Jonah Kowall

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Jonah Kowall
Research Vice President
2 years with Gartner
18 years IT industry

Jonah Kowall is a research Vice President in Gartner's IT Operations Research group. He focuses on application performance monitoring (APM), event correlation and analysis (ECA), network management systems (NMS), network performance management (NPM), network configuration and change management (NCCM), and general system and infrastructure monitoring technologies. Read Full Bio

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Monitoring Technology Pick: Week of April 28th – GroundWork

by Jonah Kowall  |  April 25, 2014  |  2 Comments

When I mentioned the “pick of the week” idea to my awesome manager John Enck (@johnenck if you can get him to tweet I’ll buy you a beer) he said “be careful if you commit to doing it weekly, you have to do it”. I assured him this was not an issue, and then of course I missed a week. It will happen, but I’m trying to get at least two or three of these, per month. On to the good stuff….

GroundWork

San Francisco, California http://www.gwos.com

GroundWork was one of the first companies to package up open source monitoring components into a commercial offering, which includes the ever popular Nagios engine, into a supported, tested, and well maintained monitoring product offering. This created a natural path for those using Nagios, who wanted support, a more advanced product, and a consistent deployment model. Over the years GroundWork has become quite a different animal, with advanced portal technology, topological awareness and discovery, event correlation, and the ability to scale the solution for large and demanding environments. The next step in the maturation process, was driven by customers who wanted to build solutions incorporating the monitoring data, GroundWork then re-built the core architecture with a robust API layer allowing for diverse use cases of monitoring data, including custom portals or other mashups. The evolution of the company moved them further into the concept of unified monitoring they improved the ability to monitor network devices, hypervizors and have been focused on support for multiple public and private cloud platforms. This unified monitoring platform has been gaining momentum and the customers have been shifting from Nagios up sells into those which need an extensible monitoring platform based on open standard components.

The main reason I wanted to highlight them is based on research we published towards the end of last year Colin Fletcher and I published (http://blogs.gartner.com/jonah-kowall/2013/11/12/unified-monitoring-note-presentation-and-client-interest/) highlighted the need for these unified monitoring tools combined with log analysis. GroundWork is one example of a company who has done this. They have taken the open source ELK stack (highlighted in this blog post : http://blogs.gartner.com/jonah-kowall/2014/04/13/monitoring-technology-pick-week-of-april-7th-elasticsearch/) and incorporated it into the GroundWorks solution. Today it’s a portlet within the product, and there isn’t the management tooling needed around the ELK components, but this is a beta product. The future product should better manage the data, and integrate the search and reporting components coming from the ElasticSearch tooling. The feedback from the customer base has been clear, people want this pairing. In fact they did a survey across 400 of their users:

Key Study findings:

  • 37 percent of unified monitoring users are reviewing their IT logs via manual text search; 33 percent are already using log analysis software
  • 96 percent find the ability to combine log field data with other monitoring event data into a single search tool and/or dashboard important
  • 42 percent of users claim they do not have enough time to start analyzing their IT log data; 18% say the cost is too high

These study findings echoed Gartner’s latest report, “Modernize Your Monitoring Strategy by Combining Unified Monitoring and Log Analytics Tools,” on how to better manage today’s complex and dynamic IT environments.

This is quite close to our findings at the last Gartner Data Center Conference across 114 attendees who responded to our audience polling during our presentation titled “The Elusive Promise of Unified Monitoring: How to Monitor Infrastructure and Applications”.

  • 22% had centralized log analysis tooling
  • 46% had tactical or dispirit log analysis
  • 39% had no log analysis

This is music to the log analysis vendors ears :)

Please leave comments here on on twitter @jkowall.

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