Four System Monitoring Best Practices

monitoring
Dan Goldberg ON Jun 29, 2017

Today, it seems like companies monitor everything at all times. It’s what they do with all that data that matters, though. Companies that find creative ways to make system monitoring efficient and targeted as possible realize better outcomes and become top performers.

According to Puppet’s 2017 State of DevOps Survey, top performers in the industry enjoy deployments that are 200 times faster, failure recovery that is 24 times faster and change failure rates that are three times lower than those of their competitors.

While DevOps and monitoring are not the same thing, here are a few modern system monitoring best practices and tips for how brands can implement them:

1. Identify and Monitor the Problem Areas
If you can’t identify all problem areas, identify as many as possible. Remember that the best monitoring starts before there’s a problem and extends beyond the crisis. The more proactive you can be about identifying the issues, the easier it will be to resolve and prevent them.

Do your monitoring solutions predict potential issues before users are affected?

Monitoring solutions predict issues.

Monitoring problematic areas is another of the essential parts of system monitoring. In addition to the fact that identifying problem areas reduces unneeded notifications that can bog down and disable teams, keeping an eye on both potential bad things and actual bad things makes it easier to circumvent issues and respond quicker and more efficiently when they crop up.

This, in turn, allows your organization to become more flexible and helps to prevent large outages.

While many companies underestimate the usefulness of proactivity, a 2017 DevOps survey from xMatters and Atlassian states that the majority of companies can monitor things like applications and services, infrastructure, transactions and user experience. Additionally, 60 percent of these companies say monitoring helps them predict potential issues before users are affected.

2. Focus on Processes
Good monitoring relies on good processes. As such, it’s essential to take a three-step approach. This is as follows: first, establish the processes you’ll use for monitoring. Second, automate those processes using a quality monitoring tool.

Finally, enable admins to customize their notification preferences rather than receiving a barrage of notifications every time. This streamlines the notification experience and allows teams to act more intelligently.

3. Set the Monitoring in Context
Your monitoring is only as good as your context. To ensure you’re interpreting data correctly, establish baselines and “normal ranges.” This allows you to establish standard metrics and recognize what is abnormal enough to pay close attention to.

4. Prepare for Specific Monitoring Situations
The more targeted you can make your monitoring, the better. This includes designing your monitoring practices toward specific scenarios that are likely to affect your company. This is a proactive approach that makes it easier to optimize (and use) your monitoring data and prevents outages.

In general, how do applications perform once released into production?

Applications still have issues in production.

Are You Choosing the Right Tools?
Tools like IT alerting software, major incident management platforms and enterprise collaboration software go a long way in keeping systems up and running and providing actionable insights companies need to improve operations.

For best results, look into systems like Splunk, New Relic, and AppDynamics. While some believe home built tools will do the job, accuracy is virtually impossible without professional programs, and maintenance is a nightmare.

Better Monitoring Starts Here

While it’s a widely known fact that good monitoring helps prevent outages and user problems, nearly half of all companies say they have to address issues after releasing code.

xMatters & Atlassian: 2017 DevOps Maturity Survey Report

Read the DevOps survey report

Luckily, establishing a plan for effective system monitoring can fix this. By sharing information through connected tools and targeting the appropriate people, companies can prevent issues from reaching production and affecting the operation as a whole.

To learn more about DevOps, monitoring, maturity, read the xMatters-Atlassian report here. You can also start a free trial of xMatters now.

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