Maximum productivity can be achieved more efficiently through event correlation, system automation and predictive analysis. Making that a reality however, requires consideration on how to manage the integration touch points from multiple toolsets and openness to the intrinsic value that this integration can provide.
A focus on integration techniques, and not necessarily the monitoring technologies themselves, may be a better use of time to achieve a state of harmony within the event to incident flow. When rolling out an Application Performance Management (APM) solution, selection of your Manager of Managers (MoM) and how it will support the overall solution is critical.
The assumption underpinning MoM is that the time to market and technical accuracy can be achieved more readily by allowing the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to select their own tools sets and not worry so much about controlling every monitoring tool on the periphery. This encourages timely configuration and ownership of the SME's individual systems making fine tuning the alerting levels into MoM much easier.
Provisioning tools are typically most effective with monitoring and low level alerting in their specific domain as long as you control the integration touch points into MoM.
Three options for integration are:
- Bridge Connector: sometimes called a vendor bridge
- Agent Protocols: agents communication from server to MoM
- SNMP Traps/Gets: network node communications
As you begin, start by identifying the dual purpose toolsets (i.e. provisioning and monitoring) that are in the organization and incorporate them as part of the APM solution. Standardize and work on building a repeatable process to get the alerts into MoM. This will include a number of steps from configuring templates and policies, to managing event flows and standardizing on trap definitions (e.g. loading MIBS, defining OIDS, etc.).
Once you allow for diverse toolsets for low level monitoring and begin receiving actionable alerts into a central collection point, you can then focus on event correlation and get further along in providing metrics back to the business. This will help you gain credibility and confidence, and will build trust with each business unit that you partner with.
The role of MoM is to collect, assimilate, and correlate all of the events in the infrastructure, and automate the incident flow. Tying MoM in with Availability Management, Event Management, and Incident Management provides a critical junction where APM and ITIL come together to provide tangible value back to the business.
Larry Dragich is Director of Enterprise Application Services at the Auto Club Group.
You can contact Larry on LinkedIn
For more information on the critical success factors in APM adoption and how this centers around the End-User-Experience (EUE), read The Anatomy of APM.
For a high-level view of a much broader technology space refer to slide show on BrightTALK.com which describes the “The Anatomy of APM - webcast” in more context.