Monitoring and metric collection trends: A survey of 400+ IT professionals

by Moria Fredrickson on August 23, 2018

We started with one question: How important is your monitoring integration strategy? At Blue Medora, where we live and breathe metric collection, we thought it was pretty important, but we really wanted to know what IT practitioners thought. So, we reached out to members of the VMware User Group (VMUG) to find the answer.

TL;DR? Skip straight to the key findings here. Or download the full study for later.

Monitoring Integration Impact Survey

Before we dig in, a huge thanks to the 410 IT professionals who completed the survey. You made this possible.

Specifically, our research wanted to test if increased access, data depth and context provided by a Dimensional Data stream positively impacted IT outcomes. For those of you unfamiliar with Dimensional Data, it’s a real-time metric stream provided by a monitoring integration as a service (MIaaS), like Blue Medora’s BindPlane. A Dimensional Data stream will include highly granular behavioral detail – beyond what a single endpoint API connection might include – as well as rich relational context.

Dimensional Data adoption is still in its infancy, but demand is growing. Only 9% of organizations who participated in the survey currently have access to Dimensional Data across the majority of their integrations and and are considered fully deployed. On average, 43% of organizations wish to increase Dimensional Data adoption within the next 18 months.

Our survey breaks down 27 questions into three broad categories. Here are a few sample questions from each:

1. Current metric collection strategy

  • Please estimate how many of your current monitoring integrations include visibility into the individual endpoint components so you can drill down into a specific component, such as a PostgreSQL database instance, node or query?
  • Please estimate how many of your current monitoring integrations can be leveraged by multiple monitoring platforms within your environment without customization?
  • Please estimate how many of your current monitoring integrations include the context you need to understand relationships between a specific endpoint technology and all other technologies in your stack. (Ex. application, database, VM, host and LUN)
  • Please estimate how many of your current monitoring integrations include synthetic metrics, known as super metrics? These calculated metrics combine multiple raw metrics to calculate rates or ratios that have more meaning . (Ex. average database execution time)

2. Value of monitoring integrations

  • Please estimate how much downtime your monitoring integrations prevent in a given year?
  • Please estimate how much your monitoring integrations enables faster troubleshooting in your environment.
  • Please estimate how much your current monitoring integrations help you improve resource utilization?
  • Please estimate how much your monitoring integrations improve your team’s productivity (i.e. better collaboration, faster troubleshooting, shared visibility)?

3. Current and future monitoring plans

  • How many unique monitoring platforms do you have in use within your environment?
  • If you have more than one monitoring platform, do you intend to consolidate monitoring platforms in the next 18 months?
  • What percentage of your endpoint technologies are currently being monitored?

If you’re interested in the answer so each of these questions, and several more, you can read the full analysis here.

Don’t have time to read through all of the analysis?

Here’s a summary of a few key findings:

1. Monitoring tooling and consolidation

Sixty percent of respondents are already running three or more monitoring systems, and 50% of them plan to consolidate monitoring tools in the next 18 months.

Figure 1: A breakdown of responses to the question “How many unique monitoring platforms do you have in use within your environment?”

Which may lead you to ask…which tools are they specifically running? We asked that too.

Figure 2: A breakdown of responses to the question “Please select which monitoring platforms are currently in use in your environment (select all that apply)”

Analysis: In search of a single pane of glass?

Given the audience, it’s not surprising to see VMware vRealize Operations dominating these results. It’s also not surprising that application performance monitoring tools like Dynatrace and New Relic were further down the list, because only 4% of respondents were developers or DevOps team members (57% of respondents came from an IT admin or systems engineer background).

Half respondents indicated that they were trying to consolidate–perhaps in search of that elusive “single source of monitoring truth”, but others had no near-term plans to decrease the number of monitoring tools. Some of the reasons they gave for sticking with all of the tools they have included:

  • Different technologies monitored (infrastructure, cloud, etc.)
  • Different analytic or visualization capabilities
  • Different use cases (logs, performance, etc.)
  • Individual team preferences

2. Multi-platform metric compatibility is rare, but on the rise

Seventy percent of respondents said most of their monitoring integrations were not compatible with more than one monitoring platform, but demand is on the rise. Of that majority, 62% plan to make multi-platform metrics a reality in the near future.

Figure 3: Respondents current access to metrics across multiple platforms (without customization) is currently in the minority, but could move to the majority within the next two years.

Analysis: In search of a single data source

The multi-platform adoption stats are particularly interesting when taken in context with the monitoring and tool consolidation stats in key finding 1. For those not interested or planning to consolidate tools–again about half of the respondents in the survey–another path to eliminating metric silos has emerged–giving all monitoring platforms universal access to the same data set.

3. The big question…does your approach to monitoring integrations matter?

Back to where it all began, with that one question. Even for us integration strategy geeks, we were surprised how much monitoring integrations impact your business. Of course we’ve heard it in our conversations over the years, but never crunched the numbers.

In four out of the five areas we examined, including productivity, utilization, downtime and cost savings the answer to our question was overwhelmingly…yes.

Nearly 40% of the top performers in utilization and productivity gains had fully deployed Dimensional Data.

Figure 4: Of those reporting greater than $100k saving each year due to their monitoring integration strategy, 39% had fully deployed a dimensional data stream.

Of those who fully deployed Dimensional Data, one in five saw more than $1m a year in savings and one in two saw more than $100k in savings. We’ve got to admit, even we were blown away by the scale of savings.

Thanks again to all of those VMUG members who participated. And for those who didn’t, we still want to hear what you think. Download your copy of the study and let us know if these results match what you’re seeing in your environment.

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