The up.time IT Systems Management Blog

12Sep. 2014

Four Tips to Drive Datacenter Efficiency

The modern datacenter is the heart of an enterprise and faces challenges with changing technologies, complex IT environments, and lean IT budgets. As a result, businesses need to manage their datacenter more efficiently and foster a proactive approach towards their IT performance.

Datacenter

Datacenter

How can you start? It begins with asking the rights questions:

  1. Can You Ensure IT Service and Application Performance?
  2. Can You Ensure IT Service Levels Meet Your Business Needs?
  3. Can You Enable Proactive IT Management?
  4. Can You See Immediate and Recognizable Cost Reduction?

You can read more about driving datacenter efficiency here:  Datacenter Efficiency PDF.

Answering the questions above will help you set clear objectives on how to:

    • Reduce your IT costs.
    • Define the Level of Services (SLAs) required to achieving your business goals.
    • Proactively monitor and manage your critical IT systems.
    • Have complete visibility and control over performance availability and capacity.
    • Free up your IT Team to be more proactive (and not always fighting IT fires) so they can focus on key projects that move the business forward.

Getting Started is Easy with uptime software.

To help companies find the right answer, uptime software has developed a return on investment (ROI) calculator.

Download the up.time enterprise trial to try it for yourself or sign up for a weekly webinar. Make sure to stay tuned by subscribing to our blog.

5Sep. 2014

Five Secrets to Stretch Your IT Budget (Free Checklist Included)

Over the years, IT budgets have become synonymous with the phrase “do more with less.” So, with that in mind, here are five ways to get big results from small budgets:

IT Budget

IT Budget

  1. IT Systems Monitoring (ITSM) “Need vs. Want”.
         Figure out exactly what your team needs to get the job done. Understand the capabilities you need from a systems monitoring solution and find one that is proven in those areas.
  2. Know the Total Licensing Cost of ITSM Suites
         
    a. Look for Licensing that Offers You the Most Value and is Easy to Understand and
         
    b. Know the Cost to Include the Capabilities/Features you Need
  3. How much will Your ITSM Solution Cost to Deploy and Maintain?
         
    It’s important to consider the ‘soft’ costs of an IT Systems Monitoring solution. These costs include deployment and maintenance.
  4. Provide Value to the Entire IT Team across all Silos (Server, Application, and Network teams)
         
    To make your IT staff more productive, it’s important to have them on the same page. One way to create a high performing IT teams is through a unified IT systems monitoring dashboard that can be used as a ‘heads up display’ across multiple silos. Not only does a unified dashboard make the team more productive, but it greatly reduces the costs associated with buying and maintaining multiple tools.
  5. Choose an Easy-to-Use ITSM solution for IT Staff
         
    Easy-to-use may sound like a ‘soft’ criteria, but it’s extremely important in the day-to-day use of an ITSM solution. Easy-to-use means quick deployment, simple configuration, dashboard to root-cause in seconds, automatic discovery of systems, and 3-click type reporting.

To really see how different ITSM products stack up, use the “IT Systems Management Vendor Evaluation Checklist’ (download it here) which provides a feature by feature comparison.

Getting Started is Easy with uptime software.

Download the up.time enterprise trial or sign up for a weekly webinar. Make sure to stay tuned by subscribing to our blog.

21Aug. 2014

Can Open Source Monitoring Cost You Your Job?

Open source monitoring can be a useful step in the IT process for small companies that are just beginning to monitor their IT infrastructure and applications. However, as companies grow and their IT needs mature, they often require a more comprehensive IT monitoring solution that offers unified dashboards and reporting, broad and deep capabilities, greater flexibility, and easier administration. More often than not, enterprises run into a common problem set when using open source tools for monitoring:

Open source monitoring

Open source monitoring

  1. High Administration Costs: Constantly configuring and maintaining open source monitoring can be very time-consuming, while upgrading and integrating these tools can have serious consequences if not done properly. In most cases, the administration costs are high, requiring at least one full-time tool administrator (40-hours per week) to keep the IT monitoring tool running.
  2. Unreliable Support: Open source Support can be hit and miss, with the majority of Support being out-sourced overseas. This can lead to lower quality support services, with the end result being longer outages and slower mean-time-repair times.
  3. Not Ready for Enterprise: Many of the open source IT monitoring tools lack the solutions and features that growing companies need, including customizable and role based dashboards, SLA reporting, multi-datacenter monitoring, and clean integration with existing IT and business tools.

Companies looking for an enterprise friendly commercial IT monitoring solution should expect Support and features that go above and beyond what open source can offer, including:

  • A Unified and Scalable View of IT Health: A unified dashboard that provides clear views and comprehensive reporting on the health of the IT environment across all servers, VMs, applications, and the network (on-premise, remote, or in the cloud)
  • Proactive Capacity and Availability Monitoring: Ensuring services are available and meeting SLAs is essential. Reactive monitoring and false alerts just don’t cut it. An enterprise-level IT monitoring solution should include proactive monitoring that provides reports and alerts before services are compromised or capacity is overshot. up.time’s proactive monitoring, alerting, and reporting is able to head off the majority of capacity and availability problems before they happen. When incidents do happen, up.time’s fast root-cause analysis tools make finding and fixing issues easy, no matter where they’re hiding in the infrastructure.
  • A Comprehensive and Unified Solution: Open-source tools can have trouble scaling, requiring multiple plugin frameworks that become very difficult to maintain over time. up.time is able to provide a richer feature set that is easier to maintain. Upgrading is simple, and extending up.time with free plugins is a snap.

To see how up.time can fit your needs for enterprise IT monitoring, download an up.time enterprise trial.  Or to learn more, please sign up for a weekly webinar here.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next blog by subscribing to our blog.

12Aug. 2014

IT Systems Performance – How One of the Largest Water Utility Companies in the US Stays in Control of IT

Having the right IT monitoring solution is crucial for IT teams whose operational tasks include incident response and reporting, as well as handing technical problems that affect IT systems performance.  Forward thinking IT teams need the right tools to help them be more proactive and provide business units with the functionality they need to be successful.

IT Systems Performance

IT Systems Performance

One of the largest publicly traded water and wastewater Utility companies in the United States had been struggling to monitor their IT systems performance with a number of separate point tools. Management was becoming frustrated with their inability to roll up data into meaningful reports and dashboards.  The mix of multiple monitoring tools being used couldn’t provide the unified high level view or the integrated reporting that management wanted.  To overcome this, the Utility tried manually consolidating IT systems performance and capacity data in spreadsheets, but this proved overly complex, time consuming, and highly inaccurate.  Simply put, IT management lacked a unified and accurate view of IT systems performance, availability, capacity, and event data.

After evaluating numerous products, the Utility chose up.time for its unified IT monitoring solution. up.time’s customizable dashboards, comprehensive metric collection, ease of use, flexibility, integrated reporting, and low cost of ownership provided the single pane of glass and dashboard views that IT needed for more effective resource management and outage avoidance.

Results? up.time Provided the Unified View of IT that made both IT Administrators and Management happy.

  • Unified Monitoring, Alerting, and Reporting: This massive Utility company now has complete visibility across all IT platforms and services.  up.time provides deep monitoring across IBM AIX, Windows, Linux, and a large VMware environment, including the applications and services that run across them.  With up.time deployed, the Utility has enterprise level IT dashboard views, consolidated reporting, fail-safe alerting, and problem analysis tools that span all critical elements of IT systems performance and delivery (servers, network, applications and services on-premise, remote, and in the cloud).
  • Customizable Enterprise Dashboards: Since deploying, the Utility is thoroughly impressed with up.time’s fully customizable dashboards, ease-of-administration, and flexibility. Monitoring and alerting was configured and deployed in days and up.time’s cost-effective pricing (and the minimal staff needed to operate up.time) made the Utility’s TCO almost 50% less than competing enterprise solutions.

To learn more about how up.time was able to increase IT systems performance and save budget for this Utility company, please read the success story here.

Download the up.time enterprise trial to try it for yourself or sign up for a weekly webinar.

Make sure to stay tuned by subscribing to our blog.

31Jul. 2014

Monitoring IT Infrastructure and Applications: City of Malmö, Sweden

IT infrastructure and applications can be complex when you’re undergoing a rapid transition from industrial port to vibrant technology first community.

City of Malmö: IT infrastructure & Applications

City of Malmö: IT infrastructure & Applications

Malmö, a commercial centre in southern Sweden, is in the midst of this type of transition. They have a complex IT infrastructure that supports application delivery to ensure end-users’ needs are being met. The complexity is found in the dynamic nature of their systems and capacity needs, with user loads that can vary from 100 users one day to many thousands the next.

A critical part of properly managing this IT backbone is to deeply monitor IT infrastructure and applications through an integrated view, across platforms and environments.  The City of Malmö turned to up.time for unified IT monitoring, alerting, and reporting across their Linux, UNIX, and VMware infrastructure and applications.

So, how was up.time able to help the City of Malmö?

  • up.time was able to replace two large and expensive IT infrastructure and application monitoring suites, integrating all IT monitoring and reporting needs into a single solution, complete with customizable dashboards.
  • Proactive capacity planning with alerts and reports that notify IT before services or applications are compromised.
  • Unified monitoring for IT infrastructure, including Linux servers, UNIX servers, and VMware.
  • Application performance monitoring for RainDance Economic Systems, as well as a host of other custom built applications.
  • SLA reporting that shows city management how IT is meeting end-user needs.
  • Unbeatable value with extremely cost-effective licensing and easy administration and maintenance.

“Our previous well known monitoring tools had unreasonably high license costs, lacked customization, required professional services, and were overly hard to use. I was stuck doing a lot of guessing. up.time is everything we need at a much better price point, especially considering all that up.time includes right out of the box. Switching to up.time helped make IT run smoother and we saved over 50% compared to our previous monitoring tools” – City of  Malmö IT Administrator

To learn more about how up.time was able to work with the City of Malmö, read the success story here.

Download an up.time enterprise trial and see how up.time can add value to your current IT management process.  Or to learn more, please sign up for an up.time weekly webinar here.

Make sure to stay tuned by subscribing to our blog.

25Jul. 2014

Happy IT System Administrator Day!

Happy IT System Administrator Day!

July 25th is IT System Administrator Appreciation Day and we wanted to wish a happy one to all the AWESOME SysAdmins out there.

You toil all year round, proactively tackling tough IT problems and putting out IT fires as fast as possible to keep your company’s servers, applications, and networks up and running, 24/7/365. It’s a never ending job and you deserve a big “THANK YOU” today.

So try to relax and enjoy your day, and we promise to keep working hard on up.time to help make your job easier.

Wishing you a very happy SysAdmin Day!
From all of us at uptime software.

Keep Calm and love your SysAdmin

9Jul. 2014

Fast Customer Growth is Great, but it Impacts IT. Can Your IT Monitoring Software Handle It?

Your company is primed for growth, but can your IT monitoring handle it?

Tenzing Success Story

Tenzing Success Story

Tenzing, a premier managed services and hosting solutions provider, was in an enviable spot. A quickly increasing customer base meant happy executives and a great bottom line, but the fast pace of growth would soon outrun IT’s monitoring capabilities.

Until that point, Tenzing had been using a well-known open source monitoring tool. However, as demand increased, the monitoring tool was becoming unreliable, was lacking key features (like SLA reporting), and was taking more and more time to administrate and maintain. Tenzing’s challenge was to find a unified and enterprise ready solution that provided the comprehensive IT monitoring capabilities they needed, but could be up and running quickly and under budget. In reality, Tenzing needed:

  • Unified server, application, and network monitoring across multiple platforms.
  • Fast and hassle-free deployment and maintenance.
  • SLA reporting.
  • Dashboards and reporting that were easy to use and customizable.
  • A cost effective enterprise solution.
  • Expert support.

Tenzing needed a unified view of IT infrastructure and applications across more than 1,200 servers and 400 virtual machines and chose up.time to deliver it quickly and within budget.

After deploying up.time in record time, Tenzing now has unified IT monitoring with a fully functional and easy to use interface, portal, and a centralized dashboard that helps IT meet the end-user demand, both internally and externally. By moving to up.time, Tenzing has complete visibility and control across the performance, availability, and capacity of all their servers, applications, and networks.

To learn more about how up.time was able to work with Tenzing, read the success story here.

Interested in seeing what up.time can do for you? Download an up.time enterprise trial or sign up for a weekly webinar here.

Make sure to stay tuned by subscribing to our blog.

2Jul. 2014

Unified IT Monitoring: IT Dashboard Edition

Network Dashboard

Network Dashboard

 

This is the final post in our four-part series on “Unified IT Monitoring: Beautiful Dashboards vs Deep Reporting – What’s More Important?” You can view part one, two and three of this series here.

With the meteoric rise of Big Data and visualization, beautiful IT dashboards have become all the rage. As Alex Bewley discussed in a recent webinar, titled “Unified IT Monitoring: Beautiful Dashboards vs Deep Reporting (link below),” IT dashboards can provide critical real-time visualization into key IT metrics and can be customized to your IT objectives.

What kinds of IT dashboards are most effective?

  • Data Oriented Dashboards: Including charts and graphs of IT outages and metrics like CPU performance.
  • Informative/Summary Dashboards: Including top resource consumers, application availability (synthetic transactions), capacity, and SLA status.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicators) Dashboards: Including business performance related metrics.
  • BSM (Business Service Management) Dashboards: Workflow oriented with critical business revenue information.

IT dashboards – Why are they valuable?

An IT dashboard is a clear and easy to understand snapshot of what is happening in real-time and should be a key part of a mature IT monitoring strategy. IT metrics are collected and aggregated to make the most sense for each end-user type (IT Managers, Admins, CIO, Line of Business Managers). A critical step to ensuring that dashboards meet IT and business needs is choosing a dashboard solution that’s flexible and customizable enough to map to the end users’ goals.

Are IT dashboards the right answer for me?

It all depends. You’ll need to understand what you’re committing to – SaaS based solutions tend to be developer focused, while on-premise solutions (like up.time) are built more for IT operations. On-premise solutions generally provide more flexibility and depth for metric collection, notification and alerting, and reporting.

up.time comes standard with pre-built and customizable IT dashboards out-of-the-box, along with comprehensive enterprise reporting capabilities. Get the BEST of both worlds with up.time – a flexible and scalable enterprise IT dashboard with deep cross-platform reporting.

Watch Alex Bewley, Chief Technology Officer at uptime software, as he talks more about IT dashboards, deep reporting, and unified IT monitoring in the webinar below.

View the webinar on demand, here: Unified IT Monitoring: Beautiful Dashboards vs Deep Reporting.

To learn more about unified IT Monitoring, please visit IT Dashboards.

Make sure to stay tuned by subscribing here.

10Jun. 2014

Unified IT Monitoring: IT Reporting Edition

Uptime IT Reporting

This is the third in a four-part summary series based on our recent “Unified IT Monitoring Webinar: Beautiful Dashboards vs Deep Reporting – What’s More Important?” You can also view Part One and Part Two of this blog series here.

As most IT pros already know, IT Reporting is an essential part of IT monitoring, providing critical underlying background data for both proactive and forensic analysis. However, the traditional problem with IT reporting across a complex and multi-platform IT environment is the large volume of IT data that can be generated by it. With many IT tools, IT reporting can produce data overload, equal to looking for a needle in a haystack. Is there an easier way to visualize data at scale? Alex Bewley tackles this question, along with other common questions, in our “Unified IT Monitoring: Beautiful Dashboards vs Deep IT Reporting” webinar, highlighting the strengths and weakness of monitoring IT by dashboards and reporting. He makes a strong case for the need to use both in today’s data center. With that in mind, let’s review the key benefits that Alex discusses with regards to IT reporting:

What should IT reporting be used for?

  • Forensics
  • Capacity Planning
  • Summary Growth Reports
  • Service Level Agreements

How valuable is IT reporting to my business?

Reporting is critical in helping enterprise IT departments manage the IT environment. Reports provide deep data for analysis to aid in proactive and reactive root-cause, SLA management, and capacity planning. The primary benefit of IT reporting is the ability to collect, analyze, and distribute data from specific periods of time, extracting relevant metrics for inclusion in additional summary presentations or reports to other departments and management.

Is reporting the right answer for your IT department?

To be honest, yes but it depends. I know, not the crystal clear answer that you were looking for. All IT departments need some form of IT reporting on the performance, availability, and capacity of their infrastructure (across all server platforms, as well as the network), applications, and services. When looking at IT monitoring solutions, it’s essential to understand what you need and what solution you’re committing to. For example, SaaS based solutions tend to be developer focused, have good dashboards and GUIs, but usually lack the deep dive reporting required by many enterprise IT departments. On-premise solutions are more IT operations focused, include deep IT reporting, have everything on-site (some can monitor cloud deployments), and provide more flexibility.

So what do you choose? The good news is that you don’t have to. You can get the sexy IT dashboards and GUIs  typical of SaaS based IT monitoring tools, and the deep dive reporting and multi-platform monitoring capabilities of an on-premise monitoring solution with up.time. We have designed up.time to cross-the-chasm, with many pre-built and customizable IT dashboards out-of-the-box, along with some of the deepest reporting capabilities in the industry. Get the best of both worlds – a killer IT monitoring user interface along with deep reporting and forensic analysis tools!

To learn more, please tune in below to watch Alex Bewley, Chief Technology Officer at uptime software, talk more about “IT dashboards vs. IT reporting” in today’s modern enterprise - Unified IT Monitoring: Beautiful Dashboards vs Deep IT Reporting.

To learn more about up.time’s unified and cross-platform IT monitoring and reporting capabilities, please visit up.time’s IT Reporting.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next blog post in the series by subscribing to our blog.