments can be found in this IDERA whitepaper. It’s a good read that may open your eyes to improvements that can be made in the visibility into virtual environments with the proper monitoring solution. 



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