Thursday, 16th July 2020

Lack of infrastructure monitoring causes SLA 'meltdown'

Research conducted by Dimensional Research and Virtual Instruments indicates that most enterprises lack the complete visibility required to avoid business-impacting application outages and slowdowns.

Research conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Virtual Instruments, the leader in application-centric infrastructure performance management, has found that the IT monitoring tools deployed in the vast majority of enterprises don’t provide the required visibility to prevent application slowdowns and outages – and this results in enterprises failing to meet business-critical service level agreements (SLAs).

As highly virtualised, multi-vendor hybrid data centre environments scale and complexity continues to grow at an unrelenting pace, it’s become impossible to manage through legacy silo-centric monitoring tools. Neither the tools, nor the teams in charge of them, have the platform or understanding required to sufficiently communicate and collaborate with each other. Even more concerning is the fact that there is no common understanding of how applications relate to the underlying infrastructure supporting and delivering them. These blind spots and inadequacies are causing chain reactions that leave enterprises highly exposed to business-impacting application outages and slowdowns.

To understand the scope of enterprises’ monitoring challenges and the detrimental impact they have on the business, Virtual Instruments and Dimensional Research surveyed 401 IT professionals and executives on their organisations’ application and infrastructure performance monitoring tools and practices. The survey found that most enterprises face several notable and related challenges, resulting in the following highly alarming domino effect:

  • Excessive Frequency: Almost 2/3 of respondents (61 percent) reported that they experience four or more significant application outages and/or slowdowns each year;
  • Inadequate Tools: Nearly 3/4 of respondents (71 percent) utilise more than five IT infrastructure monitoring tools, but more than half of respondents (54 percent) noted that they lack full application and infrastructure visibility;
  • Inflexible Root Cause: More than half of respondents (59 percent) confirmed that their application performance issues are related to the underlying infrastructure;
  • Delayed Resolution: Meanwhile, 3/4 of respondents (75 percent) confirmed that they cannot consistently provide application issue identification within 24 hours;
  • Customer Dissatisfaction: Almost 4/5 of respondents (79 percent) noted that these application outages and slowdowns directly affect customers.

Combined, these five issues result in…

  • Missed SLAs: Nearly 9/10 of respondents (89 percent) are unable to consistently meet their SLAs for mean time to resolution (MTTR) of these issues, thereby exposing their businesses to considerable risk

While these findings are distressing, exacerbating the issue is the fact that the outlook for these enterprises and their IT and operations teams is far from promising. Nearly 2/3 of respondents (62 percent) lack confidence that their current IT infrastructures can meet their organization’s application performance needs over the next two years. Furthermore, over half of respondents (51 percent) confirmed that their organisation fails to test or simulate projected application growth for performance capacity planning.

“Enterprises face a daunting task in assuring the performance and availability of their business-critical applications, as it’s a complex and multi-faceted issue that – from the stance of many IT departments – appears to have no simple solution,” said David Gehringer, principal of Dimensional Research. “However, the findings of this research make it clear that applications are completely dependent on the health of the supporting infrastructure. Based on this insight, enterprises need to implement monitoring tools and practices that view the infrastructure within the context of the application. By placing the application at the centre of their IT strategy, enterprises will be able to better anticipate their customers’ needs, leading to a more satisfied and loyal customer base.”

The survey results support the theory that IT and operations personnel need to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of their applications on the underlying infrastructure. Indeed, more than half of respondents (51 percent) reported that their organisation doesn’t take a collaborative approach – involving the engineering, operations and application teams – to assessing application performance requirements. Almost 2/3 of respondents (63 percent) often feel that they’re held personally responsible for application outages and slowdowns. In addition, with an increasing number of applications being deployed in public clouds, nearly 2/3 of respondents (65 percent) reported that they are concerned about the perceived value of the internal IT infrastructure team to the business.

“In today’s highly competitive business environment, enterprises cannot afford to test their customers’ limited patience by having an unacceptable number of application outages or slowdowns,” said Len Rosenthal, Chief Marketing Officer at Virtual Instruments. “The problem is that many enterprises view their applications and infrastructure as two distinct and relatively independent entities, which leads to a lack of visibility across the entire environment. This then causes a vicious cycle of application performance and availability shortcomings, which directly impacts the enterprise’s ability to serve its customers and keep employees productive. However, the insights revealed by this research should be highly encouraging for enterprises’ IT operations teams. By leveraging IT infrastructure monitoring platforms that take an application-centric approach, enterprises will gain that critical holistic visibility they’ve been missing – which will enable them to take a leadership position over their competitors.”

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