Why Today’s Servers Need Monitoring, How to do it Right

These days, IT is under growing demand to do more with less. And in the case of servers, their uses, requirements and complexity have all increased dramatically (just think about the constant work involved in upgrading operating systems (OSs), or the labor involved in maintaining server clusters around the world).

That’s why, today, the server monitoring is more important than ever, too. But in these times of limited resources, IT administrators need a solution that dramatically streamlines the time and work that’s required to monitor and administer servers.

Key Solutions

Automating monitoring is one way that IT staff can safeguard an ever-growing number of servers while working with limited resources. Automated monitoring should be easy to install, maintain and customize. A few of the features to look for:

remote monitoring, allowing an administrator in Chicago to get reports and alerts on servers around the world,

automated alerts, including pager, cell phone, e-mail, SMS, IM – even Twitter, which give administrators a “heads up” in case of an outage.

24×7 monitoring, which automatically plots server statistics and then measures them against user-defined thresholds. And when those thresholds are exceeded, the monitoring tool sends out automatic alerts through a menu of notification options (see above).

Easy and Fast deployment. You should aim for automation that can be deployed in hours, compared with traditional monitoring solutions that require long deployment times over many months. And if you want fast, nothing beats the Cloud (e.g. see our blog Consider the Cloud When Choosing Network Management and Monitoring). With Software as a Service (SaaS) monitoring solutions housed on the cloud, such as the system offered by Monitis, you don’t need to worry about upgrades, server maintenance, and compatibility issues.

Easy customization. Look for intuitive yet powerful features that make it is easy to adapt to the unique, fast changing, demands of your business.

Appeal to small, mid-sized companies

Automated monitoring solutions are also perfect for many small or mid-sized companies who lack platform-specific, silo-centric specialists and with very limited IT budgets. Yes, there are individual solutions that monitor a specific type of server, but installing, maintaining, and managing multiple monitoring solutions can be very complex and costly.

For example, a 2010 poll from Salaries.com found that database administrators earned up to $119,500, Senior Network Administrators $121,000, Unix Administrators $119.600 and Senior Project Managers up to $137,200, among others.

That’s why growing companies often opt for SaaS and cloud-based monitoring solutions. With their pay-as-you-go structure pricing structure, it’s simply more affordable to monitor servers, transactions and applications end-to-end.

But the appeal of automated monitoring is not limited to smaller firms. Big firms with heterogeneous IT needs, those operating multiple kinds of servers (from those based in Windows, Linux, UNIX, Netware, BSD, and more), are opting for comprehensive, platform-agnostic all-in-one monitoring solutions that can be used to monitor every type of server and OS in their organizations.

In my next post on today’s changing server environment and why it’s important to choose the right monitoring service, I’ll talk about such topics as monitoring SLAs, virtual servers and more. Stay tuned!

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