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How Internet of Things will transform application monitoring

There’s a lot of discussion and hype on the market right now about the Internet of Things, and for good reason. If projections are correct, by 2020 over 30 billion objects will wirelessly be connected to the internet. One of the “elephants in the room” on discussions about IoT are exactly how all these objects will be managed within the burgeoning IT infrastructure of the not-too-distant future.




Today is the “age of the customer”; they are now the ones running the show. They’re the ones that determine the needs of IT, not the other way around. Customers expect real-time 24/7 service, which means that if your applications and website does not respond to their needs then they’ll take their business elsewhere. Obviously, putting the customer first means ensuring that the applications that they interact with are running at optimal levels at all times. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will drive them away faster than a website or application is error prone or buggy or one that takes forever to load. This is why application monitoring is so central to your business strategy. Application performance monitoring is the key to ensuring that your hard-earned business app is delivering the business value it was designed for.

So the real crux of what we’re getting at here is this: how will Internet of Things impact application monitoring? With 30 billion objects going online over the next 5 years, how will IT shops keep up with the demands of the customer and keep their applications running smoothly and efficiently? In what follows we describe some of the latest trends that are impacting the nexus between IoT and application monitoring, and how businesses should begin responding to the urgent demand for faster, more efficient application monitoring tools.

1. Unified Endpoint Management

Gartner has been readily addressing this new IT paradigm shift head-on over the past year or so. Their contention is that the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything) will indeed change the whole application landscape. Gartner analysts Ken Dulaney and Terrence Cosgrove write in their May 2014 report entitled Managing PCs, Smartphones and Tablets and the Future Ahead that  the whole world of PC and MDM is shifting, including necessary skills and IT processes. As they summarize, “the management framework approach going forward will result in a product category called Unified Endpoint Management. In the era of cloud-enabled infrastructures, device management now becomes more holistically focused on the integration of a large variety of endpoints such as wearables, TVs, smartphones, tablets, and the whole gamut of smart home devices also coming online. One commentator has smartly observed: “Forget about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and start thinking about BYOT (Bring Your Own Thing)—and ‘thing’ could be, if you follow recent IT media articles, everything from a coffee machine to a car that’s parked in the underground parking lot of a company.”




2. Performance monitoring will shift – out of necessity

In the “old days” IT shops had to spend all kinds of money on servers and other hardware and software installations to keep everything running optimally. Even then bottlenecks, maintenance, uptime, and downtime were constant concerns. Today, with cloud based 24/7 performance monitoring tools it’s possible to easily monitor your environment’s web servers, networks, platforms, operating systems, applications, databases, and other metrics to ensure that the infrastructure runs as efficiently as possible. But like everything else discussed above, Internet of Things will exert enormous impacts on application and website performance management. The enormity of volume of ‘endpoints’ available for monitoring will require IT shops to adopt new and agile approaches to ensuring that all of these devices or endpoints are running optimally and efficiently. A new paradigm for website and application monitoring is not a matter of it, but when.

3. Get ready for Monitoring 4.0!

In a fascinating article describing the intersection between the world of monitoring and IoT, Dirk Paessler outlines the steady progression we’ve seen from the early days of monitoring to the present. The early days of Monitoring 1.0 were marked by routers and switches to keep tabs on physical IT devices. Virtualization opened up a new era and new ways of monitoring relevant data (Monitoring 2.0), as did the entrance of SaaS and cloud infrastructures. The cloud era has led to even newer paradigms in monitoring known as Monitoring 3.0. Now, according to Paessler, with IoT we’re on the cusp of yet another sea-change in the world of monitoring. He calls this Monitoring 4.0 and it will be marked by the “heterogeneous nature of ‘things’ and applications, many of which we probably even can’t think of today.” This era will be marked by the ever-growing amounts of data too, but the most optimal solutions will likely be the implementation of customized sensors to keep track of the burgeoning amount of connected objects.




4. What’s your ROIoT strategy?

Business owners and leaders must not only consider ROI on the Internet of Things, but need to translate that strategy into what one company has cleverly called ROIoT. In other words, how will businesses leverage the Internet of Things for maximizing their bottom line?

One firm has put together an excellent set of questions for businesses to ask themselves when it comes to anticipating IoT impacts on their infrastructure performance monitoring. Here’s what they need to be proactively thinking about:

* Can my performance monitoring platform handle the massive increase in network traffic and still perform with speed at scale?

* Am I able to monitor new devices as they come online, regardless of the communication standard or source of performance metrics?

* Can I achieve granular visibility of network traffic down to the second?

* Am I able to monitor hybrid cloud environments with dashboards that encompass physical/virtual and cloud/on premise KPIs, all from the same screen?

* Can my performance monitoring platform render IPv4 and IPv6 metrics in the same graph?

In summary then, most business owners will hopefully agree that application monitoring must be central to keeping customers happy and ensuring their favorite apps are running smoothly at all times. But today, forward-thinking businesses must go the second mile and get onboard with the realities of Internet of Things/Everything. They must begin to seriously review and update their monitoring strategies to address the new era of “Monitoring 4.0.” With the huge number of things coming online and the “tsunami of data” that will be available over the next 5 years, businesses need to start urgently planning their monitoring strategy. Customers will soon require faster, more optimal and efficient monitoring of all their latest and greatest objects, wearables, and home devices. There’s no time better than the present to prepare for this paradigm shift!

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.