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Observer Infrastructure Features

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Power-Packed Features

Rich features and vigorous functions are standard with Observer Infrastructure (OI). With its smoothly assimilated integration, OI is the only resource monitoring solution you need to manage critical IT resources. No add-ons required.

Application Availability

The hyper-competitive demands of always-on web interfaces and e-commerce call for comprehensive views into application, database, and web servers. This makes robust application availability the lynchpin of effective IT operational management.

Without the need for add-on modules, OI comes ready to offer deep visibility in these higher level services. Whether it's an Apache™ web front-end server, backend Oracle® database, or middleware solution such as WebSphere® MQ, OI captures the metrics needed for these and many additional platforms.

When end-user experience is degraded, it's not enough to just monitor the physical health of a device. If there's a problem, it needs resolution. Even when the physical network, routers, and servers all check out okay, you can often find and resolve issues by using the application awareness that comes standard with OI.

Configuration Monitoring

Another powerful troubleshooting capability that comes standard with OI is configuration monitoring. This capability allows users to monitor infrastructure configurations, receive alerts about potential issues, and assess whether device changes adversely impact network or application performance.

OI utilizes pre-defined and user-created rules to establish standard configuration profiles for switches, routers, and firewalls involved in critical services delivery on the network. OI automatically monitors for any devices change and classifies change notifications as informational, marginal, or critical – with different priority levels and alarms assigned to each classification.

Network teams can now proactively manage configuration change. By determining its performance impact and severity, they can allocate the appropriate resources needed to prevent user impact and quickly resolve any infrastructure monitoring issues.

IP SLA, WAAS, and NBAR Intelligence

Understanding router device status and leveraging all of its functionality is essential to optimal service delivery. OI delivers on this promise by capturing core router parameters, including underlying health, along with summaries of traffic traversing the network from packet counts to alarm and error conditions.

If OI detects the Cisco® router supports IP SLA, WAAS, or NBAR, it retrieves the router information on service effectiveness and/or their statistics. Examples are numerous and include: exploiting NBAR traffic volumes; assessing overall network usage rates for a given protocol type; and monitoring WAAS compression efficiencies to better plan future bandwidth requirements.

OI can monitor IP SLA enabled devices and capture common operations such as UDP echo, IPv6 traffic, TCP connect time, DNS lookups, and HTTP get-and-response times, adding extensive insight into existing probe-based capture data. For example, because of network architecture constraints, it may not always be possible to place probes on each critical path. But with IP SLA, you're still able to obtain a snapshot of application traffic behavior.

Mapping

OI automatically creates a network map during discovery. It uses advanced intelligence to construct comprehensive maps of your entire network, systems, and applications. Large, complex environments benefit from the powerful OI nesting functionality that allows multiple items to be represented with a single icon.

This means you can build a collection based on service objectives and corresponding dependencies like the following:

  • Routers
  • Switches
  • Load balancers
  • VPN connectivity
  • Servers
  • Apps within servers

All of these elements can be monitored in a single nested collection, providing status on the service as a whole and drilldown to the deepest layers. You can also keep all of your web servers in one set, or nest every device that spans a large geographic area (like the Canadian Provinces) within a single item.

From start to finish, the process is guided by an intuitive wizard that needs only a few inputs: network IP address ranges and credentials that are up and running.

You begin by selecting a relevant map background, either your own or one of the many included with OI. Then move items to build a compelling and meaningful view of your architecture. If too many items create chaos, assemble them into logical sets and assign a single icon.

Polling

Once OI detects and stores monitors with their corresponding device elements, it performs flexible, ongoing checks via polling to ensure you have real-time status of critical infrastructure and services. This vital capability creates historical information summaries over time; it gives you enhanced visibility into trends that eventually can negatively impact the end-user experience.

Discovery and polling begin with an ICMP ping to determine up/down status and network response time. Depending on the device, OI may perform additional actions. For example, if a device is a Windows®-based server, the WMI interface is accessed for additional operating system details. A similar process is performed for Cisco® routers. If higher level capabilities like NBAR are detected, these are queried and the information is stored within OI. Even if the device is powered down, status via an IPMI interface can be leveraged to determine device status.

Multiplying these benefits, licensed versions of OI allow for distributed remote polling in a hierarchal manner. This provides a seamless method of scaling tens of thousands of devices within the context of logical groupings based on geographical, functional, or organizational structure.

Public and Private Cloud Management

OI also extends in-depth operational awareness to span your cloud implementations. OI discovers and regularly updates the status (via polling) of supported public cloud solutions. These include industry leaders Amazon CloudWatch™, Cloudkick™, and Google App Engine™. To ensure security, (a valid concern when moving to the cloud), OI gives you the option to fully encrypt all transmissions with HTTPs.

How does OI do this? It leverages the API management interface of cloud solutions and integrates it within internally hosted resources. When it comes to private cloud providers, OI fully monitors NetApp™, Flexpod™, and EMC2® Vblock™. All cloud components, regardless of where they physically reside, are synthesized into a coherent, single pane of glass.

In our rapidly evolving IT operational environment, dynamic provisioning of cloud services is the norm. The ability to pierce the uncertain fog of externally provided resources is essential for acceptable end-user experience – and OI does just that. It has many of the same parameters you've come to expect with internally hosted assets, including underlying server health and current utilization levels.

Route Monitoring

Knowing the health of key network routes is crucial for consistent service delivery, yet OI is one of the few IT operational monitoring solutions that offers ongoing route fitness validation. Once OI is installed, you can quickly define essential remote-access resources like Salesforce.com® and other SaaS solutions by monitoring routes for consistent timing.

Once critical paths are monitored, OI records results and issues an alert if excessive delays are detected. Documenting these changing paths (known as route flapping) helps ensure adequate response time and enforce SLAs.

Consider this real-world example: A large multi-national corporation enters into a contractual agreement with a provider to deliver dedicated service between their London-Los Angeles locations. After a month of acceptable performance levels, delivery becomes sporadic with frequent user complaints about poor service response time. After eliminating other possible causes (like misconfigured routers or application issues), OI confirms the selected carrier route markedly varies throughout the day – and detects degraded response times when service is routed through Atlanta. But when routing is directed via the New York trunk line, delay levels are measured and found acceptable – problem solved.

Storage enclosure and SAN details

What's your worst case scenario? For many IT administrators it's one where mission-critical data is at imminent risk of corruption or loss because of a failing storage device – and you have no idea it's about to happen. Unless you have OI. It helps prevent this scenario through proactive monitoring within the context of other IT resources, all from a single OI reports page.

OI allows you to easily monitor storage assets to guarantee they maintain the highest levels of operational efficiency. It supports major vendors (including Dell™, EMC2, NetApp, and IBM®), providing numerous key metrics like disk utilization, I/O activity, and array health.

With OI, even Big Data and the industry-wide storage convergence initiative won't shake your confidence.

Synthetic Transactions

OI provides more than ounce of prevention when it comes to IT health. It gives you intelligent capabilities that allow you to proactively manage IT resources.

How does it work? Using a simple scripting language and numerous pre-defined operations, you can now build a transactional library of real-world like end-user conversations. Periodically, OI can execute these to quantify the IT resource's ability to complete them in a timely fashion. For example, if you managed an e-commerce site that delivers content from multiple servers and backend databases, you can build a script that constantly simulates and monitors the response time of typical requests.

Setting conservative thresholds with alerts when excessive values are detected allows you to quickly address the issue. This capability is clearly helpful for catastrophic failures, but it's also great for slowly degrading conditions that sneak up on you – like CPU utilization.

Up/Down Monitoring

Quickly gauge network, systems, and applications in a visually intuitive format with OI up/down monitoring. At-a-glance views into device health monitoring keep you on top of the most critical routes, servers, and services. From a single screen, you can instantly determine if important components or applications have problems.

Virtualization Visibility

Virtualization is the norm in today's data center. Yet many IT administrators have difficulty understanding the condition of the virtual machine hypervisor and individual VM instances, along with underlying physical resources. But with OI virtualization, you have support for most server virtualization platforms (including VMware®).

Likewise, OI provides deep insight into the health of virtualization platforms (sometimes referred to as private clouds) from NetApp, EMC2, and Microsoft®. Tied to tons of data on the host server, OI health means visibility issues with virtualization are eliminated, seen here in a small sample of OI private cloud monitoring capabilities.




In Depth Virtualization

In Depth Virtualization




Cloud Visibility

Cloud Visibility




Component Insight

Component Insight