Many organizations are taking a new look at how best to ensure that performance optimization is happening on all their critical databases. You might be looking for your first monitoring tool. If you’ve had a database monitoring solution in place for years, you might well be considering a move to a different solution. Especially if you’re using an on-premises solution that’s installed on your own hardware. It’s a model that’s proving expensive and time-consuming for many organizations.
So, whatever the reason for your search, you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
- Do we have the skills in-house to manage performance of new databases in our environment using the tools we have?
- Is our performance management team able to be proactive with the current monitoring solution, and manage things like database DevOps and its added risks to performance?
- Is our vendor moving to a cloud managed solution, and where will that leave us? Will we have to start setup and configuration from square one again?
- Is the vendor software cost going up (significantly, maybe) each time we need to agree to a new contract with the vendor when the term of service expires?
- Is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) too high?
- Is our CIO - like most of them these days – concerned about, and mostly blind to, cloud costs? Does our leadership realize that we don’t know what’s really being spent on cloud services, and whether moving a workload to the cloud is worth it or not?
- Do we have the skills in-house to succeed in keeping our customer experience as high as possible, even as our technical infrastructure changes so quickly?
- We need to find a solution that can help us with all of that; there must be one out there – how are we going to find it?
That’s a lot of potential angst right there. An awful lot to unpack and consider.
You’ll need to make a decision about going with an on-premises monitoring solution or moving to a cloud managed database monitoring service. Let’s dive in and help you navigate this exploration.
Trends to consider during your solution investigation
First, let’s acknowledge trending digital transformations that continue to shift the market shares of many database vendors up or down:
- Cost savings through open source is growing ever more popular.
- NoSQL is also on the rise – partly because of the explosion of unstructured data that can and should be used for analysis and for internal and external services by your business.
- Around three fourths of organizations are undertaking active cloud migrations of workloads.
All of these, whether they are affecting you now or not, need to be assumed. If you’re still a “SQL Server shop”, or an “Oracle shop”, that is almost certainly going to change. Instead, you could be calling yourselves a <insert newer database name here> “first” shop. And multi-cloud environments can overtake the best organization’s ability to ensure high performance of their data infrastructure. Dealing with cloud brings the need for new skills, as do new databases.
These transformational truths provide some key hints about what your next monitoring solution needs to look like. While the search might come back to your current solution as being the best fit, you need to consider how best to be ready to meet challenges the future is most likely to bring.
What makes a solid database monitoring solution?
Any worthwhile tool search needs to begin with knowing the characteristics of a database monitoring solution that are must-haves. This is not going to be an identical list among all organizations. In my experience in IT operations roles, and then enterprise software solutions architecture, I can confidently say that it boils down to one thing: a monitoring solution must bring value. Value is the cumulative list of benefits (outweighing their associated costs) to the organization that increase technical and business success. Ultimately, value will decide whether a solution becomes shelfware and replaced at the soonest possible time.
Value calculations must include those digital transformation trends mentioned in the previous section. But so much more.
Common monitoring solution value points today
Virtually every point that most organizations today (should) include in their cost-benefit calculations of a monitoring tool belongs in one of two categories – what to reduce and what to increase as they adopt a monitoring solution.
Things to reduce for more value:
- Operational (ongoing) costs - software and hardware maintenance, people/consulting
- Capital spend - planned and unplanned purchases
- Complexity of scaling
- Deployment, configuration, and upgrade time and effort
- Complexity, confusion, poor user experience
- Finger-pointing when there’s a database performance or availability issue
- Alert storms – “crying wolf” syndrome
- Being reactive
- Time to resolution
- Security concerns, e.g., data breaches, PII data
- Concerns about the vendor’s ability to keep up and support new platforms
- Dependence on skills in short supply (cloud operations, “legacy” databases, operating systems, etc.)
Things to increase for more value:
- Time for innovation/improvement
- Simplicity of license purchase and management
- Communication of causes of performance issues – databases, infrastructure
- Communication of cloud cost details with internal teams and leadership
- Serve monitoring needs of a broad internal audience (business area teams, central IT teams, developers, operations, all levels of org)
- Being proactive
- Intuitive and efficient user experience
- Ability to solve performance problems quickly, even if short of platform expertise
- Vendor partnership in win-win scenarios
Managed solutions and amplified value
A cloud-hosted monitoring service directly hits on several of the above “reduce” and “increase” value points by offering:
- Lower total cost
- Efficiency: less time and effort on deployment, configuration
- Automatic upgrades
- More time for innovation/improvement
- Simplicity of license purchase and management
- Vendor partnership with win-win scenarios
Look for a solution that solves ALL the “reduce” and “increase” challenges
There is a monitoring solution that has helped many organizations avoid all the pitfalls and realize all the benefits we’ve discussed. Foglight Cloud by Quest Software is the managed monitoring service that is based on the Foglight solution trusted by many of the largest and most complex enterprises globally over the last 25 years. With Quest’s experience and reputation for high value within these organizations, you can rest assured that you’ve made a time-tested selection. And now, with Foglight Cloud, the value to your organization is compounded.
Foglight Cloud’s value is unmistakably decisive
No more full installation of the management server that is central to Foglight. That’s managed by Quest now, in the cloud, so your staff can spend more time on other things the organization needs done. The same with now automatic updates (upgrades and patches), now managed by Quest.
Ernst & Young said in 2023 (https://www.ey.com/en_us/financial-services/five-areas-of-focus-for-it-cost-optimization) that 83% of time is spent by organizations on maintaining and updating existing systems. That only leaves 17% of their time for strategic IT initiatives. A CIO-led rationalization of infrastructure is necessary to save costs in the right ways, even as environments get more complex. That will certainly include looking for ways to reduce time spent on implementations, upgrades, and resolving performance issues. And when your environment grows larger – as the numbers of database instances, business applications, virtual machines grow - Foglight Cloud grows with you, without the need for hardware purchases and related configuration tasks that accompany those purchases. Efficiencies bring cost savings.
Foglight Cloud monitors more databases all the time – Foglight’s list of supported platforms increased by three in the last few months. Those additions bolstered an already impressive list. The product team at Quest is constantly analyzing the market and deciding on the next platforms to add, then getting to work on them. That means as your organization depends on new databases in the future, Foglight Cloud will surely keep up.
Foglight Cloud is up and running fast and can quickly be customized for your own environment – an essential for the proactive and accurate response to performance issues. Onboarding is quicker, with resources that will guide you to success. Consider a quicker time to value as an expectation with Foglight Cloud, not a nice-to-have.
Along with all these benefits of cloud managed database monitoring, Foglight Cloud (like the on-premises Foglight option) brings best-of-breed analysis and diagnostic tools for performance optimization for your databases.
Foglight Cloud, with cloud managed options for database monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, performance optimization, cloud migration assistance, server consolidation advice, and cloud cost management, provides a low-TCO solution for many of your CIO’s and business’s largest challenges: keeping costs as low as possible while still positioning the organization for desired growth and positive customer experience.