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Monitoring 101 - Benefits

Reduced Downtime

One of the primary objectives of any Network Operations Center (NOC) should be to reduce downtime. This would include obvious actions such as immediately responding to an IT Enterprise function that failed instead of waiting until the failure became visible to Users. It would also include watching for problem symptoms and reporting/correcting them before they turn in to outages. Because a professionally run NOC has extensive monitoring tools that provide deep visibility into the equipment, the NOC can frequently help Systems and Network Administrators troubleshoot problems, thus significantly reducing the mean time to repair a problem (MTTR). In some cases, the NOC can even restore service without bothering the Systems Administrator if this is the way the NOC - IT relationship is structured.

Monitoring will help develop knowledge about common problems that can be leveraged to harden the IT environment overall.

Looking for an expert, professional, NOC Design Engineer to design and build your Network Operations Center initiative?


Lower IT Operating Costs

Vigilance Monitoring charges less than $10 per day per server for our top of the line service. The cost for even brief computer service outages can easily run in the thousands of dollars. At that rate, if the NOC prevents even one service outage a year, it has paid for itself and then some. In fact, it is our opinion that any Monitoring Service Provider that does not save money for it's clients, isn't providing much of a service at all!


Increased Productivity

A NOC should be taking care of the day to day problems and issues that come up with your IT Enterprise gear. This will free up IT Administrators to do the actual Engineering work that they are being paid to do. This might include projects such as environment hardening, implementing "best practices", upgrade and capacity planning and other much more productive and interesting activities instead of mostly dealing with fire fighting.


Revenue Protection

It's pretty much a no-brainer that avoiding outages in equipment that is directly tied to revenue is a good thing. But revenue isn't only lost when a service goes down. Customers will go elsewhere if the service is slow or unreliable. And many times you won't even know that the Customer's bad experience sent them to your competition! Again, at less than $10 per day per server, you don't have to prevent much revenue loss before having a NOC really pays for itself.


Customer Retention

Many Customers don't leave because of one particular bad experience. Many go to the competition because of chronic unreliability or poor overall performance. I know of many IT Departments that have pretty respectable uptime numbers but have Customers who perceive their reliability to be poor. That minor 10 minute DNS outage may seem trivial to you but it could just be the straw that broke the Customer's back.

Monitoring will allow IT Organizations to "keep score" on how well they are doing in delivering key services to Users and Customers, and in doing so will gain confidence and credibility with them.


Improved Quality of Life

I've managed IT Departments myself. I can tell you from first hand experience that it's no fun being in a room full of Managers listening to complaints about how *I* allowed such-and-such a failure to happen and what was I going to do to ensure that nothing like that ever happened again. I've also spent years as a Systems and Network Administrator coming to work in the morning only to find a queue of angry users outside my office wanting to complain about the latest disaster that's going to consume the better part of my morning to resolve. At the very least, a NOC should be catching the vast majrity of these high visibility events and arranging for rapid service restoration. Instead of having to explain why the network went down again, your biggest problem ought to be how to inform Executive Staff about all of the outages that didn't happen because you are such a clever IT Manager!

But another very important quality of life issue revolves around the dreaded "on call" pager rotation duty. No one I know likes carrying the darned thing. This is partly because Admins get tons of false alarms at all hours of the day and night that they have to interrupt their lives to deal with. It also has to do with the fact that the "lucky" person holding the pager gets alarms on every problem in the network, not just those having to do with equipment that he/she is responsible for. With a professional NOC in place, false alarms go to almost zero. And the only time an Administrator will get a page or a call is when something happens to gear that they actually administer. Imagine being able to enjoy a day at the coast with your family and not have to worry about whether your cell or laptop is within the wireless service area!


Capacity Planning

With professional grade monitoring tools, the NOC can be a huge help when doing capacity planning. The NOC will have long since baselined all of the equipment and if resource consumption is increasing they can easily plot when increased capacity will need to be put in place.


Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance

Monitoring allows IT Organizations to check service availability in real time, examine past service availability data and use that information to meet the service level it has guaranteed to users of the applications.


Bottleneck Identification

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