Cloud and digital transformation have made business operations more efficient than ever. However, with more connected tools, devices, and platforms, monitoring has become a major challenge for IT professionals.
Here is a simple analogy – imagine, you are the captain of a ship with thousands of passengers. The entire ship’s control rests in your hands. To better understand what is going on in your ship, you have installed various tools. You carefully chose each tool for its unique value-add. The problem now is – you have too many tools. Blips on the various dashboards bombard your control room. Most of your time goes into understanding what is going on the dashboards and how all of it is related. As you might have visualized already, it would be very difficult for you to safely continue on this voyage!
If you are an IT professional working with a large set of tools for monitoring, you would have related to the poor captain’s plight. Much more than being an analogy, this issue highlights some dire consequences that come with overpopulating your screen-spaces with too many tools dashboards that operate in silo.
You can understand the issue by looking at the increasing Mean Time to Repair metric. The more time your technicians take in solving an issue or a problem, the more loss to productivity the business will experience. On average, businesses tend to use 5 to 7 tools for monitoring different levels, metrics, and dimensions of a network. This makes the entire network monitoring platform seem like the captain’s cabin. Everyone is trying to fetch a different set of information from a different source.
Like many other solutions in business and technology, the answer here lies in decluttering. And you can achieve this by having a single dashboard that helps you switch between overview metrics and drilling into details, whenever necessary.
The Reasoning for Decluttering: Why Should You Consider a Federated Dashboard?
The primary reason for considering a federated dashboard is that it consolidates all the essential information. Your IT team might be tracking network performance metrics from a multitude of sources. In addition, when you receive a query, this wide range of data sources leads to an information overload situation where the technician often ends up taking most of the time in explaining the solution or understanding the problem instead of solving it right away.
A federated dashboard can save your technicians from that challenge. By having all the KPIs reported on one dashboard, your technicians will be able to proactively trace and reconfigure the strategies deployed for keeping the networks running in their optimal state. Moreover, whenever you or your technicians receive adhoc queries, you will have a data-backed understanding of the correlation between your strategies and the network’s performance.
The improved user experience is not a feature but a benefit of using a federated dashboard. This benefit erodes when you are using different tools and platforms for monitoring the same network. Beyond the benefit of providing a more insightful response, a federated dashboard can help you tackle some of the most common and pertinent problems in network monitoring:
- Problem diagnosis is often a time and resource-consuming process. Collating data from different dashboards takes up a lot of time. Even after you have collected all the data, you would have to process it to find correlations and dependencies.
- Different tools generally focus on different dimensions of the network. Teams often tend to have dedicated tools for cloud, server, and databases. Hence, each tool becomes a dedicated platform for a specific part of the network. As a network administrator or IT professional, your job is to have the details of that part of the network in the context of the larger network. Most distributed tools fail to do that.
- The entire process of IT network management becomes complex because of interdependencies. You are actually working with a set of connected IT assets. But, many a time, your dashboards wouldn’t account for all the connections as they are designed to focus on only one part of the large network.
- Resource-constraints get exacerbated. You often have to deal with bandwidth shortage and performance issues in routers & switches. Since the dashboards are not exactly working in tandem, there is no space for manual analysis between all the data.
The best network monitoring platforms would have a multitude of features. When you are trying to get the optimal solution, here are the features you should go for:
- Properly Defined Metrics and Visualization The visualizations in your dashboards are there to aid your understanding of the metric. A detailed chart on one metric on one dashboard may not show the lack of accuracy in the data, which is visible when you compare the visualizations of different metrics
- Real-Time Data Updates –Your screens, parameters, and visualizations have to get updated in real-time, showing updated visualizations and color coding as the per the current performance of the network, to enable your IT team take action at the right time.
- Dynamic Information Display and Contextual Alerts: It operates as a single dashboard that can zoom into details when necessary and provide a comprehensive high-level picture on all the other times. It sends automated contextual-alerts that reduce the Mean Time to Repair.
- Working Across the Network: The platform gives you a detailed understanding of the hardware servers, Linux, Windows, virtual servers, databases, web-servers, and even application-level performance.
- Easy Usability and Integration: Expanding on the usability front, it comes with a plug & play architecture that does not require excessive investments in just getting the system running. Such investments often put unnecessary cost-restrictions on the entire project, which drag the returns in the long run.
- Powerful and Proactive Analytics for RCA: By the time you are facing a network downtime, the actual issue has already surfaced. The platform aids your foresight and has more than just reporting functionalities – its analytics empower predictive network analysis and trendspotting. It rigorously runs through all the systems data and gives you a better understanding of possible vulnerabilities and correlations. These correlations bring down your Root-Cause Analysis process to a shorter and more effective run.
Understanding the problem areas can help you filter between different monitoring tools. Finding the exact match in the form of a platform that can deliver value is a function of evaluating the technical aspects of the system.
Motadata is a platform that provides a comprehensive set of functionalities which then helps you eliminate the cost of running multiple platforms and dashboards. It works through the layers of the digital enterprise and gives you a bird’s eye view as well as a microscopic view – whenever you need it. For more details contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org