Data Center Monitoring

While helping a client with a Managed Services and Monitoring RFP, I visited a company that performed monitoring and managed services for datacenters and the servers, storage, and networks making up the datacenter.  These folks are “monitoring Ninjas” and obsess about what and how they monitor. 

When I asked them to talk more about their managed services, the President stood up and said “you don’t get us.”  He said, his company is more profitable the fewer the number of unplanned incidents or outages his customers incur.  His mission was to make sure everyone in his organization was focused on catching problems before they produce business impact.  He lived this every day.

Monitoring tends to be more of an “after the fact” activity.  Engineers tend to be more concerned with virtualization, IOPs, converged infrastructures, etc. than in the tools that help us manage environments.

We see monitoring as a migration tool helping to deliver the following:

  • Indication of environment health
  • Measures progress of migrating systems (auto-discovery finds new systems and simple pings tell you when they are live or in-progress).  The migration is over when “everything is green”
  • Capacity measurement
  • Typically has defined escalation for issues, interfaces to ticketing systems, and well-defined processes

Organizations implement monitoring in different ways with some doing simple “up/down pings” and others having the capability to monitor the performance of individual processes. All types of monitoring can be of great help to the people performing datacenter migrations.

One thing to be careful of when monitoring during a datacenter migration is to suppress alerts for systems being migrated.  Having dozens of IT staff receive text messages about down systems during a migration can create many issues for the project manager.

Implement monitoring before starting your datacenter migration and you will find the secret to turn art into science!