As IT environments grow increasingly complex in the age of the cloud, simply trying to understand what is happening within the environment at any given time has become a major challenge.
On one extreme, IT infrastructure will soon span public and private cloud computing environments. On the other extreme, the rise of agile development means that a stream of new applications and related upgrades is becoming continuous. The problem, of course, is that not only does each update change the parameter of the application, but the application workloads will increasingly be moving from one virtual machine to another.
That level of perpetual uncertainty is creating some significant challenges for the IT operations team charged with managing the overall environment. But while the systems management tools for managing complex IT environments might still leave something to be desired, there is a new generation of network monitoring tools that are delivered as a service and at least make it easier to pinpoint trouble spots.
What makes these tools different, says Bob Quillin, vice president of marketing for Boundary, a provider of network monitoring tools that are delivered as a service, is that they were designed to monitor all the interactions on the network in real time. That capability doesn't automatically resolve a problem, but it does give the IT organization the information it needs to quickly remediate a problem before it spirals out of control.
Delivering network monitoring as a service, adds Quillin, also means that organizations don't have to invest in additional IT infrastructure. Instead, they can contract to use a service that instantly starts providing reports on network performance the minute they sign a contract.
Quillin says that as organizations increasing rely on the Web for mission-critical processes, it's becoming critical to the business that those Web services are always available. That means the business now requires the IT organization to be able to isolate and eliminate any potential problem that could adversely affect the performance of a business process on the Web that for many companies today represents a primary stream of revenue.
Given those business issues, it's fair to say that previous generations of IT management tools, or, worse yet, custom tools developed by the internal IT department, are probably not going to cut it anymore.