Beyond the "Single Pane of Glass"
Single Pane of Glass for Monitoring IT Performance is Not the Means to an End
June 29, 2010
Bojan Simic

End-user organizations are looking to take more of a service-centric approach when managing IT performance, and management vendors, for the most part, have done a good job of adjusting to this trend. Recently, I had the chance to see a number of demos of IT performance monitoring products that are based on different underlining technologies for collecting performance data, are being sold to different job roles within the organization, and even competing in different markets, but they all had something in common. The first screen of their performance dashboards looks almost identical. And products that are based on network monitoring technologies, data center management or application monitoring all of a sudden have the same look and feel:

• Green, yellow/orange and red markers for performance of your key IT services - typically in the top right corner

•Some kind of mash-up (mostly Google Maps) to show where these services are being delivered to and how their performance varies – typically in top left corner

• Icons representing different infrastructure parts that can be monitored for performance – typically in the bottom row

It is very encouraging that technology vendors are realizing that the days of infrastructure bias to performance monitoring are over and they are adjusting the way they are presenting performance data to end-users to reflect more of a service centric approach. It is also encouraging to see that the vendors are getting the message that a “single pane of glass” is the best approach to present network, application, server and database performance data to end-users. The key question is: What does it take to turn pretty icons, maps and links from a high level overview of performance of IT services to information needed for problem resolution?

Using a single platform to monitor the health of IT services is not much of a competitive differentiator, as the range of companies that are providing dashboards for monitoring the overall health of IT services goes across different technology classes – from networking vendors such as NetScout and Network Instruments over BTM vendors such as Nastel and Correlsense, APM platforms such as Foglight and Vantage and BSM solutions such as Zyrion, Netuitive or AccelOps. However, the depth of data that these tools can collect is very dissimilar, and they are using a different approach for collecting this data.

“A single pane of glass” solutions for monitoring the health of IT services has true value for the end-user only if it delivers all of the capabilities that they need to monitor each part of their infrastructure. However, many BSM products are still lacking major network monitoring capabilities, such as NetFlow capture and analysis, network behavior analysis (NBA), ability to recreate network behavior and others. AccelOps is one of the few BSM vendors that have NBA capabilities, while Uptime Software recently added NetFlow capabilities to their portfolio. It is a similar story with key application monitoring capabilities, such as response times measuring, end-user experience monitoring and Layer 7 analysis, as not all BSM products are offering these capabilities.

Ease of use, implementation and management is very important for end-user organizations, as they are increasingly looking to consolidate their IT management tools. Organizations are definitely becoming more interested in seeing across IT ‘silos’ and taking a service-centric approach for monitoring the health of their IT infrastructure. However, starting with monitoring the health of IT services (as opposed to monitoring the performance of infrastructure parts) is not the means to an end. In order for organizations to move away from using dozens of point solutions to monitor IT performance, vendors need to start offering platforms that would include all of the capabilities of networking, application, datacenter and database products.

About Bojan Simic

Bojan Simic is the founder and Principal Analyst at TRAC Research, a market research and analyst firm that specializes in IT performance management. As an industry analyst, Bojan interviewed more than 2,000 IT and business professionals from end-user organizations and published more than 50 research reports. Bojan's coverage area at TRAC Research includes application and network monitoring, WAN management and acceleration, cloud and virtualization management, BSM and managed services.

The Latest

April 20, 2015

We are starting to see an age where speed-of-thought analytical tools are helping to quickly analyze large volumes of data to uncover market trends, customer preferences, gain competitive insight and collect other useful business information. Likewise, utilizing ‘big data’ creates new opportunities to gain deep insight into operational efficiencies. Effective integration of big data analytics within corporate business processes is critical to harness the wealth of knowledge that can be extracted from corporate data. Here are five ways IT operations can use Big Data analytics to achieve operational efficiencies ...

April 17, 2015

Unscheduled downtime has a dramatic financial impact on businesses of all sizes, yet most businesses don't have adequate recovery technologies in place, according to an independent national survey of IT professionals conducted by Dimensional Research and commissioned by Axcient ...

April 16, 2015

True Application Performance Monitoring cross-cuts many IT tiers: network infrastructure, physical and virtual infrastructure, databases, mobile devices, etc. An ideal Application Performance Monitoring solution provides visibility over any infrastructure, for any app and any audience ...

April 15, 2015

Everyone presumably loves a good mystery. And in fact the questions “What is a CMDB?” and “What is its relevance in the age of (cloud) (agile) (fill-in-the-blank)?” often provoke such conflicted industry responses that they do suggest the presence of some mystery underfoot. But we didn’t set out to write a mystery novel per se. Instead, CMDB Systems: Making Change Work in the Age of Cloud and Agile is designed to serve as both a guide and a chronicle of real-world experiences — honoring the mystery by sharing different points of view, while trying to help our readers optimize their CMDB planning for what is increasingly becoming a positive and successful initiative ...

April 14, 2015

Part 2 of this series identifies some of the hang ups of adopting Fault Domain Isolation (FDI), as well as best practices ...

April 13, 2015

For many organizations, the task of quickly identifying root cause has become paramount to meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and preventing customer churn. Yet, according to the Emulex Visibility Study, 79 percent of organizations have had events attributed to the wrong IT group, adding confusion and delays to the resolution of these issues.This two-part series will explain a more fact-based, packet-analysis driven approach to Fault Domain Isolation (FDI), which is helping organizations troubleshoot and resolve network and application performance incidents ...

April 10, 2015

Speedier network pipes that carry more information faster than ever before can be a windfall for enterprises looking to derive more business value from their underlying infrastructure. But there's a nefarious lining in there – when things speed up, they can get harder to manage. Packets carrying crucial application information and content whizzing by in a blur can pose real visibility challenges IT pros haven't encountered before. Network and application performance management is undergoing sweeping changes thanks to not only faster networks but also migration to the cloud. And the implication for application and performance management are huge. For the Network Instruments State of the Network Global Study 2015, we recently surveyed more than 300 CIOs, IT directors and network engineers, to get their take on how the migration to higher capacity and faster networks has affected their day-to-day duties monitoring application performance. What we found is ...

April 09, 2015

Business networks today seemingly have more intense loads placed on them every day. And nowhere is this more evident this time of year than the annual March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. What was once a small-screen, low-resolution video is now available in full HD, potentially taxing network resources. With employees from all over the organization wanting to stream the games online, organizations run the risk of their business-critical applications suffering in performance. To determine corporate attitudes toward the situation, Riverbed surveyed employees about who in their organization will be streaming games and what their policies are toward the situation. The survey uncovered that employees of different age and seniority level had varied attitudes about this use of company resources ...

April 08, 2015

Cultural transformation and eliminating IT silos may sound like an impossible dream — and indeed, perhaps “eliminating” is too strong a word. But the reality is that IT organizations must change toward a more responsive, business-aligned culture, as well as toward a more service-aware (versus siloed) way of working. So how do you begin? ...

April 07, 2015

As the holidays are often the most profitable time of the year for retailers, Clustrix conducted the 2014 Holiday Shopping Season Trends Survey in January 2015 to identify the emerging consumer trends specific to the holiday season. Here’s what mattered to online shoppers ...

Share this