How Many Servers Do I Need for Your Monitoring Solution?

What kind of questions do you ask when you look at infrastructure monitoring tools? You probably start with some of the more important ones:

  • Does this tool monitor the devices I have on my network?
  • Does the user interface (UI) present information in a useful way for me and my teams?
  • Can the system correlate data and events to provide insights into what is happening on my network?
  • Does the solution take advantage of machine learning so I can be more proactive than reactive?

All of the above are good questions and definitely should be asked. After all, if you acquire a solution that only monitors half of your network devices, has an incredibly complicated and difficult to use UI or doesn’t move you from reactive to proactive, the benefits are limited. 

But what about other questions that may not be quite so obvious? Questions that don’t directly relate to the functionality of the product but the deployment. “Sure” you say, “we ask about whether the product can be deployed on-premises or SaaS!” That’s a good thing. SaaS monitoring tools are definitely on the table for lots of companies, but there are still plenty of companies out there looking for or currently using on-premises solutions.

And this is where things can get a little more complicated. If you are looking for an on-prem solution, it is important to think about some other aspects of the deployment:

  • Can the system be deployed in a VM or does it require custom hardware?
  • If it requires custom hardware, how many boxes do I need?
  • If it supports a VM what are the requirements for deployment?
  • How much administrative work is required to keep this thing running?

Without asking questions like these, you leave yourself in a potentially vulnerable position. 

Common Network Monitoring Server Footprints

Let’s undertake a little bit of an analysis and look at the requirements from a Netreo competitor. This competitor sells an on-prem solution that is pretty widely used. Here is a breakdown of the physical system requirements for a basic high availability (HA) solution:

Component

Minimum Deployment

Network Fault & Availability Management

4 servers

Network Performance Management

7 servers

Traffic Management

2 servers

Application & System Management

3 servers

Total servers

16 servers

That’s a lot of very expensive, enterprise class servers (which can cost up to and even more than $15,000 each).

Of course there is a reason behind this – each of these components is actually a separate product with its own requirements. There is integration between the components and they do a good job of tying things together, but when you consider the fact that you are looking at a minimum of 13 servers in your data center (or over half a rack’s worth of equipment assuming you can get the functionality into 2U servers), that’s a lot of space to commit to. The time and effort alone of ordering, paying for, receiving, racking, powering and maintaining each system is substantial. 

Network Monitoring Administrative Overhead

Taking a quick look at the administrative overhead of the above solution, let’s think about what we have to do here:

  • Train your staff on all of the four (different) solutions you acquired. While there is integration between the products, they all work independently and require their own maintenance processes.
  • Identify the required operating system for each system (and they vary from component to component), install and configure each.
  • Ensure each system is up to date on patches at the operating system level
  • Perform any required integrations and testing of these integrations. While some may be pre-built, not all may be, and some functionalities may require additional manual configurations.
  • Carefully monitor the upgrade process of component software, since upgrading one system may impact some or all of the remaining components.
  • With this much complexity, you’ll probably want to deploy a duplicate solution in a lab – meaning more cost, complexity and overhead.

A Typical Netreo Deployment

Now let’s take a look at what is involved in deploying a Netreo on-premises solution:

  • Secure a VM in an ESX environment
  • One line command in vCenter to download and deploy the virtual appliance
  • Train your staff on this one, single solution
  • Umm, that’s it

I don’t know about you but that seems much simpler to me. Oh, and if you’re looking to move monitoring to the cloud we’ve got that covered, too.

When it is time to upgrade, think Netreo. You’ll get everything in a single place on a single system and press just a single button to kick off the upgrade. Request a demo to get a customized tour of Netreo today.

About the Author

Josh Chessman is VP of Products at Netreo and brings more than 30 years of experience in IT. He was most recently Senior Director, Analyst, speaker and author in the Information Technology Leaders division within Gartner. His unique blend of strategic market knowledge and hands-on enterprise network management experience provide valuable insights to Netreo, our customers and the IT community.

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