Josh Duncan, Product Evangelist at Zenoss (, says:

Enterprise operations teams need a way to manage and monitor all of their physical servers, networks, storage devices, and an increasing amount of virtual resources. It is no longer a simple exercise to determine where your services are physically running, and what the impact is if a device has to go offline. Zenoss provides visibility into the entire IT infrastructure, so you can address the growing challenge of efficiently managing your physical, virtual, and Cloud resources.

Datacenter managers are being asked to manage dynamic environments and are rapidly finding out that management solutions built around a static CMDB paradigm don’t scale. Having a monitoring solution that provides real-time visibility will guarantee that operations is always away of the “as-is” state. This enables IT to react faster and successfully manage a constantly changing environment at much higher level of service.

Operational visibility is a foundational requirement for any IT environment. However, for highly virtualized and Cloud environments, it is critical that IT is able to guarantee service delivery. Service assurance in the Cloud requires that operations can see the linkage between the devices they are monitoring and the services they are supporting. When a service starts to become degraded, operations must be able to proactively react.

Biggest Challenges
Mean time to resolution – In highly virtualized environments, finding the root cause of a service impact is a challenge. When a resource fails, the wave of events generated from the dependent resources can make it nearly impossible to rapidly address the problem. Swivel-chair management between different monitoring solutions and organizational finger pointing is not the path for highly effectively IT operations. Having a single view into the entire infrastructure is the first step to aligning to an IT-as-a-service organization.

Overcoming the Challenge
Being aware of the health and performance of all the devices in the infrastructure is a start, but the real trick here is understanding how these devices are actually playing a role in the services being delivered. Users care that their email service is working; not what’s happening in the background. Datacenter managers need to be able to address service-level issues, not just device uptime.

Advice for Data Center Managers
As always, it is important to ask the right questions and to not only look at what the solution is delivering today, but its track record for supporting new technology and features. The only way to effectively manage and monitor cloud-based infrastructures is with a model-based solution that keeps track of all of the dynamic changes in the environment, and can meet the requirements of carrier-grade scale.

From working with some of the leading hosting and Cloud providers in the industry, we put together an eBook, “Can You Really Manage the Cloud?” listing questions that should be addressed when looking at management and monitoring solutions. The list is meant to be a starting point when it goes to figuring out what’s important for your business and IT strategy.