5 Challenges When Monitoring Complex IT Infrastructures

Digitalization in the industrial sector has led to more and more devices that do not fall under the definition of “traditional IT,” but must also be monitored.

Digital Illustration Of Computer Network 000069214479 Medium

People who want to monitor a large IT or network infrastructure are faced with several challenges. Complexities that come along with managing a vast digital ecosystem can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be. In fact, once system administrators have a handle on the data they need, then they can take the driver’s seat and proactively use the data to make informed decisions quickly.

Here are the 5 main challenges with monitoring large IT infrastructures, and more importantly, their solution. With the right tools, monitoring even a giant system environment can be a breeze. The main tenets of monitoring remain the same, regardless of the size of the environment. But larger networks come with some additional challenges as complexity grows.

#1 Multiple monitoring tools.

Large environments tend to have devices from many different vendors. They also have multiple systems. Many of these devices and systems have their own monitoring tools, so it is not uncommon that a large enterprise has around 10-15 monitoring tools for different purposes like monitoring storage, network performance, applications, databases, devices and so on.

#2 Distributed networks.

In larger enterprises, devices and infrastructure are often spread over multiple geographic locations. Depending on how these networks are managed, they might be isolated, semi-independent networks, or they might be linked together in a large connected network. Whatever the architecture, the challenge is: do you monitor each “sub” network separately, and how do you get an overview of the health of your entire infrastructure? 

#3 Monitoring beyond IT.

Specialized IT environments have their own requirements: healthcare, automotive companies, production floors and more each have their own protocols, device types, systems and challenges. In the past these parts might have been completely separate from the traditional IT infrastructure – for example, Operational Technology in the industrial sector or medical devices in the healthcare sector – but recent digitalization has led to more overlap between these areas. This means that more and more devices that do not fall under the definition of “traditional IT” must also be monitored.

#4 Teams and specialists.

Apart from a central management overview, you need individual views for certain areas. For example: you might have a separate team taking care of the databases, and another one looking after the network traffic. This requires roles and rights management functionality, individual dashboards and maps, and alert management to make sure that the right person receives an alert in time and has access to exactly the information they need to solve the problem.

#5 Getting an overview.

With a variety of devices, protocols, monitoring tools and infrastructure distributed over various locations, it is very difficult to get an overview of your entire IT. When you add specialized IT like healthcare IT or industrial IT, you probably have many dashboards and reports in many different places. Also, monitoring many devices, applications and systems generates a huge amount of data. It’s easy to get lost in this information, and so a way of consolidating this data into an overview is required

This is how monitoring software can with these challenges

Monitoring software ultimately empowers you with information – with alerts when problems are identified, and peace of mind when all systems are running smoothly. A product like Paessler’s PRTG Network Monitor or PRTG Enterprise Monitor takes the challenging task of aggregating all parts of the IT infrastructure and displaying it through a single pane of glass so that system administrators can see and understand what is happening across the environment. It can notify users of impending problems, like bandwidth overload or downtime, so that they can quickly respond and prevent them.

When considering investing in a monitoring software, it’s a good idea to consult the experts, first. Ask questions to engineers and thought leaders in the industry. Large monitoring setups require planning, experience and a lot of monitoring know-how, so talk to a monitoring expert.