Holistic monitoring is a concept of unified monitoring of all your IT domains, including networks, storage, servers, virtualisation, OS, IaaS, applications ... It is about having a single pane of glass for your monitoring.
Holistic monitoring comes from the need to have an operations team that is responsible for your IT in the large sense and specialist teams that are responsible for a specific IT domain.
The generalist wants an overview of what is happening, but is not burdened by the details, whereas the specialist needs the details to find and resolve the root cause.
What is the ideal holistic monitoring solution? Well, normally that would be to bring all your technical silos under one umbrella for operations. All individual technical silos would be monitored using point solutions or element managers.
The umbrella would be the Manager of Managers or a monitoring framework. This has long been the envisioned solution for holistic monitoring.
If holistic monitoring is still a buzz, then why did the frameworks fail? First and foremost, the price was an important factor, but even more important is the fact that the frameworks where not really frameworks, but separate pieces of the same puzzle. This resulted in complex and difficult implementations and integrations. The pace of adaptation to the different technologies was slow and not suited for an ever-changing environment. Moreover, the vendors regularly invested in new components and the framework was never finished.
This was recognized and tools with a more limited scope took the lead. Hence, away was the concept of holistic monitoring.
Following Gartner, the market has fallen apart in different monitoring domains. These domains are:
Even Gartner states: “Domain-based monitoring tools provide insight into issues within their realm, but typically are unable to present a holistic view across a digital service.”
With the above in mind, how do we create a holistic view on monitoring, adapted to the needs of the company? Before we can answer that question, one has to look at what needs to be monitored and how complex is the IT environment that has to be monitored.
In fact, it is simple, you can create a holistic monitoring for one or a few applications and their infrastructure that do not change too often. So, it is not about holistic as such, but about the complexity of the IT environment that you want to monitor. The more complex, the more difficult to create a single pane of glass. This has been recognized by different parties and has led to the creation of APM tools, that provide an application view of all elements. Again, the more complex the application landscape, the less obvious to present the applications correctly in one view. So, with this in mind, what approach would be preferred. Again, here is no simple answer, as multiple options exist:
So, one solution of the above might not be sufficient, but a balanced approach, consisting of different options together might give you a satisfactory holistic view of your IT environment.
The days of the monoliths are over, and the era of the point (domain) solutions is back. So, what are the tool directions and which tools might be of help? First, there is no question about the maturity of the tools. Most tools do what they should and provide the correct outcome, if the input and the handling of the input is correct.
There are sufficient tools that provide a solution per domain, however, there are few tools that provide a solution for one or more domains, and if they do, it comes back to the integration issues of the frameworks. So, I will not provide a list of tools, but what is required to provide a holistic monitoring of sorts:
Again, go for a balanced approach and choose what is best for your organization.
The following would be general guidelines to start the road to holistic monitoring:
A good approach will lead to a correct implementation, but there are a large number of pitfalls on your road.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, so:
Holistic monitoring is probably for the happy few who have a very structured IT environment, and thus automatically avoid complexity. For the majority, it is more like a puzzle where perhaps not all pieces fall into place or where a few pieces are missing.
Our aim was to give you an overview of holistic monitoring and to give you an idea of what is possible for what kind of organizations. Every organization has to decide for itself where it wants to go with monitoring and how much effort it wants to spend on holistic monitoring.
We are always happy to assist you in your search for an ideal monitoring solution, suited to your organization.
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