Enterprise Monitoring: The Foundation for Your AIOps Strategy
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In my recent article on What is AIOps?, I laid out the strategic importance of IT operations driven by data, machine learning and self-healing systems. As a quick refresher, the four components of AIOps include:
- Enterprise Monitoring
- Network Performance Management
- Application Performance Management
- Security Monitoring & Management
Components two through four focus on a specific area under IT operations: network management, application performance and IT security respectively. Each of these areas also includes an element of monitoring as well as action. For example, network performance management allows you to see what is happening in your networks. In AIOps, this data is made actionable, and sometimes even acted on, based on parameters set in the system and applied machine learning.
Enterprise monitoring, the first component listed, is a little bit different from all the others. The focus of enterprise monitoring isn't automation -- though that can sometimes be a component of the tool used in monitoring. Rather, enterprise monitoring focuses on monitoring every aspect of the enterprise's IT systems in one place, ideally, from the much-touted "single pane of glass."
While you can apply AI to IT operations to get AIOps without enterprise monitoring, I contend that this component is more essential to your IT operations strategy than ever. There are four fundamental reasons why.
1. More of (almost) everything.
As nearly every CIO and CTO under the sun puts digital transformation at the top of their IT priorities list, IT departments are going to be managing more data, more transactions, more endpoints, more networks... more of almost everything than ever before. If IT is to fulfill its primary directive -- keep the business systems up and running -- it needs to increase visibility into every aspect of its domain.
2. More distributed systems.
Before COVID-19, computing systems were already becoming more distributed as we deployed workloads in edge data centers to bring them closer to the customer. Workers were also increasingly mobile, with many of them working remotely. COVID-19 simply accelerated the move toward distributed work environments and systems, dragging even those who still favored monolithic organizations and infrastructure into a digital new world.
This has increased the systems management burden on IT professionals, who are also often asked to do their jobs remotely as well. Thanks to many accelerated advancements in technologies and feature sets, that isn't as challenging as it once was. Enterprise monitoring helps IT professionals monitor and manage their systems wherever they are, even if that's halfway around the world or just down the street.
3. So many systems. So little time.
The number of tools being used by most of the customers I talk to is also proliferating. Sometimes tools that fill the same niche have different feature sets. It's not that one is better than the other. They both have feature sets we want, just not the same ones.
I particularly see tool set proliferation in larger organizations or those that don't have centralized, standardized IT departments. One group wants to use one tool, while another group wants to use something else. I wisely try to stay out of these battles. They can be fierce.
Enterprise monitoring doesn't necessarily reduce the number of tools used. Instead, it consolidates the data gathered from these different tool sets to increase visibility. And, since this is AIOps we're talking about, it uses sophisticated algorithms to look for patterns, predict problems and suggest corrective action.
4. People shortage.
Finally, though IT departments have more of almost everything to deal with, the one element that remains in short supply is people. Even if your department has the budget to hire, the right talent can be hard to find. Regardless of what unemployment rates are doing in other sectors, universities and colleges can't seem to churn out IT professionals fast enough to fill demand.
Enterprise monitoring makes it easier for the staff you have to get the job done. I already talked about how it provides visibility across systems. And, I pointed out how enterprise monitoring uses sophisticated algorithms to look for patterns, predict problems and suggest corrective action. It's not that enterprise monitoring is replacing your human staff. It's simply making them better and faster at what they do.
While the other three components of AIOps are fairly well-developed, we're still somewhat on the frontier of enterprise monitoring. There are a lot of vendors providing pieces of the puzzle. These pieces need to be integrated together and developed into an enterprise monitoring system that works for the business. What that looks like for one enterprise might be completely different than what it looks like for another.
Nevertheless, the effort has been worth it for our clients. Enterprise monitoring has allowed them to do more with less, be more effective at what they do and in general, spend less time running in circles as they try to make sense of all the data being thrown at them every day.
If you'd like to explore any aspect of AIOps in more detail, keep exploring the WWT platform. I also encourage you to reach out to us directly. One of our AIOps experts would be glad to have a discussion with you about how you can transform IT operations with AI.