These are interesting times. With each passing day, there are countless columns and articles on the subject of big data. We’re moving into a global data economy we’re told, where new value is being extracted from our every keystroke, our likes, our habits, our histories. Recent reports suggest the market for big data will exceed $47 billion by 2017. With the promise of big money driving big data, companies will come under increasing pressure to manage their systems and networks in such an efficient way as to keep up with these demands—whether they take the form of new regulations or simply coping with the sheer volume of traffic and data files.
Of all the industries currently dealing with multiple system challenges, managed service providers can provide a glimpse into the world of complex environments where their very reputation and profitability depend on meeting the highest expectations of systems management.
The Role of Automation
Without exception it seems, today’s managed services environments leverage the benefits of automation in their approach to systems management. Doing so not only delivers on the promise of maximized efficiency from time and financial resource management points of view, but also reduces the incidence of human errors overall. As data scales up, so too will automation and the role it has to play in maintaining the expectations of 24/7 availability of critical applications and the systems they run on.
The automation tools that are—and will increasingly—be relied upon so greatly need to satisfy a long list of criteria to truly earn their keep. Perhaps topping the list are the following capabilities:
- Centralized visibility and control
- Customization flexible enough to cater to the individual needs of clients and their service-level agreements (SLAs) without imposing an equal number of customized procedures and protocols that would make managing a substantial quantity of different clients and their resource needs virtually impossible
Automated systems management solutions have been built for exactly these types of requirements. At their core is a unified approach to systems management that supports centralized views (real-time and historical) and control of any number of systems (so highly scalable in large networks), utilizing automation to reduce these views to exception conditions or messages for ease of management. This approach allows administrators to use their time to best effect and necessarily reduces the bulk of routine tasks down to only those that need urgent investigation and resolution.
From a features perspective, monitors are not standard but can be applied to virtually any system element, monitoring either metrics or status and set a huge number of specifying parameters around these so administrators have supreme flexibility at their disposal to create monitors for their exacting requirements, by system, by client, and by SLA for complete synchronicity between the service they are offering and their client’s expectations.
The Role of Resouce Monitoring
As big data’s presence bears down on organizations, this degree of adaptation will prove immensely valuable. Even in large companies outside the managed services industry, resource use is often attributed to internal clients or departments. With this comes the inevitable expectations for optimal and measurable availability, performance, and security, to name just a few considerations. When resource is measured out in this way, it effectively generates a sense of financial and accountability ownership.
The job accounting feature in Robot Monitor produces easy-to-understand resource reports for colleagues, non-technical users, management teams, and clients alike. Robot Monitor can also track resource use by user, user groups, system, or subsystem. This makes for easy compliance with even the strictest accounting protocols where independent proof of resource use is required.
When the need for more formal or contractual agreements are necessary, Robot Monitor can produce SLA resource reports to deliver the precise usage and availability information required, be it by subsystem, disk, application, or any other system component that Robot Monitor monitors. Other useful reporting functions include the ability to estimate new client or department needs based on those of similar scale, function, and user base. Predictive forecasting based on historical trends of resource use helps to build in greater accuracy for planning and billing proposals.
If you’re wondering what a big data future might hold for your environment, consider whether your systems management approach and solutions would meet the challenges of a managed services company—do you have the visibility, control, and customization you need?