What is infrastructure monitoring and why should you implement it?
Infrastructure monitoring is the process of monitoring hardware and software availability, performance, compliance and security. Monitoring predominantly consists of a software tool that is installed and configured to perform thorough surveillance, by setting a watch on selected activities and trigger alerts on any changes to hardware or software, based on a given set of parameters or availability expectations, typically based on an SLA. When you are dealing with complex server architecture, it is vitally important to monitor the software to ensure high level of availability, avoid downtime and be able to detect critical security threats. These alerts can be configured in the latest monitoring tools, to communicate with support staff and help response and resolution time to fix errors, problems and performance issues. Monitoring can also be used for infrastructure upgrade planning, auditing and the prevention of potential issues, errors or outages. The added benefit of having monitoring also reduces the need for manual system administration and a physical system administrator, who can just be on call for urgent fixes only.
Greater visibility and management of incidents, complimenting best practice support processes, such as ITIL.
Infrastructure monitoring nicely complements essential popular best practice support processes, such as ITIL, where the tools address problem and incident management and also compliment configuration management, as the tools provide enough granularity and detail to support historical tracking of infrastructure changes and incidents. An infrastructure monitoring tool can easily be integrated with other problem or incident management tools used by support teams, as part of the overall ITIL management process to ensure corporate compliance.
Open Source Monitoring Tools
For budget conscious users, there are open source tools available such as Nagios, which are free and can be configured nicely with plugins. Most established companies that are popular for their open source software, also provide the option of enterprise editions which are a great investment if a client’s needs are more complex and require less configuration to get it up and running. Open source tools typically provide configuration via command line interface which requires specific expertise to configure. However, open source monitoring can be extremely reliable and flexible with the right skillset to manage it.
Infrastructure Monitoring Tools
There are multiple monitoring tools available on the market to accommodate a user or enterprise’s specific needs. Users can set these tools up to monitor various tiers in the software infrastructure. The majority of tools provide full 360 degree monitoring of the complete environment, where users can set up and configure the tools for each tier, to include network, database, OS, hard drives, storage and software layers. Most of the popular full feature tools provide graphical interfaces of the server architecture and system metrics, with color coding to represent status, providing great visual benefit to quickly assess full infrastructure status. Users can also configure and generate elaborate detailed and fully customizable reports, which once again, nicely compliment ITIL processes and mandatory corporate documentation policy.