By Mike Langdon
Downtime. It is dreaded by all organizations. With so many business-critical applications distributed across networks, even a short period of downtime can be costly. In fact, an EMC Global Data Protection study found that UK businesses lose an eye-watering £10.5 billion per year due to IT downtime. The study also revealed that in 2014, more than 60 percent of businesses experienced downtime. For business owners or CTOs, the risk and financial ramifications of downtime are simply too large to ignore.
It is clear that organizations need to take action to prevent downtime from occurring. But what can be done to mitigate this risk effectively? For IT teams to know how to combat the factors creating poor performance and downtime, they must see what is happening on the network. It sounds so simple. However, IT sprawl and siloing can make prevention and resolution difficult. The ability to identify the cause of downtime becomes increasingly difficult as more hardware and software systems are added to the network.
IT teams are dealing with the reality of trying to manage a large number of different hardware and software systems in their environments. Managing NetApp storage, Dell servers, Cisco Nexus switches, VMware VMs and datastores, and Microsoft SQL databases is a likely conundrum for IT teams. Combine those systems, each with a unique performance management platform, and you have a full-fledged IT administrator’s nightmare on your hands.
This array of hardware and software comes with a patchwork of vendor-specific tooling to monitor and manage each system, creating additional silos in the IT stack. In this situation, you either have multiple teams stepping over each other trying to solve the same problem or you have a single IT member trying to unravel a quandary of disparate tools and reports.
Seeing the entire network
One way to provide IT teams with full stack visibility is to use centralised monitoring to break down IT silos. This top-to-bottom visibility curtails the downtime risk by providing key insights into each layer’s performance, availability and alerts.
IT directors need centralised monitoring to pinpoint risks and problems across the stack. They need advanced analytics to specifically perform risk assessment and notify the proper channels before downtime occurs. Comprehensive monitoring tools should provide teams with the following knowledge to help run their networks:
- Full stack visibility: allowing the team to monitor the full IT stack from storage to compute to virtualisation and more.
- Risk analysis: calculate risks through specific IT layers with specific downtime scenarios, such as a datastore running out of storage and causing an App/VM outage.
- Advanced alerting/events: identifying issues before they arrive.
- Capacity planning: right-size deployments and ensure that mission critical databases never run out of resources.
- Prevention over resolution: use full stack visibility to pinpoint root causes quickly before downtime occurs.
By providing this information to IT teams, downtime can be prevented before it occurs. Although this can be a hard sell to CTOs or business owners, they need to understand that having these tools can benefit their bottom line. Beyond ensuring uptime, it can also help recognise over-provisioning across the network, and allow IT teams to cut down on licenses and again save money. When you identify a solution to ensure greater profits you will have every part of the organization interested.