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IT Briefcase Interview Highlighting Free Cloud Service to Monitor Your On-Premise Monitoring Products

February 7, 2014 No Comments

Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service from ManageEngine, recently launched a free, cloud-based service that monitors traditional on-premise network, system and application monitoring products. This new service enables IT organizations to monitor the monitors themselves to ensure that the software that companies rely on is working effectively — which is critical for the continuity of operations. We spoke with Gibu Mathew, director of product management, Site24x7, recently to find out more about this new service offering.

  • Q: ManageEngine believes it is breaking new ground with this release of Site24x7. Can you talk about why?

A: Our new cloud infrastructure monitoring service is available through the new release of Site24x7, and it is the first service of its kind. It acts like an insurance policy for your existing IT setup by making sure that the monitoring solutions you depend on are themselves performing in the way you expect them to perform. The service is also offered at no additional charge. It’s free and brings together the best of on-premise and SaaS, which is pretty cool and effective in itself.

  • Q: But the point of having on-premise monitoring services is to monitor the systems an organization uses. Why is it important to monitor the on-premise monitoring solutions?

A: Fundamentally, you’re right. Organizations invest in on-premise monitoring solutions to ensure that their critical assets continue to perform as they’re expected to perform. Any sort of downtime can affect revenue and goodwill. But the monitoring systems are fundamentally incapable of monitoring themselves; you can’t expect a system that has crashed to send out an alert announcing that it has crashed. Eventually, an organization is likely to discover that the monitoring system has failed, but there’s a window of time between failure and discovery when all the systems that the network or systems management solution is monitoring are left without a monitor. If one of those mission-critical systems or apps experienced a problem during that window, the on-prem monitors would not catch it and would not alert the appropriate parties. The Site24x7 cloud infrastructure monitoring service ensures that someone is keeping an eye on the monitoring solution itself and helping the organization maintain zero downtime performance.

  • Q: Many organizations have this contingency covered with scripts they’ve developed in-house. Does the Site24x7 approach offer something that those home-grown scripts do not?

A: Home-grown scripts often have limited functionality and can require ongoing maintenance which can be a resource drain for an IT department, particularly in a complex environment with multiple management tools. If they have any alerting abilities at all, the scripts may be hard coded to send a single kind of alert to a single individual or dashboard — and the person who needs to know of the problem may not be sitting at that dashboard and may not even be the person named in the script. Site24x7 provides an organization with monitoring and alerting capabilities that they do not have to maintain themselves, which frees up their IT resources. And the fact that it operates as a SaaS platform means that it can be configured to send out the right kind of alert — via SMS, email, mobile push notifications for iPhone/Android, and even voice calls — to the person who, at that particular moment, is the person who should be getting this critical message.

  • Q: So, if the Site24x7 monitoring service is a cloud-based SaaS offering, how does it stay on top of events in the data center?

A: The monitoring software itself resides in the cloud, but companies that subscribe to the service will download a small agent from the cloud that they’ll install on each of the servers running their IT management solutions. The agent monitors the management application in real time — using port checks, system uptime checks, process uptime checks and more — and updates Site24x7 in the cloud. If an agent detects a failure, it reports up to Site24x7 which can immediately alert any individuals that the server owner specifies. It’s also worth noting that installing the agent is easy: It’s a one-click install that not only sets itself up but performs discovery automatically — so the agent will identify the management software in use and configure itself to monitor it in an appropriate manner without intervention. The agent itself is less than one megabyte in size, so it’s a very lightweight install.

  • Q: Why SaaS as a platform for such a service?

A: The SaaS model offers many benefits. There’s very little that a subscriber has to do in the data center itself to take advantage of the service, so that eliminates overhead for the subscriber. The fact that the monitoring takes place outside the data center also shields the Site24x7 cloud itself from any problems or events that could compromise the operations of subscriber’s data center. If there’s a problem in a subscriber’s data center, Site24x7 can still issue an immediate notification because our services are not affected by problems in the data center. Finally, the fact that our services sit outside the subscriber’s data center means that we can easily take advantage of a wider array of notification mechanisms to meet a subscriber’s needs. We’re already set up to send out SMS messages, email messages, even voice messages to a phone. If subscribers are using an iOS- or Android-based phone, they may even be able to take corrective actions right from a mobile device. Because you’re always within reach, the next time you decide to go out on a vacation, you can leave your monitoring worries to Site24x7.

  • Q: What metrics does the Site24x7 agent capture and report on?

A: Some of the metrics the agent captures are the up/down status of the on-premise monitoring solution, CPU%, memory %, thread counts and handle counts. No customer data itself is collected or shared with Site24x7, and communications take place using firewall-friendly communications protocols and one-way HTTPS for pushing the performance metrics to the cloud. The interactions are always secure, and a client’s data is always protected.

  • Q: What on-premise products does Site24x7 currently monitor?

A: The cloud infrastructure monitoring service currently supports many of the most popular on-premise management applications in use today, including applications from:

  • * ManageEngine
  • * HP
  • * Kaseya
  • * Nagios
  • * SolarWinds
  • * Ipswitch
  • Q: What if I use an on-premise monitoring solution not covered in the above list?

A: We continue to work on supporting more monitoring tools. Use the form on the Site24x7 web page to tell us which monitoring solutions you’d like to see added, and we’ll add them to the list. We’ll be rolling out support for additional monitoring tools as we move forward.


Gibu Mathew is director of product management for the Site24x7 team at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp.

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