How To

The 1-2-3 Guide to Infrastructure Monitoring

May 18, 2023 | min

IT specialist in an infrastructure monitoring role


As IT infrastructure environments are growing increasingly complex with the prevalence of hybrid multicloud solutions, infrastructure monitoring is becoming necessary for any modern business. Strong monitoring practices are essential for identifying potential issues early on and ensuring that all underlying systems work correctly. 

Knowing where to begin when building a monitoring strategy can be difficult, but you can simplify the process to only three actionable steps.

Key Takeaways:

  • Monitoring an entire infrastructure environment can be daunting or aimless without a thorough understanding of enterprise goals.
  • IT monitoring practices include passive methods such as log monitoring and active processes such as agent-based software implementation.
  • Monitoring is an ongoing process with constant challenges, including keeping up with maintenance costs and scaling your solutions with your company's growth.

Our guide breaks down the complexities of monitoring an entire ecosystem of infrastructure elements so that the end client can focus on enterprise success.

1. Outline your infrastructure monitoring goals and expected benefits

Infrastructure monitoring is the process of tracking, measuring and analyzing data about the performance of any systems and applications within your IT infrastructure. Effective monitoring requires a clear understanding of the benefits and goals you expect to achieve.

The goals you should strive for in your monitoring practice are those that protect your operations and maximize your ROI for the systems and software within your infrastructure ecosystem. To that end, you should keep the following objectives in mind when planning a monitoring strategy:

  • Boost system reliability for internal developers and end users
  • Detect problems and security risks early
  • Improve resource efficiency and management practices
  • Yield more productive results during application and workload testing

While achieving your infrastructure monitoring goals, issues may impede or even halt your operations if not adequately addressed. The first best practice to follow is to troubleshoot and identify which backend infrastructure component is the source of an outage.

Other benefits of a comprehensive monitoring plan include more accurate system requirement forecasting, streamlined network and infrastructure management, and greater ease of identifying congestion points. 

Capitalizing on these benefits will empower your organization to maintain system availability and uptime for your clients and partners and simplify the implementation of future infrastructure components and workloads. In other words, aptly monitoring your organization’s IT infrastructure is a preventative measure against costly outages in the short-term and long-term. 

2. Implement the best tools and practices

Infrastructure monitoring practices are either passive or active. Understanding passive and active monitoring will inform your decisions regarding the best time to utilize one or both methodologies.

Passive monitoring refers to practices that gather information about your infrastructure without interfering with other operations. Tools that compile infrastructure activity logs are part of the passive monitoring process, accompanied by log monitoring software that can then search and filter files to find unusual events that may indicate a problem in the system.

Active or agent-based monitoring involves using an agent that actively probes infrastructure systems for errors. The agent acts in real time, enabling you to detect issues and take corrective action immediately.

Infrastructure monitoring tools collect a wide variety of data that you can use to improve your processes. This includes system performance metrics, application performance metrics, and even environmental information regarding your physical hardware's temperature and power consumption. Network monitoring tools can also passively collect traffic, congestion and packet security data.

Before investing in a suite of monitoring tools and software from a third-party vendor, it is important to consider if they are compatible with essential best practices. Your chosen provider should allow you to install your monitoring agent across your entire infrastructure environment and automate its activity. They should also allow for creating customized alerts suited to your specific needs and testing your tool in a development environment before pushing it to your live infrastructure.

3. Address ongoing infrastructure monitoring challenges

The most significant barrier to entry in adopting or improving infrastructure monitoring is the up-front costs of increasingly sophisticated tools and software. Your chosen provider might allow for a payment plan based on the amount of data processed or the number of users.

Personnel expenses create another cost you must consider. Hiring or training in-house experts who understand how to use monitoring software and reconfigure the relevant tools can be challenging as new situations arise. In some cases, you might be able to outsource these types of upkeep tasks to your collaborative vendor partner.

The actual size of your infrastructure can also be a source of difficulty. An extensive network of many devices, applications and workloads requires significant observation of resources. Infrastructure monitoring tools that prioritize scalability and utilize AI-powered automation can better keep up with the growth and expansion of your enterprise.

Even if you are trying to overcome the problems inherent in a large infrastructure, using too many monitoring tools can be problematic. Doing so can muddle the view of your overall network or allow for conflicting troubleshooting reports.

How can you choose the best infrastructure monitoring service?

When choosing the right tools, software and services to accommodate your monitoring needs, the focus should always be on your success as the client and customer.

Your shortlist of providers should accommodate your enterprise's unique processes and plan for growth by offering a scalable service plan with customizable dashboard elements and monitoring alerts. They should be empowering collaborators who are reliably available to render support or consulting regarding their services. They must also understand the importance of a cloud-native approach that grants their clients agility and future-proof growth potential. 

Nutanix Prism exemplifies the surface-level simplicity that enterprise leaders need in an infrastructure monitoring solution while also providing comprehensive control and service under the hood. Consider how seamless access to infrastructure management tools can benefit the efficiency of your business.

Learn more about the Nutanix approach to cloud monitoring and managing cloud workloads.

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