I read an article that other day from a technology news publisher. The article was talking about how the technology availability gap hurts business. The point of the article was that users expect application availability with no unscheduled downtime. One of the statistics cited in the article was, “84% of the IT decision-makers surveyed, said their department has suffered from a tech availability gap, costing global businesses an average of $16 million in lost revenue and productivity.” There are vendor solutions that are focused on network monitoring and management, which includes application monitoring and availability. The large organizations that were cited in this article most certainly have the financial resources to acquire these solutions, and many if not all have already done so. So the question is, why does this continue to be a problem?
There are few things at work here. Many of the network monitoring and management solutions on the market today are years old, and some are over a decade old. These solutions were designed when business needs and network infrastructures were quite different. Network architectures have become increasingly complex, and the pace of changing business needs has increased.
The majority of the vendors continue to rely on an older traditional centralized architectural design for their solutions. This centralized design relies on a central server install at the core of the solution. The server houses all of the functionality, and is the central point of control for all communications. This design has several deficiencies as follows. First, it simply cannot keep pace with today’s quickly changing business needs. In order for vendors to add new functionality to their solutions, most must deliver a new version or release of it. The process requires a full end-to-end Q/A process, which can take months or even over a year to complete. Organizations today require new functionality in days or weeks, and waiting months for new functionality that may or may not be delivered is unacceptable. This architectural approach is outdated and is incapable of keeping pace with the quickly changing demands of today’s network environments.
Second, this architectural approach suffers from scalability issues in large network environments. Large networks can have hundreds or even thousands of network devices and other elements to monitor and manage. The number of devices and the volume of communication traffic can quickly outstrip a network monitoring and management solution with an older centralized server design. Where the solutions are designed for it, the answer from the vendor is the addition of servers to handle the load, and this only compounds the existing complexity and cost issues.
Third, this architectural approach is expensive. As vendors add functionality to their solutions release after release, the solutions naturally become increasingly complex to enhance and maintain. As the complexity increases, the vendors are forced to devote more and more development resources towards maintaining and enhancing their solutions. The increasing costs are passed on to the customers in the form of increased licensing fees.
The complexity of these solutions is also experienced by the customers in the form of extremely complex installation and maintenance processes, and cluttered and hard to use interfaces. In some cases the complexity is so overwhelming that it requires specialized technical talent that an organization may not have or cannot afford. Many organizations that already have these solutions in place resist upgrading the solutions due to the complexity involved. As a result, many vendors have a large number of existing customers who are back leveled on their solution one or more releases.
The answer to this problem is that there needs to be a revolution in the architectural design of network monitoring and management solutions. The current architectural approach is obsolete and is no longer effective. Vendors cannot continue to use a decades old architectural approach and pass the subsequent complexity and cost on to the customers. Vallum Software recognized this, and developed our solution with a revolutionary decentralized architectural approach that does not have a central server install. It is easy to install and use, and it is customizable with specialized applications called Halo Apps. We welcome you to download our solution at our website and try it out. If you have any ideas for new functionality in the form of Halo Apps, let us know.
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.