By most conservative estimates, 85% of the alerts being generated by your various monitoring solutions are noise. "Noise" is a term IT operators use to describe the flood of alerts that fill up email boxes, which don't require any action. To compound the problem, operators can't be certain which of the landslide of alerts need attention and which ones do not.
The problem is that every system, device and application in the environment is alerting you to something. Constantly. And because technology is multiplying by the day and data is becoming cheaper to provide, alerting is getting out of hand. So many alerts that it can easily reach 10,000 per week in a standard mid-enterprise environment. And there are some reading this who would love such a small number.
How are you handling noise?
Safe to say if you go into any IT operations group and ask about the policy for looking at and/or responding to alerts, you'll get a mixture of answers. Often accompanied with an occasional chuckle, which to me means someone thinks the procedure could be better. The point is, they're a pain to keep up with and cause a lot of lost time opening and reading alerts that require little, if any attention.
There's nothing like a human.
A solution we implement for our clients is a combination of Vistara, a SaaS IT operations platform and NetEnrich. NetEnrich is essentially IT operations as a service. This 1-2 punch combines technology and human intervention that in a typical scenario turns tens of thousands of alerts into just a handful of service tickets.
With thousands of customers' systems and networks being monitored, knowing which alerts need attention is a source of NetEnrich's success. NetEnrich, is a 300-400 person engineering company with HQ in San Jose and operations in Hyderabad, India has been perfecting the use of its star IP, Vistara (Vistarait.com) for at least 10 years. Vistara can be one of two things: 1.) the actual monitoring tool 2.) collector/aggregator of alerts generated by other monitoring tools. Or, both. With Vistara, all devices in your environment are visible regardless of their physical location. Vistara is an up-to-date IT operations tool that sees all. Now event correlation can be handled in one place.
The beauty of the combination is this, for about the cost of a good new monitoring solution, you can also get humans to keep watch over it. Alerts are forwarded via email OR thru API integration with your ITSM, tickets are generated by NetEnrich directly into your service portal. You can add services or subtract them as time goes on. For a few bucks more you can add support like OS patching, automated run-book or even full management of an environment, including trouble-shooting, RCA and OEM vendor management. See "Scalable Workforce."
It gets better.
Most NOC operations are staffed by the least number of people needed to cover 24x7x365. Recruiting and keeping people who want to do this work can be challenging, particularly if you need people with skills. You might have the right number of people but not the right skill sets to keep up. When you use a share services, remote model like NetEnrich, you have dozens of people at any hour of the day with a deep understanding of every kind of technology being monitored. This means you are no longer limited by the skill sets of your own people. (8 Benefits of Remote Infrastructure Monitoring and Management)
If monitoring or remote IT support are on your to-do list for 2015, consider a solution that not only provides unified monitoring and alerting but also has a support component that you can dial in by technology. Maybe you want more help managing Exchange than you do with your Linux servers - or the other way around. Depending upon your requirements, these solutions can be customized to your situation. More like "co-sourcing" than "out-sourcing."
So, buy new monitoring. Or, buy monitoring with managed IT services that come with it. Dish out the work you don't want to do (or aren't good at) to remote support and focus on what you want to do. In a majority of the time, the remote operators will do it better and for less money than it costs you to do it yourself.