Key IT monitoring trends in 2022

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In 2022, the primary focus of IT monitoring will be business value, through providing contextualized information to infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders that helps create better business applications, optimize innovation initiatives, and strengthen the customer experience.

IT monitoring is one of many platforms needed when it comes to operating a large and complex IT infrastructure that supports all critical business workflows. The key is to leverage data to make the overall digital landscape more observable. 

The ability to collect data from adjacent monitoring tools (APM, DEM, or NPMD platforms), business insights from databases, middleware, and business applications, and correlated information from data repositories, enables this culture of business observability, providing rich contextual information, supporting stakeholders in their decision-making.

Seen in this way, IT monitoring is, therefore, a tool that helps a variety of IT and business stakeholders stay aware of critical infrastructure and workflows, no matter how ubiquitous they are. The tools that help manage IT service and user experience need to be equally interconnected. Teams that implement and use IT monitoring systems need agility in deploying and configuring the network perimeter. Holistic, accurate IT monitoring counts in creating the kind of secure and reliable digital environment that businesses need to sustain their operations. 

A global survey of 600 IT managers and I&O teams, conducted by the independent firm Vanson Bourne for Centreon, highlights the growing importance of IT monitoring in corporate IT strategy and governance. In particular, it reveals that only 27% of companies consider themselves fully satisfied with their monitoring system, even though it is at the heart of their priorities, and even more so since the start of the pandemic.

Source: Vanson Bourne

The research also shows a different approach between North American and European organizations, resulting in different priorities and practices.

  • Europeans are slightly less inclined (46%) than North Americans (49%) to envision extending monitoring to the cloud and predict a greater increase in the share of cloud in their infrastructure by 2023.

  • Europe appears to be lagging behind North America in public cloud adoption (22% for Europeans, 25% for North Americans) and edge and IoT (16% vs. 19%), although the survey points to a generally upward trend over the next three years.

  • Variations in priorities are likely due to a different pace of infrastructure development. Evidence of this is North American companies identifying IoT (60%), edge computing (51%), and big data (48%) among the technologies and trends that will impact their IT monitoring practices by 2023, while Europeans list big data (48%), IoT (47%) and AI/machine learning (41%). 

  • In terms of staffing, we can see that North American IT managers are most immediately aware of the need to open new IT monitoring positions (73%), while their European colleagues may be lagging behind (51%).

What are suppliers looking at?

This year, budgets allocated to IT monitoring are set to increase. A trend that has not been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, quite the contrary. The IT monitoring tools market is expected to grow by $30.10 billion during 2021-2025, progressing at a CAGR of 29% during the forecast period, according to MarketWatch’s global “IT Monitoring Tools Market” report.

Another important trend in the coming years, as we have already discussed, will be the move from monitoring technical KPIs to business-oriented KPIs. For many IT teams, ensuring that they can monitor new environments, as well as share reports on business-oriented KPIs, will be a priority.

ITOps are also aware that their monitoring practices need to evolve along two main axes: strengthening the production of business-centric KPIs so that IT can be more aligned with the lines of business, and integrating cloud, edge, and IoT into monitoring practices to provide a holistic view of the IT environment, wherever it may be. Organizations will need to ensure that their IT monitoring methods and practices will be adaptable and allow their teams to have visibility into performance levels across the IT infrastructure.

Monitoring strategies will become more sophisticated, according to Centreon, and for several reasons:

  • Integration of remote environments — mainly due to the persistence of telework, but also to waves of reorganizations as businesses are adapting to the post-covid normal.

  • Accelerated migration to cloud and microservices for more flexibility and agility in delivering software while reducing the risks that come with monolithic architectures.

  • Budgetary pressures: in addition to technical and performance metrics, stakeholders, and especially those in charge of budgets, need to constantly ensure services are delivered using resources optimally.

  • The rising need to communicate on sustainability, including the contribution of IT on a business’s carbon footprint.

Observability will continue to be important. “We spend a lot of time with the magnifying glass on “user work from anywhere,” and that will come back a bit to physical locations due to office openings,” says Phillip Gervasi, Senior Technical Evangelist, Riverbed. As IT environments become more hybrid, more distributed, and more complex, IT teams will evolve their network monitoring practices to support broader observability objectives. This requires breaking down traditional IT silos, capturing full-fidelity telemetry from across the digital ecosystem, and transforming large amounts of data into actionable insights that can be used across IT domains to accelerate decision-making and problem-solving.

While engineering teams recognize the importance of monitoring performance and identifying anomalies, today’s digital experiences are built on a network of microservices that struggle to interact and communicate with each other within the observability landscape. Often, a patchwork of analytics tools enables engineers to see limited glimpses of their technology stack, but not enough to figure out why an error may be occurring – let alone how to fix it. According to a recent report by New Relic, 90% of IT leaders and engineers say observability is critical to their business success, with 94% saying it is critical to their role.

Monitoring-as-a-service offerings are set to increase, with companies such as Paessler extending their offerings. “Technology environments are under immense pressure. External factors are changing daily, and IT, OT and IoT infrastructure needs to be as agile as employees are being when it comes to the services they offer. With PRTG Hosted Monitor, Paessler extends the PRTG offering with a hosted version and thus relieves administrators of the burden of operating their monitoring solution. “, says Helmut Binder, CEO of Paessler.

Network performance management (NPM) vendors will begin to evolve towards network observability to serve an IT industry that is embracing multi-cloud WANs, edge cloud, anywhere working, and internet-based WANs. Deep visibility into traditional local area networks is simply not enough for modern IT operations teams. Through organic development, and mergers and acquisitions, NPM vendors will add AIOps, security monitoring, cloud monitoring, and digital experience monitoring to their core NPM capabilities to provide full visibility into digital operations. NetOps teams are trying to align with SecOps and DevOps, and network observability solutions from their traditional NPM vendors will certainly help them do that, comment Shamus McGillicuddy, VP Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations at Enterprise Management Associates.

It is impossible to think about the next 12 months without talking about artificial intelligence. The development of cloud technology has meant that AI is more present today than ever before. When it comes to network monitoring, artificial intelligence can play a very important role. AI collects large amounts of data, and the combination of cloud with AI and machine learning is designed to analyze this data and recognize recurring patterns. It can therefore recognize anomalies and improve analysis and root cause finding, but also identify trends and enable predictive maintenance.

There are many companies claiming to have AI solutions, but few are new, cloud-based monitoring solutions, mainly in the enterprise market, truly based on artificial intelligence. They are mainly dedicated to application performance and security monitoring and allow advanced traffic monitoring, i.e. they are highly specialized solutions aimed at experienced specialists.

“AI assistants who can manage and troubleshoot networks on par with human domain experts will be promoted to IT team members by 2022. In the enterprise, AI, machine learning, and AIOps have the potential to become as trusted a source as the most experienced IT domain expert”, comments Bob Friday, VP and CTO of Juniper Networks AI-Driven Enterprise. “While we’re not there yet, in the next year we can expect AI assistants and conversational interfaces to take on a more serious and trusted role in the enterprise. Currently, AI conversational interfaces can answer up to 70% of support tickets as effectively as a domain expert. As network complexity and distributed workloads increase, AIOps and AI virtual assistants will be seen as essential members of IT teams. Moreover, as cloud services continue to scale to provide unlimited, cost-effective processing and storage.”

The latest trend that is gaining traction in the market is the increasing use of big data for IT monitoring and analysis. According to the report, one of the key drivers of this market is to improve the efficiency of IT operations. 

All businesses in some way already monitor their IT infrastructure today, but in the near future, it will be imperative to ensure that “extended” monitoring tools are used to help IT teams manage digitization and growing responsibilities. Monitoring in terms of IT digitization means having an overview of IT environments with the industry they belong to, and this is only possible by monitoring both with a single solution.

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