Overseeing an IT infrastructure is essential given the complexity and variety of systems that encompass equipment, networks, and software.
According to a survey by Centreon (Supervision Barometer 2021-2023), 89% of IT professionals view IT supervision as a high priority for their organization, anticipating its increased significance in the future. This article provides insights into the benefits of effective IT infrastructure supervision and key considerations to achieve this.
- Understanding IT supervision
- Foundations for effective IT infrastructure management
- IT infrastructure supervision architecture overview
- Setting up an IT infrastructure supervision system: The steps
Understanding IT supervision
IT supervision involves real-time monitoring of various components of an IT system (servers, networks, applications, and devices) to ensure their smooth operation.
Its primary goal is to quickly detect any anomalies or issues that could disrupt operations. This allows for preventive or corrective measures to minimize service interruptions and maintain optimal system performance.
IT supervision also plays a pivotal role in proactively managing system security. By monitoring event logs, intrusion attempts, and suspicious behaviors, IT teams can swiftly respond to potential threats, thereby bolstering data and sensitive information protection.
Note that IT supervision addresses both hardware (IT infrastructure) and the broader information systems.
Foundations for effective IT infrastructure management
IT Asset Management Software
These tools track and control various IT assets like computers, software, licenses, and peripherals. They also aid in planning updates and preventive maintenance. All machines (physical or virtual) with an IP address are referred to as Hosts.
Monitoring Probes and Agents
Installed on different hardware components (servers, network switches, storage devices, applications, etc.), these software solutions, often called Services, gather performance and status data, e.g., CPU usage, RAM, temperature, hard drive statuses. This data is then relayed to the supervision platform through Connectors.
This is the heart of the supervision system. Platforms like Centreon collect data from probes and agents, store it in a database, and analyze it for performance or availability issues. This ensures long-term data storage, facilitating retrospective analysis, historical report creation, and trend detection.
Defining Functional Relations Between Resources
The real value of IT supervision is less about knowing if Router X or Virtual Machine Y is down, but more about understanding the business impacts of these service disruptions. Mapping out the relationships between various services (e.g., Server X’s power supply status), hosts (e.g., Server X), and resulting business tools (e.g., a business application on Server X) is invaluable.
Rigorous IT Security Policy
This involves using firewalls, antivirus solutions, and data protection measures to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.
Employee Training and Awareness
By equipping employees with basic IT security knowledge and promoting best practices, risks from inappropriate IT infrastructure use can be minimized.
IT infrastructure supervision architecture overview
The architecture typically relies on several interconnected components that work in tandem to gather, analyze, and display monitoring data.
- Dashboards and Visualization: Supervision platforms provide visualization tools for presenting monitoring data clearly. Dashboards can display hardware-specific information like server statuses, storage capacities, network interface performances, etc.
- Alerts and Notifications: When an issue is detected, the platform sends alerts to system administrators. These can detail the affected hardware, exceeded resource thresholds, etc.
Setting up an IT infrastructure supervision system: The steps
Setting up an IT asset monitoring system requires a number of key steps to ensure optimum management. Here’s an overview:
- Needs Analysis: Define stakeholders, functional and non-functional requirements, use cases. Start with the company’s business managers, not just the IT department.
- Supervision Tool Selection: Base this decision largely on the network size and devices to be supervised.
- Surveillance Parameter Configuration: Set alert thresholds and metrics to monitor (e.g., network performance to avoid congestion and service availability).
- Deploy Supervision Agents/Services: Install agents to gather and relay data to the central system. Using lightweight agents like SNMP ensures efficient monitoring.
- Configuring Alerts and Reports: Set up real-time alerts and periodic reports.
- Testing and Adjustments: Conduct tests and make adjustments. Simulate failures to assess system resilience and adjust alert thresholds as necessary.
- Staff Training: A crucial step to ensure the supervision system is used correctly.
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