The “Too Many Tools” Hangover

too many tools

SevOne recently surveyed network and IT professionals about their performance monitoring practices. The results revealed that 24% of organizations use ten or more performance monitoring tools. Personally, I've spoken with teams that use more than two dozen tools on a consistent basis.

What happens when teams have too many monitoring and reporting tools? Admins suffer chronic headaches from attempts at multi-solution integration, correlation, and unified management reporting.

How Do You Get This?

  • Business Consolidation - When companies merge or get acquired, their monitoring tools join a hodgepodge of solutions. Parties from both sides of the transaction tend to cling to their existing tools.
  • IT Silos - Network, server, and storage teams all have their go-to monitoring tools. These tools may address domain-specific challenges, but they can also create functional overlaps.
  • Playing Favorites - When new management comes to an organization, they often bring their favorite tools with them, sometimes without proper investigation of the needs of the new organization.
  • Functional Gaps - There's a tool for everything. But when you don't have a single platform that accomplishes the vast majority of your monitoring needs, you have to fill the gaps.  Sometimes those gaps are purpose-built solutions for log management or flow analysis.

What Are the Symptoms?

Stage 1: It starts with infighting and finger-pointing among IT silos. With no single source of truth, teams claim their data to be supreme. Comments overheard in the hallways include, "If you can prove it was our fault, I'll take a look at the issue."

Stage 2: Over time, you notice your Mean Time to Repair trend start to dive. Customer and end-user complaints grow louder and more frequent.

Stage 3: It gets worse, with direct impacts to profitability. Time wasted correlating disparate data sources across many applications. Expensive attempts to integrate separate platforms that don't play nice together. And lingering support contracts for redundant performance and availability monitoring functions.

What's the Cure?

Find a monitoring platform that is quick to deploy, achieves speed at scale, and can handle 80% or more of your monitoring needs. Drop tools with redundant functions. Even if it results in disgruntled employees in the short-term. But add point solutions where required to address business-specific needs. Your go-forward platform should include a free API for integrating complementary solutions. These solutions may include configuration management, alert management, or IT service desks.

The alternative? Try a hangover kit for your "too many tools" headache.