Over the last 3 decades, information technology has become an indispensable asset in the running of the modern organization. But the utility of information technology has inadvertently created a widespread assumption that every problem can be solved by throwing information systems at it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Technology is like a weapon—it’s only as good as the knowledge, capability, and technique of the person wielding it. In this regard, Server Monitoring Software may automate the monitoring of your systems but ultimately, it’s your overarching monitoring strategy that determines how effective it will be. Here are a couple of tips on creating a winning monitoring strategy.
1. Align Metrics with the Business
Technology is an enabler of business. Ergo, the server monitoring metrics you keep track of should be those that align with your overall business objectives.
For example, if the business seeks to increase customer loyalty, some of the metrics the monitoring software should keep an eye on include disk space and RAM capacity on the CRM (customer relationship management) system server. If the aim is to increase revenue, the relevant monitoring metrics are those that enable a seamless journey for the customer through the sales funnel until transaction completion.
2. Prioritize End User Viewpoint
When determining what monitoring metrics to assign the highest priority, always look at your servers and applications from the end user’s viewpoint. Anything that significantly deteriorates the user’s experience should trigger the monitoring software to generate the highest priority alerts and notifications.
Your systems and servers exist to facilitate user commands and customer demands. If you fail to tailor your metrics to the user’s and/or customer’s viewpoint, you stand the risk of devoting monitoring time and resources to system events that don’t really matter.
3. Granular Monitoring
Server monitoring shouldn’t be monolithic. That would make it ineffective. The best monitoring tools not only keep an eye on the hardware, firmware and operating system of the server but also track the individual components within it such as databases, business applications, and antivirus software. It should go further and disaggregate the sub-components of these elements.
It’s only through such granular monitoring that the tool can provide an accurate and complete picture of the health status of the server.
4. Identify Outliers and Anomalies
When a developer builds an information system, it’s for a specific purpose. When the user or another program sends a command to the system, it’s designed to respond in a certain way. However, systems don’t always respond in the way they are designed to. That could be due to any of several reasons including unusual input.
Good server monitoring is about keeping an eye on inputs, outputs and system behavior that deviates from the norm or the expected. Outliers and anomalies from everyday occurrences are one of the first signs that something is wrong.
5. Compare to Industry Leaders and Your Competitors
No business exists in a vacuum. You have competitors who are chasing after the same customers and markets as you. The end goal of server monitoring is to ensure your systems perform at least as well as but preferably better than those of your competitors.
Therefore, you cannot ignore what monitoring software your competitors use, what metrics they monitor and how their alerts are structured. This information won’t be readily available for all your competitors. Nevertheless, there’s a good chance the industry leader has shared this information via an interview, testimonial or review somewhere on the Internet.
You don’t have to fully replicate your competitors’ monitoring strategy but you may pick and apply some useful ideas.
6. Regular Review
The technology environment is never static. New hardware and applications, upgrades to existing systems, increases in the number of system users, growth of data volumes and expansion of the business to new geographies all necessitate a regular review of your server monitoring strategy.
After every 6 to 12 months, you should map out your technology environment and establish whether you are still measuring the right metrics.
Crafting a monitoring strategy takes time, effort and thought. However, the long-term payoff makes it all worth it.