by Jonah Kowall | February 22, 2013 | 43 Comments
Nagios is a great product, it’s free, you can’t beat that. The problem is that the level of usability and sophistication of the product is pretty much zero. Don’t expect any bells and whistles, or really any usability for that matter. The technology is rudimentary at best, but it can get the job done with the right skills on staff.
Many vendors have introduced products which make Nagios more usable, these improve the product itself, the supportability, and the fact that you can get support when things break. The problem is that the underpinning and ugliness still exist once you get through the layers intended to cover up the mess that Nagios is. There are still scripted “checks” which run to determine service health, the checks are normally challenging to manage, especially when some execute through the agent, while others do not. Other features added include better management, dash boarding, and other basic capabilities that you would expect out of the box with any monitoring product.
The problem with all of these approaches is that they don’t auto-configure themselves, they don’t detect application instances properly or consistently, and configuration of checks is painful. Most clients using Nagios will hear me tell them to ditch it, and go for a simple and inexpensive monitoring tool. I hear from many Gartner clients who decide to implement open source tools based on a talented engineer on the team, but when he leaves the company no one can figure out how to safely upgrade nagios or it’s associated components (This article goes through some of what is needed to manage Nagios : http://www.debianhelp.co.uk/nagiosinstall.htm)
The time and effort needed to manage this software is much better spent buying a simple monitoring tool to get the basics covered for infrastructure health. Once you lick the easy stuff, infrastructure health monitoring, you can start focusing on the harder problems. Application performance monitoring (APM) tools are where most interest is since they facilitate end user experience monitoring, in depth troubleshooting capabilities, and provide much greater business value to the non-technical users.
Category: IT Operations Monitoring Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | January 13, 2013 | Submit a Comment
Happy new year to you all, I hope you had an enjoyable holiday, as we kick off 2013 my research agenda is coming together along with lots of travel and conferences for the year. I will post as that gets solidified, but on my current list I will be attending the following conferences:
- Orilley Velocity
- Cisco Live US
- Gartner IOM Europe – Berlin
- OPNETwork (or whatever it’s renamed to post Riverbed acquisition
On my way back from another great trip to the bay area. I spent time with Gartner Invest clients, and several vendor clients I work with regularly. In addition I also spent time with an exciting new startup in the mobile space who will be help move mobile monitoring forward. There are still many good opportunities to handle monitoring of SaaS and mobile, which traditional APM technologies do not yet address. Looking forward to some of these technologies being launched this year, along with an increased number of full SaaS delivered APM solutions.
On the research front, two notes were already published in 2013 which I co-authored with my colleagues. The first one is a toolkit to assist in selecting an ECA tool, this RFP template is something clients have been asking for and we are happy to announce its availability after many months of work:
I also had the pleasure of working with a very bright new analyst Aneel (who happens to also be a prolific twitter buddy of mine) on virtualization monitoring and management. While “Cloud” is all the rage, and we write a lot about cloud management platforms (CMPs) most clients I speak with are dealing with classical virtualization still and need to monitor or manage it. When it comes to emerging technologies most organizations aren’t mature enough, or there is too much risk in being an early adopter, hence this note provides some guidance for today:
I am currently in the process of writing some research which is not in my coverage area, around the adoption and trends of open source database technologies with my colleague Merv Adrian, in addition I am co-authoring some IT Operations focused research around SaaS usage and adoption with Jarod Greene. On the solo front I am also writing a note focused on the network packet broker (NPB) space, in addition to finalizing and publishing the criteria for the 2013 APM magic quadrant.
Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2013, and thank you to our wonderful clients!
Category: APM ECA IT Operations NPB Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | December 11, 2012 | 1 Comment
This has really been a pet peeve of mine going back many years. As soon as I discovered the use of real user monitoring (RUM) data for performance measurements of actual users (probably around 2003) I was destined to eliminate all but the basic monitoring that was done synthetically. At a previous position I held we would spend hundreds of hours per week building and maintaining well over 2500 tests across hundreds of applications. This was useful from an SLA perspective, but we had less than 50 of those applications covered with our RUM solution. Now that the cost and complexity of RUM has come down quite a bit, there is really no reason to use synthetic monitoring extensively yet most Gartner clients are still using this method nearly 9 years later.
Many vendors will push these technologies today, since they lack RUM capabilities, and of course the buyers will listen to the vendor and buy these technologies. They realize this data is useful, but it’s really misuse of this data to build actual service level delivery which is shortsighted. During client inquiry I explain what is possible using RUM data, but I feel that I’m educating the masses. This research note explains why you should focus on RUM, and how to limit the use of synthetic transactions for calculating availability and not performance information.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | December 7, 2012 | 3 Comments
Sorry for the long delay between posts, between the Gartner Symposium and Data Center conferences I have been busy presenting and meeting with clients. I have been hard at work with several research items, look for upcoming research in the Network Performance Monitoring space, with a specific focus on VoIP and unified communications monitoring and management.
When building an architecture, and forward looking strategy for availability and performance monitoring selecting a strategic provider is often a good plan. This eliminates the need to do all of the integration and technology selection yourself, especially in areas with limited business value (normally associated with fault monitoring technologies). The research note I have published discusses these approaches, and also performs a rating of the vendors who provide these larger technology packages. In addition to those vendors I have included some of the growing or emerging vendors who are building a more complete vision of availability and performance monitoring. This research takes the following technology category types:
- IT Operations Analytics
- Capacity Planning
- OS monitoring (Windows and Unix)
- Network Fault
- Network Performance
- APM (End user experience monitoring, transaction mapping, and deep dive)
- Public Cloud
We then compared the product lists in terms of SaaS delivery capabilities, and the integration and ease of deployment.
We rated them with the following high level rankings: Strong, Competitive, Competitive in self-selected subset, Weak, and N/A
The following vendors were rated in these categories:
Big-4 : BMC, CA, HP, IBM
Technology Stack Providers: Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, Dell (Quest)
Best of breed : Compuware, EMC, Ipswitch, ManageEngine, Netscout, OPNET, SolarWinds
This research complements a similar but broader document my colleague Ronni Colville published a couple weeks prior : Shifts in ITOM Include New Key Players. She opted to include fewer vendors, but a much larger array of IT Operations Management technologies. The availability and performance monitoring research can be found here (sorry only Gartner clients) : Deploy a Multivendor Strategy for Availability and Performance Monitoring
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by Jonah Kowall | October 19, 2012 | Submit a Comment
In research published last night we explore some of the ways that monitoring can move towards management. Is this particular use case we explore the tie between application performance monitoring (APM) and the application delivery controllers (ADCs) and content distribution networks (CDNs). There are a lot of interesting use cases which mostly are based around increased user expectations of application performance and experiences. Complexity of application and infrastructures are constantly increasing, thus the intelligence and optimization capabilities must be tied together. The research explores the way you can take telemetry data from systems and enhance decision making processes regarding content and application delivery. The research also explores some solutions which may include 1 or more vendors in the side bar including : AppDynamics, Oracle, Riverbed, F5, Microsoft, VMware, Akamai, Cedexis, SiteSpect, Strangeloop, Yottaa, Appnomic, BMC, CA, HP.
Here is the research note for clients, includes much more detail:
ADCs and APM Solutions Will Combine to Optimize Delivery Intelligence – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2204417
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by Jonah Kowall | October 16, 2012 | 4 Comments
I’ve always been skeptical of those doing capacity planning as the interactions which happen within a typical infrastructure are not only chaotic, but very complex. If you capacity plan within a bubble (network, server, storage, etc) you can look at the discrete component and get a general understanding. If you start to incorporate the private clouds and virtualization we are getting into territory where workloads are moving between infrastructure components without having capacity planning that understands the complex topologies that exist behind each interconnected component. I have been asking capacity planning vendors questions for the last 6 months, and realized no one actually handles these problems, so I teamed up with the capacity management analyst Ian Head (he also covers ITIL and other types of technologies within IT Operations Management) to write about these issues.
You can read more in depth about this topic in our research which was published last night:
Using Virtual Server Optimization Tools Requires Careful Network and Storage Architecting – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2198018
I also wanted to point out one of the newest members of our team who is covering BSM and ECA has published his new note which is a vendor landscape of ECA, this is the first vendor specific research we have covered since discontinuing the ECA magic quadrant in 2011.
Vendor Landscape for IT Event Correlation and Analysis – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2198115
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by Jonah Kowall | October 15, 2012 | 1 Comment
I was fortunate to have attended OpenWorld a couple of weeks ago and wanted to write a little bit about my experiences observation, and the conference itself. It was more relevant and useful than I expected it to be. Aside from the major announcements which are not in my coverage area (Engineered Systems – Exa, and Database) I do speak to a lot of customers who rely on Oracle technologies and applications daily. Some of the database enhancements were pretty significant and interesting, but the product isn’t shipping until 2013. Java is a very popular language, especially among Gartner clients, and JavaOne is also part of OpenWorld. I did spend a little time checking out JavaOne, and interestingly in the APM space there were a lot of vendors at both locations (and even a few at BOTH).
There was a few reasons for the conference providing value:
- The analyst relations and organization of the Oracle conference handled things better than most, this meant my time was better utilized giving me more value.
- I had a large number discussions with Oracle customers, which the analyst relations team set up. Looking at my calendar I think I had about 12 arranged customer 1:1 meetings, but also many more informal discussions.
- I spent less time meeting with Oracle executives and staff, I could have used more discussions. I do get to speak with them on the phone and meet with them at Gartner conferences and other industry events.
Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) had a significant release moving from 11g to 12c 1 year ago, customers typically wait for a couple maintenance releases which have since been released. Looking at OEM 11g it was a suitable platform for managing and monitoring Oracle Database, but it was not a full features APM product, with 12c they folded a lot of new functionality into the core product. There is still a couple of external tools including the critical REUI functionality, which should be folded into the core product in the future. The customers I spoke with were able to deploy and use the product with 12c, which they could not do in 11g.
Thanks to the Oracle analyst relations team for making the conference extra valuable. Good conference, well worth my time!
Category: APM Trade Show Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | October 3, 2012 | 6 Comments
With some of the research I completed towards the end of last year, I take a pretty consistent set of requests on the evaluation and use of open source monitoring. If you are following some of the fun conversations on “monitoring sucks” you will notice that not only do most traditional monitoring systems fail to deliver any high value in general, but they often fail and do poorly. The reaction that many have had is trying to implement open source to reduce the cost, since it pretty much “sucks” anyway… logic makes sense, but the issue is that Nagios and other related open source tools are often much worse than commercial solutions. Another approach to getting ahead of this problem is looking at monitoring which comes with the purchased technology stack (Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, SAP, and others). An alternate way is to investigate the many lower cost and free monitoring tools on the market. These companies often sell significantly less expensive tools which have 80% of the functionality for much lower costs. They often have freeware versions or limited versions. I have put together some discussion on this point along with some insight into many of the solutions on the market.
Solutions covered in this research covers traditionally deployed solutions including : Ipswitch, ManageEngine, Solarwinds, Correlsense, Groundwork, Jinspired, Net Optics, OP5, Paessler, Spiceworks, Splunk, VMTurbo, VMware, Zabbix, and VMTurbo
We also cover those free and low cost tools deployed via monitoring as a service (SaaS) including AppFirst, Boundary, Datadog, GFI Monitis, New Relic, ScaleXtreme.
Leverage Free and Low-Cost Server, Network and Storage Monitoring – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2179515
Category: APM DevOps IT Operations Logfile Monitoring SaaS Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | September 20, 2012 | Submit a Comment
Recently I’ve published a document on extending Microsoft and Oracle monitoring technologies. This is something which comes frequently in client interactions with a growing investment in Microsoft, Oracle, and VMware stacks. These products can be extended, but should be done with care, understanding where it makes sense and where overextension can occur. The research includes an extensive listing of 3rd party components and discussion around how these offerings can augment existing strategies. This includes solutions from : Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, Bridgeways, eG Innovations, Quest, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Comtrade, Citrix, Veeam, Brocade, EMC, NetApp, Solarwinds, BlueStripe, OZSoft, Realtech, F5, Savision, Entuity, and Blue Medora.
How and When to Extend Microsoft and Oracle to Reduce Monitoring Licensing Costs – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2169815
Hasn’t been much in terms of research or blogs the last 4 weeks, but I have been head down in a lot of new content regarding the monitoring space.
I’m close to also publishing an extensive research note targeted at SMB monitoring around lower cost and free monitoring solutions on the market. Soon after that I will be publishing some collaborative research on the future of application performance monitoring (APM) and content delivery and optimization (ADC/CDN). Soon after that more collaborative research will be published around the failures of capacity planning. All of these research notes should be out within the next 3 weeks, and additional research is forthcoming around the network monitoring space, virtualization management, and SaaS usage within IT.
Look for more content and blog posts soon.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | August 17, 2012 | 4 Comments
The Magic Quadrant for APM has been published (http://www.gartner.com/resId=2125315) after much work from myself, Will Cappelli, and our beloved manager John Enck. The research this year was the culmination of a body research we published on the evolution and changes within the APM market. The movement of Application Aware Network Performance Monitoring (AA-NPM) away from APM, as a unique market with different technologies and buyers. The AA-NPM products are still often a good starting point on an APM journey. Additionally the introduction and proliferation of SaaS deployment models has changed the buying habits of customers, and molded strategies at most APM companies in this research.
Changes in the vendors in the research…. We have seen many removals mostly due to them not meeting the high bar which was set by the inclusion criteria. Most of these were due to the shortfall of critical technology or delivery capabilities within the product offering. Many of these vendors have already been correcting the shortcomings, and look to be included in 2013. The new entrants include companies which were relevant in the market previously, but lacked the needed revenue or technology to be included in the 2011 research.
We hope you enjoy reading the report, and find it useful in your decision making process. We encourage clients speak with us to explain your requirements, maturity, existing investments, and goals in your monitoring project so that we may offer advice specific to your needs. Additionally Gartner clients get the added benefit of reviews of documents, proposals, and contracts. We can often save money and time in your projects, providing more value.
Thanks for your support and readership.
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