Network monitoring has always been a complex task for enterprises but with the emergence of virtualization and cloud computing, the job got orders of magnitude harder. And just to make it even more complex, the objective is no longer just network device management but rather the much more complex goal of business service management (BSM).
The thing that makes BSM a real headache is the mobility and flexibility of the various elements that define today's business computing environments.
Real-world BSM in an enterprise requires the identification and monitoring of scores of interlinked services so that performance, out of limit conditions, and problem resolution are as simple, quick, and in-depth as possible.
What's interesting is that once real, effective BSM is introduced into an organization, the insight that it gives to line-of-business and senior managers makes it not just a crucial IT management tool, but also a tool for real-time business performance monitoring - people outside of IT will want to use it!
A company with a really powerful solution in the BSM market is Zyrion. Zyrion offers Traverse, a BSM system for in-house implementation that's designed for both Enterprise and Datacenter environments.
Moreover, Traverse's user interface is completely Web-based and delivered with a polish and flair that makes it easy for even CxOs to use.
In Traverse you create "service containers" that define a group of services that are inter-related and implement a business process. A service container (a term I must confess I don't like as I associate it with virtual machine technologies) could include, for example, several Web servers, a load balancer, a number of databases, and application server, and a payment processing gateway. Any or all of these elements could be shared with other business processes that are described by other service containers.
Related to each container are custom dashboards that are rule-driven so that exceeded thresholds and service outages are easily identified. These dashboards can be configured to give line-of-business managers the service insight they really need to make business decisions (e.g. service center transactions completed per minute).
Traverse can discover network devices and their interconnections but the bigger picture of how these connections are aggregated into containers requires, at least for now, human intervention (Zyrion tells me that they have plans for an automated application discovery feature).
In addition to monitoring "traditional" infrastructure, Traverse has extensive support for cloud computing which includes multiple tenant and federated security models as well as service-level agreement monitoring and tracking.
Traverse also offers an API that customer or third party applications can use to define containers and the system can execute synthetic transactions to test the performance of any service element.
Zyrion claims that Traverse is simple enough in operation that it doesn't require dedicated support staff to run and manage and the company has acquired some big name clients including Ancestry.com and Bill Me Later.
I really like everything about Zyrion's Traverse. It's nice to look at, it answers a real market need, and its pricing, starting at about $30,000 with a typical enterprise installation working out at around $150,000, is very reasonable.