IT maturity varies from organization to organization and from team to team. The best tools for IT won't be the same when you progress from firefighting and chasing business needs to a higher level of management or process maturity that relies on predictive maintenance and task automation.
Reactive IT organizations use tools to respond to issues that end users bring to their attention. If your IT team is at this lowest level of process maturity, you know it requires a significant investment of time and effort to track down and solve problems in the network, application, servers or elsewhere. Monitoring information is not continuously available, either from application or infrastructure performance monitoring (APM or IPM) tools.
This model leaves plenty of room for improvement. If you're starting with basic management and troubleshooting tools for IT tasks, implement a better service desk and response system to help IT resolve user-reported issues faster. Monitoring tools, as mentioned above, potentially alert IT to problems before they affect users. For example, server logs fed into a log monitoring tool will catch high CPU utilization, letting the IT team respond with load balancing or another solution before tickets roll in about an application that's timing out.
Tools for IT management are needed to improve the daily task list. These can automate repetitive tasks, which saves time and, more importantly, standardizes work to avoid unexpected differences in IT configurations. IT automation tools range from basic command-line interfaces for scripts to sophisticated implementations that track and maintain a desired state.
At the highest level of IT maturity, the IT organization works in concert with its users. User requests are automatically implemented via an operations orchestrator. Various monitoring tools integrate together to provide short- and long-term forecasts as well as immediate alerts. IT management moves from responsive to predictive. It's a goal that few IT shops will completely accomplish; nevertheless, with a suite of tools for IT monitoring, management and automation, shops can confidently set service-level agreements with users and performance metrics for staff.
1Gauge IT maturity-
How are we doing in the IT department?
With an honest assessment of IT goals, performance and integration with business objectives, organizations can craft roadmaps for management and monitoring that make sense. Learn how to create and track key performance indicators and dig into models for IT operation.
Business process management is an approach that mature IT shops model for service delivery. BPM realigns IT from technologies to business needs, focusing on desired outcomes. To be successful as an IT delivery strategy, the business side must also heed IT's input. Continue Reading
2Management tools for IT-
Manage IT better, faster and smarter
An IT administrator or engineer is only as good as the tools in her arsenal. Ensure you're using the best technologies to enable DevOps, automation, scalable resources and incident response.
IT organizations will find no shortage of tools for DevOps, nor will they be able to acquire a single tool to transform them into a DevOps shop. Clarify what tools IT will need to enable continuous integration and delivery as well as other tenants of DevOps such as automation and flexibility. Continue Reading
Data center service management (DCSM) bridges a gap between data center infrastructure monitoring -- usually brought in to resolve specific problems -- and overall IT service management. DCSM reveals interconnections between problems and helps plan capacity. Continue Reading
Configuration management tools vary widely, from the style of implementation to the language for configurations to product roadmap development. Continue Reading
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3Monitoring tools for IT-
Monitoring keeps IT's eyes on the prize
You can't discover or prevent issues without good monitoring. Too often, IT monitoring is a patchwork of tools, each brought in to watch over one piece of the IT estate or one layer in the application stack.
Agent-based monitoring tools offer pros and cons for IT shops, as do agentless offerings. As with many tools for IT, the best choice is likely a mix of both options, deployed with an understanding of the infrastructure and monitoring demands. Continue Reading
DCIM vendors offer a bevy of features and integrations, and the companies often change. Emerson Network Power's Trellis DCIM product, for example, was spun out as part of Vertiv, an independent business unit. Investigate vendor options thoroughly before adopting tools. Continue Reading
IT teams have a lot of tools to monitor networks, but that's only half the battle. Managing wireless network performance requires a combination of using the right tracking tools, following the right metrics, and engaging in the right IT exercises to predict behavior. Continue Reading
It's not enough to monitor just application or infrastructure performance when you're running a DevOps IT shop. Tool vendors are working to string together monitoring for each layer of the application stack, enabling a consistent user interface throughout. Continue Reading
Monitoring tools were not designed for microservices and containers; vendors are developing new approaches to accommodate these distributed applications. They're also releasing new pricing structures for microservices monitoring. Continue Reading
4Find what you need-
Categorizing IT tools
Knowing the right terms to assess IT and management models will enable a group to communicate tool requirements effectively.
5Tie them all together-
Tools are one thing; a toolchain is another
Tools for IT serve a given purpose and cover a given area. When you integrate these individual tools into an interactive monitoring and management command center, the value is more than the sum of its parts.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) were once foreign territory to data center and IT administrators. Now, teams must understand how to connect software tools to take advantage of automation and orchestration, ultimately saving time on infrastructure management. Continue Reading
Single-pane-of-glass management promises to pull every monitoring and management tool into one dashboard that serves the different people on the IT or DevOps team, such as security vs. server admin. Continue Reading