Is Your Managed Network Service Provider Using Proactive Health Tools?
Managed network service (MNS) providers are integral to your operational effectiveness as an enterprise. After all, they are the ones that provide the operational support to maintain, manage and evolve your infrastructure.
Your IT infrastructure is a complex dynamic beast. It is not unusual to have multiple applications hosted across delivery systems that span the spectrum from in-house to hosted cloud models. In fact, it is fairly common to have multiple cloud deployments operating in conjunction to service your business needs.
As you know, there is a proliferation of management systems and toolsets to administer your infrastructure. Your MNS provider should be your greatest ally when it comes to maximizing the effectiveness of these tools. Make sure they are providing the basic levels of service assurance that ensures the ability of your business to operate smoothly with five nines of uptime.
But these are just the base requirements. To really obtain the value from your IT infrastructure and your MNS provider, it is necessary to take a proactive stance. By being proactive, you can ensure your infrastructure performance stays ahead of any impending problems that might affect service assurance.
Considering the complexity of new and old tools and technologies that are woven together to constitute your service delivery infrastructure, the need for performance visibility is paramount. You have to be able to observe the performance of the entire system. For this to happen, your MNS provider needs to provide you with proactive health tools.
For instance, say you have outsourced your unified communications (UC) services and they are now hosted in the cloud by a third-party provider. This immediately alleviates your compute concerns since that is now in the hands of the provider. However, on the negative side, you may have lost visibility into the compute infrastructure – it is literally out of your sight.
Your MNS provider should provide the capability to maintain observability into the health of the UC service at the application layer. By creatively using synthetic transactions in concert with other progressive performance management tools, they should provide real-time visibility into how the service is operating and what the user experience (UX) is across the organization.
Business Impact Modeling
From a proactive health perspective, another need that is typically undervalued is the ability to observe the true impact of an issue in the infrastructure in terms of how it affects services and users. If you start seeing a performance degradation in a particular segment of the infrastructure, for example, ask your MNS provider if they can answer the following questions:
- How is this going to affect users if it gets worse?
- What business services rely upon this segment of the infrastructure?
- Does it need immediate remediation? Is the user community of that service online or offline?
- Is there built-in redundancy that makes it a less-critical problem?
To gain this level of observability, your MNS provider must provide some level of business impact modeling (BIM) as part of their health monitoring toolset. BIM delivers the ability to orchestrate the reliance of technology to support a business function – and to articulate it within dependency models that reside at the business service monitoring layer. To provide this advanced level of BIM, your MNS provider needs to truly understand the unique and specific nature of your business model.
Your MNS provider needs to be able to provide tools that proactively monitor the health of your IT infrastructure. Proactive IT operations management means providing observability – true insight into the operation of your network.