The Best Way to Use Your Monitoring Software

Many businesses rely on extensive and complex computing environments to run daily operations, service customers, and store valuable data resources. Virtually all but the smallest, one-person companies make use of multiple computers to perform a wide range of activities that are essential for their continued viability. Failure of one component can negatively impact the complete infrastructure and result in major system outages.

The rise of these connected systems has enabled organizations to add functionality that would otherwise be impossible. As computing infrastructures grow and become more complicated, so too does the effort required to ensure they are operating efficiently and up to expectations. It quickly becomes too much to be handled by manual methods no matter how much time is spent by the enterprise’s technical staff.

It might seem counter-intuitive at first, but the solution required to verify the performance and availability of the software and hardware components of your computing environment is another software application. What is needed is a customizable monitoring platform that can automatically check on the health and status of your servers, programs, and network devices. This platform should be able to generate alerts and warnings when things don’t look right and perhaps initiate some type of action to mitigate problems.

Making Effective Use of an Automated Monitoring Solution

There are some fairly obvious advantages to using an automated software solution to monitor a complex computing infrastructure rather than depending on the observational capabilities of IT professionals.

  • Automated systems can respond faster than humans;
  • With proper programming and configuration, an automated system will reduce the occurrence of errors.
  • Automated systems do not need downtime, take a lunch break, or get tired so can monitor an infrastructure continuously with no interruptions.

Once your organization has accepted the fact that they need to deploy an automated monitoring application, there are some best practices that they need to consider when implementing the tool in your environment. Following these recommendations will help you obtain the most value from your monitoring solution.

  • The solution you choose should be capable of monitoring your complete infrastructure. Modern environments often make use of a combination of physical and virtual servers located in on-premises data centers and possibly with multiple cloud providers. The goal is to simplify the process of verifying that your systems and networks are running smoothly, and the ability to do this from a single source will facilitate this effort.

  • The ability to prioritize the notifications and warnings generated from the tool is essential to it being used productively. Critical problems need to be addressed immediately, but there are often issues that will be identified through monitoring that do not require a high level of attention. An overabundance of alerts regarding minor or irrelevant issues will result in an overload which may cause important warnings to go unheeded.

  • A good monitoring tool allows you to define detailed alerts that provide useful information to the parties receiving notifications. More specific notifications lead to faster problem resolution and reduce wasted time. In some cases, automated responses can be configured to eliminate the need for manual intervention to resolve typical and recurring problems. Using these capabilities enables you to obtain the maximum value from the application.

  • Revisiting the metrics used to generate warnings and alerts needs to be done periodically. Over time, conditions may change and require modifications to the thresholds that initiate notifications. Failure to do this can result in too many or too few warnings, neither of which is the desired outcome of implementing automated monitoring.

Through the use of a reliable monitoring platform, you can minimize system downtime and increase performance for internal and external users.

Maintaining System Performance and Availability with Uptime

Uptime Infrastructure Monitor is a comprehensive monitoring solution from IDERA software that checks all the best practices boxes discussed above. It provides visibility into all of your computing resources no matter where they are located. The tool can monitor your servers, applications, and network devices to provide a complete picture of your environment. Customizable dashboards let your team focus on what matters most to them without the distractions of additional clutter. Uptime can also monitor SLA progress and be used to perform capacity planning to ensure you always have enough resources to keep things running smoothly.

A Webcast is available as part of the IDERA Virtual Education Series that walks you through the steps required to install and deploy Uptime. It gives a detailed guided tour of the process required to get up and running with a test instance of Uptime. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Discovering the items that will be monitored;
  • Supplying the required credentials on each monitored instance and troubleshooting issues with authentication;
  • Configuring when monitoring is performed on individual items so you can turn the tool off when systems are not in scope;
  • Adding service monitors to specified devices based on their operating system;
  • Setting the baselines and thresholds that will be used to generate alerts;
  • Drilling down into problem items to perform root cause analysis.

I highly recommend the webcast to those getting ramped up with Uptime or considering it as their monitoring solution. It demonstrates how easy it is to use this powerful and flexible tool.