IT infrastructures at the forefront of modern digital transformation. Although they offer benefits to businesses, they are vast in size and complex to manage. Consequently, the process of monitoring and managing IT infrastructures has also become complicated, requiring specialized personnel and tools.
In the absence of effective IT infrastructure management, there are multiple factors that could contribute to performance degradation, including:
- Over-utilization of CPU, inconsistent hardware health, and lowered availability.
- Mismanaged bandwidth consumption between individual devices.
- Potential misconfigurations during updates or upgrades to IT infrastructure.
- Non-compliance to critical security measures and other industry standards.
- Ineffective or outdated firewall rules and policies.
Devising a thorough IT infrastructure monitoring strategy is essential to ensure your organization's IT infrastructure functions to its best capability. Let's delve further into IT infrastructure management by talking about the components of IT infrastructure monitoring and the associated challenges.
Best practices to monitor your infrastructure efficiently
To ensure the maximum efficiency of an IT infrastructure monitoring strategy, the following best practices are recommended:
- Develop a user-access system that is both secure and well-defined, allowing only authorized IT admins effective monitoring and problem resolution of IT infrastructure issues, while ensuring high-level security standards are maintained.
- By periodically analyzing critical metrics and using reports to anticipate potential issues, technicians can take proactive, informed measures to prevent problems and enhance IT infrastructure performance. This approach aids in preventing unforeseen issues and results in more effective monitoring of the IT infrastructure.
- The continuous monitoring of critical devices and metrics is essential, as it facilitates the prompt implementation of remedial measures for IT infrastructure faults, preventing potential business losses. This approach is an integral part of any effective IT infrastructure monitoring strategy.
- Automating repetitive maintenance tasks is a crucial step towards saving time and resources, enabling effective utilization of manpower to resolve critical issues. This, in turn, allows organizations to prioritize more complex issues that require human intervention and allocate resources accordingly.
Key elements of IT infrastructure monitoring
A few key elements of IT infrastructure monitoring are discussed below on how to obtain an optimal level of performance.
- Infrastructure prioritization: The identification and prioritization of critical devices and metrics are fundamental to the monitoring and troubleshooting process in IT infrastructure. In today's complex IT environment—which is comprised of thousands of components—prioritization is critical to the planning and execution of an effective IT operations monitoring strategy. This empowers IT technicians to prioritize and resolve network issues quickly.
- Unified licensing model: A unified licensing model can help reduce overhead costs and save time by eliminating the need to track multiple licenses. This simplifies license management and reduces the workload associated with managing licenses.
- Security & privacy: As network complexity increases, security becomes a crucial aspect of IT infrastructure monitoring. It is imperative to provide monitoring and management privileges only to essential stakeholders, and users should be categorized according to their roles (such as admin, operator, etc.). Measures should be implemented to prevent unauthorized access to data during the IT infrastructure monitoring process.
Types of IT infrastructure monitoring
- Agentless monitoring: The agentless methodology of IT infrastructure monitoring enables IT admins to directly poll network devices from the monitoring tool, providing insights into IT performance. By eliminating the need for overheads/agents, this approach saves time, effort, and resources, which can be used to optimize other critical aspects of IT infrastructure proactively.
- Agent-based monitoring: With the help of an agent-based monitoring system, IT admins can periodically collect data on critical metrics of network devices. An agent (lightweight software installed on devices) continuously monitors the device it's installed on and instantly updates their status to the server in real time. This methodology reduces server load and improves its performance.
IT infrastructure monitoring can be divided into five specific components: physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring, bandwidth monitoring, change monitoring, log monitoring, and IP address monitoring.
Physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring
Physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring is all about ensuring the health, availability, and optimum performance of all critical devices in a network. It encompasses network monitoring, server monitoring, and monitoring of the health and performance of virtual devices, like VMware, Hyper-V, and Nutanix.
Physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring goes beyond just devices and extends into monitoring the processes and services that run on these devices. Health and availability monitoring is critical to an IT infrastructure because it vastly reduces the possibility of downtime and helps in optimizing the entire infrastructure, resulting in a highly efficient IT infrastructure management strategy.
Bandwidth consumption monitoring is important as it helps IT admins optimize the availability and performance of the IT infrastructure accordingly. For bandwidth management to be effective, it must happen at both the infrastructure level as well as the global network level. At the infrastructure level, individual devices are monitored based on their capacity and criticality, and at the global network level, the global traffic patterns are tracked and defined. Bandwidth monitoring facilitates proactive bandwidth consumption planning, along with active real-time monitoring of network traffic patterns, ensuring that your IT infrastructure doesn't go into paralysis due to mismanaged bandwidth usage.
An infrastructure goes through continuous cycles of configuration changes, upgrades and updates. Such constant evolution also puts the infrastructure at risk of a potential disaster upon a misconfiguration or faulty change. This is why a clearly outlined change implementation and management process is crucial to ensure your IT infrastructure environment stays clear of misconfiguration-induced disasters. Change management in the infrastructure context isn't restricted to just configuration changes, it also includes security-level alterations to firewall rules, policies, etc.
Irrespective of the size, scale, type, and implications of the change, it's important to have a mechanism that can quantify, review (approval-based), and create a backup of existing changes.
Constant log monitoring is crucial to proactively detect and identify network faults in your organization's IT infrastructure before they cause any issues. As part of log monitoring, various types of logs—including syslogs, event logs, and firewalls—are continuously analyzed, helping IT admins optimize the performance as well as detect security threats.
IP address monitoring
Regularly scanning and monitoring the IP addresses within your IT infrastructure is crucial in preventing unauthorized devices from accessing your network environment. This practice also helps to prevent potentially devastating network problems like IP address collision.
IT infrastructure monitoring challenges
A clearly defined strategy can help your organization eke out maximum productivity from its IT infrastructure investments and keep the business operations running smoothly. Having said that, a handful of challenges can be encountered when monitoring IT infrastructure. This includes:
- Dealing with the complexities of a multi-vendor environment: It is important to remember that devices from various vendors may have distinct critical parameters. As a result, it's important to monitor the essential metrics for each aspect, such as bandwidth and availability, regardless of any differences in vendors or devices.
- Designing proactive monitoring strategies: A real-time IT infrastructure monitoring strategy can achieve greater efficiency with a proactive approach. This is achieved through in-depth analysis of critical parameters and connecting the dots between inferences from multiple components to arrive at the bigger picture.
- Managing licensing for multiple IT monitoring tools: A unified tool with capabilities to support various components can vastly streamline your infrastructure monitoring process. When multiple tools are in use, the unavailability of just one tool can trigger additional challenges when selecting and managing a set of IT monitoring tools. In order to streamline the infrastructure monitoring process, it is recommended that your organization adopts a unified tool that can support the various components of monitoring discussed above. If a single tool is not available, then the additional challenge of selecting and managing a set of IT infrastructure monitoring tools will arise. Managing the licensing of critical devices is one such challenge. A painpoint that is solved by using a unified monitoring tool that can continually monitor and manage licenses to ensure critical components in the infrastructure never go down due to licensing issues.
OpManager Plus: Your reliable and simplified IT infrastructure monitoring software
ManageEngine OpManager Plus is a powerful, unified IT infrastructure monitoring tool that encompasses various IT infrastructure management and monitoring processes. This integrated approach helps you achieve in-depth visibility into the health, availability, and performance patterns of your organization’s IT infrastructure components, enabling proactive detection and resolution of network faults.
A single tool to take control of the entire IT infrastructure monitoring process
OpManager Plus is equipped with an integrated dashboard and is adept at physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring, bandwidth monitoring, change monitoring, as well as log and IP monitoring. Some highlights of OpManager Plus include:
Efficient physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring
With support for over 1,000 devices—including routers, servers, switches, and VMware and Nutanix devices—OpManager Plus is a reliable real-time network infrastructure monitoring solution. It offers more than 100 parameters for monitoring network and server performance, router and switch monitoring, and load balancing, making it an effective tool for proactively identifying issues with performance, health, and availability. OpManager Plus's multi-level threshold-based alerting system ensures that performance bottlenecks are detected early on, while its comprehensive reports enables easy identification of bottlenecks and performance optimization of infrastructure performance.
Proactive bandwidth monitoring
OpManager Plus provides a comprehensive set of data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and IT infrastructure monitoring services for your enterprise. With this tool, you can devise an efficient infrastructure bandwidth monitoring strategy, which enables you to identify bandwidth hogs through extensive traffic pattern analysis and monitoring. Beyond traditional IT infrastructure, OpManager Plus also allows for monitoring of other essential metrics, such as WLC monitoring, VoIP performance, WAN RTT monitoring and management, and more.
Real-time change monitoring
OpManager Plus comes with a robust change monitoring feature that allows you to track changes with ease. Prior to implementing any critical configuration changes, you can use the Diff View to compare different versions of the changes, automatically back up configurations, set up a change approval hierarchy, and restrict access to authorized personnel using role-based access control. Furthermore, OpManager Plus also provides change visualization capabilities to proactively visualize the effects of changes made to your firewall rules, thereby improving the security of your IT infrastructure. To forecast security threats, OpManager Plus includes the Advanced Security Analysis Module (ASAM), which leverages behavior anomaly detection techniques to analyze bandwidth usage patterns.
In-depth log and IP address monitoring
With OpManager Plus, you have access to a detailed IT infrastructure monitoring solution that enables you to proactively analyze syslogs, Windows event logs, traps, firewall logs, and other logs. Its comprehensive reporting capabilities make it easy to understand events that could negatively impact your infrastructure performance, ultimately improving your IT infrastructure performance monitoring. Through log analysis, you can identify traffic patterns and improve your infrastructure security. Furthermore, OpManager Plus allows you to set up log-based alerts for relevant events, which helps you avoid potential performance issues or security threats. With advanced rogue device detection mechanisms, OpManager Plus' IP address and switch port monitoring capabilities ensure your network remains protected from intruders, allowing you to track IP assignments and usage of critical switch ports.
Proactive IT infrastructure monitoring paves the way for proactive IT fault management
With OpManager Plus, you can take advantage of efficient IT infrastructure monitoring capabilities and a multi-platform notification system. This system enables you to receive critical alerts through various notification channels, including email, SMS, and Slack. Furthermore, OpManager Plus features one-click integrations with external tools like ServiceDesk Plus, ServiceNow, Slack, and AlarmsOne. These integrations allow you to transform critical alerts from your IT infrastructure into actionable items, which can help you swiftly resolve IT faults.
Automation of L1 and L2 fault management
OpManager Plus' IT infrastructure management capabilities includes workflow, a crucial feature that automates L1 and L2 fault management operations. The result is greatly enhanced monitoring efficiency, by eliminating the need for manual work in fundamental troubleshooting tasks. This means that your organization can benefit from faster fault management and cost savings in terms of both finances and human resources.
REST API integration
OpManager Plus is an immensely scalable IT infrastructure monitoring solution that goes beyond just integrating with ITSM, alarm management, and communication tools—it also integrates with any external tool that supports REST API. This degree of integration allows you to optimize your infrastructure monitoring efforts by customizing alerts to whichever format you prefer, ensuring that your IT monitoring process yields the most significant output for the time, money, and effort invested. With these capabilities, OpManager Plus not only enables you to develop a highly efficient, scalable, user-friendly IT infrastructure monitoring strategy but also assists you in effectively managing your IT infrastructure components, allowing your organization to devise an effective ITOM process.
Interested in effortless IT infrastructure monitoring? Download our 30-day free trial of OpManager Plus and discover its out-of-the-box capabilities.