The Mythical ‘Average’ IT Shop

In health care, doctors know the average man or average woman is in fact, mythical. Everyone has their own unique problems, capabilities and life stories. DNA can be altered by the environment. Even identical twins will have different health histories and different propensities to contract and avoid certain illnesses. Each individual is different.

The same can be said of IT  — no two shops are ever exactly alike.

While it may be true that close to 80% of what one company does bears close resemblance to another, it’s the last 20% — the last mile — that counts. A monitoring solution that covers 80% of your infrastructure is hardly a winning idea. The faster companies move, the more divergent IT becomes — and the more likely blind spots will form. The introduction of microservices to create bespoke applications and the expanded use of APIs and elastic compute capacity — in the cloud or on premises — are ensuring that an IT shop will have unique characteristics whether they explicitly choose to or not.

This is a challenge for monitoring companies, especially those that started with the “mythical average IT shop” as a starting point. As new innovations are introduced to drive business, a monitoring mashup already riddled with blind spots is only likely to get worse.  

Eliminating blind spots, treating each IT shop as a unique footprint, should be an indispensable goal of any enterprise’s monitoring strategy. In too many situations, it’s neglected. Blind spots in infrastructure monitoring are a threat to the stability of any service and therefore the business it supports.  

Most IT Ops teams believe they are limited to one of two bad choices: 1.) A set of narrow but deep monitoring tools patched together.  2.) A monitoring platform that has a mile-wide, inch-deep view of the infrastructure deployment. In both cases, the business’ risk exposure grows as gaps in coverage form. There is a better way.

Monitor All your Infrastructure All the Time

Zenoss Cloud combines both broad reach and deep transparency across all infrastructure resources to form a visible and always expanding foundation for enterprise monitoring.  Zenoss IP was designed from the ground up to provide IT Ops teams with a single source of truth to monitor all an enterprise’s infrastructure all the time. This includes IaaS cloud providers, hyperconverged infrastructure, containers, storage arrays, vSANs, networking devices, software-defined networks, virtual computing, compute, etc.

Out of the box, there are more than 400 ZenPack collectors available to Zenoss customers. If a collector for an environment or a device doesn’t exist, a new one can be created with relative ease using the Zenoss ZenPack SDK. A ZenPack collector is not a one-off. Once deployed, it will inherit all of the DNA of Zenoss Cloud. The new collector will snap in as a seamless extension of the platform. What was once a blind spot is now covered by Zenoss Cloud.

Compare this approach to the mashup model. A separate monitoring platform is purchased. It  has a different event and alerting model, a dedicated staff, and ongoing integration costs.  Repeat this several times over, and you’ve drifted back to an ineffective Tower of Babel mashup — an enterprise monitoring platform by name only.   

To highlight the value of the Zenoss ZenPack SDK, consider how Nutanix is and was folded into the Zenoss platform. Today, if a Zenoss customer were to add a number of Nutanix blocks to their environment, the customer would be able to easily include Nutanix as part of an enterprisewide monitoring deployment. Zenoss leverages the Nutanix Prism APIs and creates an environment that goes higher, deeper and wider than Prism alone. This is because Zenoss monitors high-level services — not just devices — and understands how to interpret the health of devices buried deep in the infrastructure topology, including within Nutanix’s own environment. The Nutanix ZenPack is the chief reason Zenoss  has been certified by Nutanix as a Nutanix Ready Integrated Partner — the only monitoring platform in the world to have been awarded this status. It’s also the reason Nutanix uses Zenoss Cloud to monitor its own infrastructure.

The end result is important, but the journey to add the Nutanix ZenPack is equally important.  The Zenoss team built the ZenPack with only limited access to a Nutanix environment and completed the ZenPack in just 1 1/2 months. It’s a testimony to two things: First, the deep and broad coverage that can be achieved with the ZenPack SDK. Second, the low-cost, sustainable cost structure Zenoss users can leverage to maintain pace with rapid change.

The velocity of change is accelerating, and the DNA of a company’s IT is changing just as fast.  The combination of microservices, APIs, containers, orchestration engines and elastic compute is allowing companies to improve the business where it’s needed and when it’s needed. Where best practices once advised for new production deployments to be done every half year, elite IT shops are reputed do as many as 1000 new code drops to production every day! It’s as though the modern enterprise is changing and improving at the cellular level.The mythical average IT shop, a static construct, is every bit as mythical as the average man or woman.  The new model of change may be gradual and even imperceptible at times, but it’s driving change at a much faster pace than ever before.

In the meantime, IT Ops teams are being spread thinner while more demands are being placed on their time. They are expected to support an increased number of services with more demanding SLAs. The one thing probably not increasing is funding. Monitoring has to move every bit as  fast as the speed of change. Coverage has to be complete so the enterprise can move at its chosen speed without exposing itself to more risk.

For more information on how you can utilize Zenoss Cloud to unify your observability practices across legacy and modern IT environments, contact Zenoss to set up a demo.

To learn more about intelligent application and service monitoring, download the Forrester Wave report here.