IT Infrastructure Monitoring

The need for IT infrastructure monitoring

IT infrastructure monitoring is the process of tracking critical parameters in various physical and virtual devices in an organization's IT infrastructure. It is an end-to-end activity aimed at ensuring optimal performance of individual IT infrastructure elements, eliminating downtime, and ensuring quicker IT fault management and proactive IT security monitoring.

Monitoring IT infrastructure is a complicated activity, as there are multiple devices and factors involved —each of which needs to be given its due importance. Some of the critical factors that can result in degradation of IT performance include:

  • Excessive CPU utilization and inconsistent hardware health and availability.
  • Mismanaged bandwidth consumption between individual devices.
  • Misconfigurations during updates or upgrades to IT infrastructure.
  • Lack of adherence to essential compliance measures.
  • Ineffective or outdated firewall rules and policies.

As you can see, crafting a clearly defined IT infrastructure monitoring strategy is essential to ensure your organization's IT infrastructure functions efficiently.

IT infrastructure monitoring software - what to monitor?

End-to-end IT infrastructure monitoring tool: ManageEngine OpManager Plus

IT infrastructure monitoring can be divided into five individual components, each aimed at achieving performance optimization, security optimization, downtime reduction, or a combination of the three. The five components are as follows:

Physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring

Physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring deals with ensuring the health, availability, and optimum performance of all critical devices in a network. It includes network monitoring, server monitoring, and monitoring of the health and performance of virtual devices, such as those from VMware, Hyper-v, and Nutanix. Physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring is not just restricted to devices but also extends to monitoring the various processes and services that run on these devices. Monitoring health and availability is an important aspect of IT infrastructure monitoring that is aimed at reducing downtime and optimizing the performance of the entire IT infrastructure, thereby resulting in a highly efficient IT infrastructure management strategy.

Bandwidth monitoring

Tracking bandwidth consumption is another important aspect of IT infrastructure monitoring that helps optimize the availability and performance of devices in an IT infrastructure. Bandwidth tracking must happen at both the infrastructure level (for individual devices based on their capacity and criticality) and at the global, network level (tracking and defining global traffic patterns). Proactive bandwidth consumption planning, coupled with active, real-time monitoring of network traffic patterns, is key to ensure your IT infrastructure does not succumb to the pitfalls of mismanaged bandwidth usage.

Change monitoring

Eighty percent of unplanned outages are due to ill-planned changes made by administrators ("operations staff") or developers. -
Visible Ops Handbook

Planning a clearly defined change implementation and management process is critical to ensure your IT infrastructure environment remains well-protected from disasters due to misconfigurations. “Change” in this context refers not just to configuration changes (implemented at the individual infrastructure level) but also security-level alterations (firewall rules, policies, etc.).

Any change, irrespective of its nature, size, significance, and implications, must be quantified, assigned a well-defined approval hierarchy, and preceded by a backup of existing changes. The entire change management process must also be evaluated at the user level to ensure only IT admins with appropriate privileges can implement changes.

Log monitoring

You need to proactively monitor logs from your organization ’s IT infrastructure to detect and identify critical network faults. Analyzing various types of logs, including syslogs, event logs, and firewall logs, helps in both optimizing performance as well as detecting security threats.

IP address monitoring

Periodic scanning and monitoring of IP addresses in your IT infrastructure is key to ensure rogue devices do not intrude into your network environment. It also helps in avoiding havoc-wreaking network issues like IP address collision.

IT infrastructure monitoring challenges

While there is no doubt that having a clearly defined IT infrastructure monitoring strategy can help your organization get the most out of every penny invested in its IT infrastructure and ensure that the business does not suffer losses due to network issues, monitoring IT infrastructure does have its challenges. This includes:

  • Dealing with the complexities of a multivendor environment: Devices from different vendors might have different critical parameters. You must monitor the critical metrics under each aspect of IT infrastructure monitoring (e.g., bandwidth monitoring and availability monitoring) irrespective of the vendor heterogeneity among devices and processes.
  • Designing proactive monitoring strategies: For an IT infrastructure monitoring strategy to be efficient, it has to be proactive. This is achieved through in-depth analysis of critical parameters and connecting the dots between inferences from multiple IT infrastructure monitoring components to arrive at the bigger picture.
  • Managing licensing for multiple IT monitoring tools: Your organization needs a unified tool that supports the various IT infrastructure monitoring components discussed above. In the absence of a single tool for the entire process, you’ll be tasked with the additional challenge of finding the right set of IT infrastructure monitoring tools, then implementing and managing those tools ’ licenses to ensure that IT infrastructure monitoring for critical devices is not disrupted due to license issues.

OpManager Plus: A robust, uncomplicated IT infrastructure monitoring tool

ManageEngine OpManager Plus is a powerful, unified IT infrastructure monitoring tool that encompasses various IT infrastructure management and monitoring processes. This integrated approach to IT infrastructure monitoring provides you with 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 for the entire IT infrastructure monitoring process

OpManager Plus tackles physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring, bandwidth monitoring, change monitoring, as well as log and IP monitoring and is equipped with an integrated dashboard. Some highlights of OpManager Plus include:

Efficient physical and virtual infrastructure monitoring

Physical and virtual IT infrastructure monitoring: ManageEngine OpManager Plus

OpManager Plus supports over 1,000 devices by default, including routers, servers, switches, and VMware and Nutanix devices. With more than 100 parameters for network and server performance monitoring; router, switch, and load balancer monitoring; and more, OpManager Plus helps proactively detect issues with performance, health, and availability. Its multi-level threshold-based alerting helps you detect performance bottlenecks well in advance. OpManager Plus also comes with in-depth reports for identifying performance bottlenecks and optimizing infrastructure performance.

Proactive bandwidth monitoring

Monitor IT infrastructure bandwidth: ManageEngine OpManager Plus

OpManager Plus allows you to implement a comprehensive infrastructure bandwidth monitoring strategy that can help you identify bandwidth hogs through in-depth monitoring and analysis of traffic patterns. Take bandwidth monitoring beyond conventional IT infrastructure and monitor other critical metrics related to WLC monitoring, VoIP performance, WAN RTT monitoring and management, and more.

Real time change monitoring

IT infrastructure configuration monitoring: ManageEngine OpManager Plus

OpManager Plus’ powerful change monitoring feature allows you to track changes efficiently. Before implementing any key configuration changes, you can compare different versions of the changes using Diff View, automatically back up configurations, define a change approval hierarchy, and ensure that only authorized personnel can view and implement changes with role-based access control.

Change tracking is not only limited to configuration changes at the infrastructure level. You can also leverage OpManager Plus’ change visualization capabilities to proactively visualize the effects of changes made to your firewall rules before implementing them, enhancing the security of your IT infrastructure. OpManager Plus also comes equipped with the Advanced Security Analysis Module (ASAM), which uses a behavior anomaly detection technique to help forecast security threats by analyzing bandwidth usage patterns.

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In-depth log and IP address monitoring

IP address and switch port infrastructure monitoring: ManageEngine OpManager Plus

OpManager Plus enables you to proactively analyze syslogs, Windows event logs, traps, firewall logs, etc. Coupled with its in-depth reporting capabilities, OpManager Plus’ log analysis can give you a better understanding of events that could hamper your infrastructure performance. Log analysis also helps in identifying traffic patterns and stepping up your infrastructure security. You can also set up relevant log-based alerts to get notified of any critical events so you can avoid potential performance issues or security threats.

Armed with an advanced rouge device detection mechanism, OpManager Plus' IP address and switch port monitoring capabilities ensure that your network remains protected from intruders while also allowing you to track IP assignment and usage of critical switch ports.

Achieve proactive IT infrastructure monitoring with proactive IT fault management

Multi-channel notifications

OpManager Plus comes with a multi-platform notification system; this enables you to get notified of critical alerts via multiple notification channels, including email, SMS, and Slack. One-click integrations between OpManager Plus and external tools like ServiceDesk Plus, ServiceNow, Slack, and AlarmsOne allow you to convert critical alerts from your IT infrastructure to actionable items, helping you quickly resolve IT faults.

Automation of L1 and L2 fault management

A key feature in OpManager Plus' IT infrastructure management toolkit, Workflow helps you automate L1 and L2 fault management activities. This improves the efficiency of IT infrastructure monitoring manifold by eliminating the manual effort needed in basic troubleshooting activities. Your organization will benefit from faster fault management and reduced financial and human capital.

REST API integration

OpManager Plus doesn’t just integrate with ITSM, alarm management, and communication tools—it also integrates with any external tool that supports REST API. This level of integration allows you to get the most out of your infrastructure monitoring efforts by helping you convert alerts into whichever format you desire, ensuring your IT monitoring process delivers the maximum output for the time, money, and effort invested.

With these capabilities, OpManager Plus not only allows you to arrive at a highly efficient, scalable, easy-to-use IT infrastructure monitoring strategy but also enables you to effectively manage your IT infrastructure components. All this helps your organization frame an effective ITOM process.

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