You often hear about the need for organizations to be monitoring their applications and network infrastructure. Organizations rely heavily on the availability of their critical applications, the underlying databases, servers and network equipment to run their businesses. Critical applications and the surrounding network equipment need to be healthy and available with no unscheduled downtime. Unscheduled downtime translates to lost productivity and revenue.
A software application can have many elements that are required for its operation. There is the server itself, its disk space, services and processes. There can also be supporting applications and databases. Then there is the network equipment that enables communication access to the application itself. If a critical application becomes inaccessible or is down, there could be a number of things that are wrong. It could be the application itself, the server hardware it is installed on, a dependent database or application, or the network communication equipment. Waiting for an application to become unavailable, and then attempting to determine what is wrong is not an option. The time required to determine what is wrong could be significant, and could further add to the financial damage that has already been done with the application downtime.
It is clear that all small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) need to be monitoring their critical applications and the surrounding network equipment for health and availability. Not doing it can be an expensive proposition. Unfortunately, many are not. Why?
There are a number of solutions on the market that are designed to monitor network equipment and servers, and a few are capable of monitoring applications and databases. The majority of these solutions employ decades old architectural approaches with central server designs. The central server houses all of the functionality of the solution and is a conduit for all communication traffic. They can also be a communications bottleneck in larger implementations, slowing down the solution and requiring additional server installs to handle the load.
Vendors put out new releases of their solutions on release cycles of eight to fourteen months with each release adding more functionality to the solution, and rarely is any removed. The process of delivering a new release can be a lengthy and complex process that requires extensive end-to-end testing of the whole solution. As the functionality increases release after release, the solutions become increasing complex on several levels. Solutions become increasingly difficult to enhance and maintain by the vendor, and interfaces become cluttered and hard to navigate by the user. The increasing complexity requires more and more development resources by the vendor, which it passes along in higher licensing costs. The cost and complexity of many of the solutions have priced many SMBs out of the market. Even if some could afford the licensing costs of the solutions, the complexity of implementing and using the solutions requires technical resources they simply do not have and cannot afford.
SMBs that are required to monitor their infrastructure for business or regulatory reasons are forced to managed service providers (MSPs). MSPs have the same complexity and cost issues with the vendor solutions they use. While they can in many cases shield the SMBs from the complexity of the solutions, they cannot shield them from the cost and inflexibility.
There needs to be a significant change in the way vendors architect their solutions. The old monolithic central server approach no longer works. There needs to be a new architectural approach that is simpler, easier to maintain, and does not have the propensity towards layer after layer of functionality with no end in sight. At Vallum, we believe we have such an architecture. We encourage you to download our solution and take a look, and we welcome your feedback.
About the Author:
Lance Edelman is a technology professional with 25+ years of experience in enterprise software, security, document management and network management. He is co-founder and CEO at Vallum Software and currently lives in Atlanta, GA.