Should SMB turn to cloud-based monitoring and management tools?

Serguei Beloussov, formally CEO of Parallels now CEO of Anturis, reached out to introduce me to his new project and talk about making sophisticated IT monitoring and management software available to small to medium size businesses. He believes that smaller companies should have access to the same level of sophisticated monitoring and management tools as do their larger cousins. He believes that these tools can be delivered as cloud-based services.

Snapshot analysis

Management and monitoring tools have been getting ever more sophisticated. They have become as challenging as the basic problems inheirent in monitoring and managing systems, databases, application frameworks, applications, virtualization technology, storage technology and network technology.

Why? Because modern applications have become very, very complex. A given workload is likely to be designed as a multi-tier, distributed collection of system services that have been pressed into service together to provide a solution to a problem.

These services might be hosted on a physical machine, a virtual machine or a machine hosted in a third party's data center (cloud computing). Furthermore, the computing solution might be executing on a combination of Windows, Linux, UNIX and/or some other operating system. Mainframe, single vendor and industry standard X86 systems might all have been herded together to create the solution.

Each of these components requires monitoring and management. The collection of technology must be managed as a whole as well. It's a bit like managing multiple running horses to make sure that the passengers get safely to their destination. The key difference is that today's IT solutions could look like harnessing together horses, bears, lions, and cheetahs and hoping they don't attack one another.

Stagecoach_(PSF)


Often managing and monitoring this collection of technology is beyond the capabilities of any but the largest organization. Anturis believes that by applying the newest monitoring and management tools as cloud services, that this expertise can be packaged and delivered to smaller firms. The company's solution has just been launched as a beta test.

The key questions that come to mind are:

  • Monitoring and management is already a crowded, competitive market, why should we pay attention to Anturis?
  • Are cloud-based solutions the best for this market segment?

Tools and frameworks from major players such as BMC, CA, HP, IBM and others are battling for the attention of IT decision makers. I hear from new startups all of the time, each of them bringing something new to the discussion. All of them are focusing some of their attention on serving the needs of the smaller business. Many of them are offering cloud-based management tools.

Cloud-based tools offer a number of benefits including the following:

  • Little software expertise is needed to install and use cloud-based management and monitoring tools
  • Little to no expertise is needed to manage the systems supporting those management tools
  • The supplier worries about things like software updates, problem isolation and resolution so that the customer doesn't need to think about those things.
  • Companies only need to pay for the services they use, not the data center space, the power, the cooling, the systems or the software supporting the IT solution.

What is clear is that IT decision makers for smaller enterprises need all they help they can get. It would be wise of them to reach out to their major partners, such as IBM, to decide upon the best combination of tools and processes to meet their own business objectives.

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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.



  

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