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      Survey: Monitoring and OS Maintenance are IT Pros Biggest Infrastructure Time Wasters


      If time is considered a finite resource, IT pros are feeling a shortage.

      For INAP’s second annual State of IT Infrastructure Management report, we asked IT professionals to list the routine infrastructure activities taking too much and too little of their time. Once again, monitoring topped the “too much time” list, while designing and implementing new solutions ranked No. 1 in the “not enough time” category.

      Overall, 59 percent of IT pros are frustrated by the time spent on routine infrastructure activities and 84 percent agreed that they “could bring more value to their organization if they spent less time on routine tasks”—up 7 points from 2018.

      The survey was conducted late last year among 500 IT senior leaders and infrastructure managers in the United States and Canada. The margin of error was +/- 5 percent.

      Participants also shared how often their personal time is interrupted and how they would spend their time if they were given 16 hours back to use as they please.

      Check out the results below and download a copy of the full report here.

      How IT Pros Spend (And Don’t Spend) Their Time

      Here’s the full list of routine infrastructure activities alongside IT’s assessment of whether each is getting the attention it deserves.

      IT's Time

      Only 23 percent of participants said they don’t spend enough time monitoring infrastructure, which is less than half the rate of those who consider this routine activity to be something that is eating into time that could be spent elsewhere (48 percent).

      Operating system and hardware maintenance came in second and third, at 42 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

      Nearly half (47 percent) of IT pros want to spend more time on designing and implementing new solutions, compared to 28 percent who already spend too much time.

      IT pros remain polarized, as they were in the 2018 report, as to whether the amount of time spent securing their infrastructure is hitting the mark, with 39 percent saying it’s too much and 42 percent saying it’s not enough. Information security management/vulnerability migration is also the activity where the highest percentage of IT pros went one way or another on the issue, as only 19 percent fell into the “neither” category.

      Senior leaders were far more likely to say they spend too much time on security compared to non-senior infrastructure managers—30 percent vs. 13 percent. They were also more likely to say they don’t focus enough on OS maintenance—20 percent vs 6 percent of non-leaders.

      How IT Pros Would Like to Spend Their Time

      Survey respondents say their personal time is disrupted by work responsibilities related to server and/or cloud infrastructure an average of 6.24 times per month—up slightly from 5.9 times in 2018’s report.

      With so much time—on and off the clock—being dedicated to upkeep and maintenance, we once again asked, “What would you do if we gave you 16 hours back in your week?”

      16 hours

      Application related answers make up three of the top four activities this year, with “enhancing existing applications” and “optimizing existing environments for application performance” coming in third and fourth, respectively. Reclaiming work-life balance fell to second, after claiming the top spot in 2018.

      In the first annual State of IT Infrastructure Management report, IT pros noted that their departments are the key driver of their organization’s digital transformation initiatives, but they are spending too much time on routine tasks, focusing on functions that are “just keeping the lights on.” This sentiment continued in 2019. The list of activities noted in the chart above can be considered the opportunity costs of these routine tasks.

      Have you read checked out our second annual State of IT Infrastructure Management report yet? If not, download a free copy and get your report card for the hybrid IT and multicloud era:

      Laura Vietmeyer


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      Exploring the Features of Intelligent Monitoring, powered by INAP INblue


      What would you do if you didn’t have to spend time on routine server- or cloud-related maintenance and monitoring?

      According to INAP’s The State of IT infrastructure Management report, a vast majority of IT professionals say they are not spending enough time designing or implementing new solutions, working on expansions or upgrades, or focusing on information security projects. As it stands, 25 percent of participants say they spend too many hours on monitoring, and it’s clear that there’s a desire to set aside the busywork for value-added projects, allowing IT to be a center for innovation, rather than viewed as “purely keeping the lights on” by the company’s senior management.

      Intelligent Monitoring, powered by INAP INblue—a multicloud infrastructure management platform, gives you time for what matters. It’s a premium managed cloud and monitoring service—available today for INAP Bare Metal customers—that raises the bar for managed hosting solutions by ensuring proactive support, service transparency and consistent performance.

      “Infrastructure monitoring strategies are only as good as the actions that follow alerts,” said Jennifer Curry, SVP of Global Cloud Services at INAP. “We built Intelligent Monitoring to not only improve cloud performance and availability, but to set a new benchmark for managed services transparency.”

      In addition to an improved service experience, Managed Bare Metal customers also have access to the same enterprise-grade monitoring and management tools used by INAP technicians, offering functionality and control that will eliminate the need for customers to invest in third-party remote monitoring and management solutions, including remote execution and scripting, unified log management, patch management and automation, and port, service and URL monitoring.

      Let’s take a closer look at the features that make Intelligent Monitoring a one-of-a-kind solution.

      Advanced Monitoring & Action Items

      Built from the ground up with leading technologies like SaltStack and Elastic Beats, the Intelligent Monitoring agent tracks everything from server resource usage to Apache and MySQL connections. The in-depth, proprietary monitoring technology is installed directly onto your server, enabling INAP technicians to respond to alerts before performance degrading issues arise. Default trigger thresholds are chosen by INAP’s support team based on years of data and first-hand expertise. You have full access to all monitoring metrics and can request custom alert triggers, or modifications to trigger thresholds.

      When you log into INblue, the dashboard will give you a snapshot of your server environment through system events called Action Items. If you subscribe to the fully managed Service First edition, these items allow your INAP support team to proactively manage your environment and rapidly respond to alerts. Action Items are triggered in a variety of ways, including when infrastructure or network monitoring thresholds are surpassed, when a critical service shuts down or when a new software patch becomes available.

      Action Items

      Support Remediation Aided by Smart Workflow System

      INAP technicians remediate Action Items using our proprietary Smart Workflow System, which enables fast, accurate and consistent troubleshooting. Here’s a brief look how it works:

      1. The Smart Workflow System defines the Action Item type and initiates appropriate workflow process.
      2. The system automatically creates a support case for the Action Item, pulling historical correlated issue data, trigger metrics and detailed log info.
      3. Using the data and Action Item type, the assigned INAP Service First support technician investigates the issue following a branching series of software-defined and expert-tested remediation steps. Customers may request custom workflows for scenarios unique to their environment.
      4. Upon resolution of the Action Item, your assigned technician will notify you via the Action Item details page and include relevant root cause data.
      5. The Smart Workflow System constantly improves as new system data and insights from INAP experts modify issue definitions and remediation steps.

      On the other side of the glass, the INblue platform is your vehicle for ensuring absolute transparency. At the top of any Action Item details page, you’ll see the INAP technician assigned to the workflow, the current status of the event and tasks they are currently performing or have already performed. You can review information about correlated past issues, metric and log data pinpointing a trigger, and your full support history for any Action Item.

      However, for most Action Items, you won’t have to do a single thing. Intelligent Monitoring’s Smart Workflow System and the INAP Service First support team are on top of every case.

      Patching and Log Management

      Intelligent Monitoring radically simplifies two activities that most IT professionals consider especially tedious: patching and log management.

      The patching update process is streamlined, as all available patches for your server are proactively listed in groups. You can handle this process in one of two ways, depending on how much control you want. You can confirm and schedule the patch to complete the process with INAP support, or—if you want a hands-off approach—you can choose to auto-patch your server daily and your team will receive calendar invites for each scheduled patch.

      Intelligent Monitoring will also save you from manually browsing events by providing a chronological event log for all your servers. Easily filter by server and file path, or dive deep with a keyword search. You’ll be able to accelerate analysis and locate critical information. Plus, the log management feature provides your INAP technicians critical, actionable intelligence to keep your environment compliant and secure.

      Log Management

      Remote Execution and Scripting

      Intelligent Monitoring allows you to easily create and run remote execution scripts to any of your installed servers, giving you a single portal for taking control of your environment. You can choose from scripts you’ve already created and schedule them by inserting a token from your two-factor authentication application. You will automatically receive an email when the script successfully executes.

      If you want to create your own Bash or Powershell scripts, you can do so via the Script Editor, located in the side navigation of the INblue platform.

      Port, Service and URL Monitoring

      Under the Ports tab on any Server Details page, you can review, edit and monitor triggers for your server’s open and closed ports. Port Status changes will be shown in your Action Items list.

      Intelligent Monitoring also allows you to monitor any available services running on your system. You can also stop, start or restart services from the Services tab. For example, you can enable service monitoring on Chron Dee, enabling the auto-restart feature. With this monitoring feature enabled, you can rest assured that if a service ever fails, it will automatically create a new Action Item.

      Looking Ahead

      This is just the beginning for Intelligent Monitoring, powered by the INAP INblue platform. Many more features and capabilities are on the way, but in the meantime, we hope you enjoy exploring the tool and look forward to hearing your feedback.

      Demo INAP Intelligent Monitoring Today

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      Laura Vietmeyer


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      Three Reasons Why We Built Intelligent Monitoring, Powered by INblue


      This week, we officially launched our premium managed cloud and monitoring service, Intelligent Monitoring. Powered by INAP’s new infrastructure and support platform, INblue, the service is an important milestone for our cloud business and one we expect to set new benchmarks for managed services transparency and support experience consistency.

      You can take a closer look at Intelligent Monitoring and its many great features in the video below or over at our product page. Today, however, I’d like to share some insight into why we developed Intelligent Monitoring, and why we think it will benefit the countless businesses who rely on service providers to enable meaningful IT transformations.

      1. To Retire the Concept of ‘Just Trust Us’ in Managed Hosting  

      We built Intelligent Monitoring because traditional managed hosting is stuck in an innovation rut.

      Automation transformed data center operations. It made networks faster. It made the cloud possible by pushing the limits of scalability. But there’s one item automation hasn’t yet cracked: the disjointed, opaque experience of working with a managed service provider after the infrastructure is online.

      Any managed infrastructure service inherently relies on the concept of “just trust us.” Hand over the keys to your critical infrastructure and hope the provider knows what they’re doing if something goes wrong. What too often results from this is a gauntlet of service-related pain points: reactive and inconsistent troubleshooting of regularly occurring issues, a rotating cast of anonymous technicians, unreliable response times, and the inability to see what is being done to the server or cloud environment and why.

      Intelligent Monitoring acknowledges that “just trust us” is no longer acceptable. The service combines the very best elements of advanced monitoring automation with a proactive, software-defined support experience that values transparency and consistency above all else.

      Here’s how it works. A lightweight and secure agent installed on your servers and VMs tracks virtually every aspect of the environment—hardware, resources, network, application metrics, available patches, open ports, etc.—in real time. If a monitoring threshold is triggered for subscribers of our managed cloud service, INAP technicians will respond to alerts before performance degrading issues arise. Tickets are created proactively, and issues are mitigated using a proprietary Smart Workflow System that assists our experts with finding accurate solutions.

      Better yet, customers will immediately know who on the INAP team is assigned to a task via the event’s unique Action Item page. From this single screen, users can track progress on the open task, communicate directly with the technician and view forensic information associated with the event using logs and data from correlated past issues.

      INblue Launch

      2. To Streamline the Actions That Follow Alerts 

      We built Intelligent Monitoring because an infrastructure management strategy is only as good as the actions that follow alerts.

      While there are plenty of standalone tools available for monitoring, patching and managing remotely hosted environments, they often take a significant amount of time to configure. Certain monitoring programs are limited to read-only outputs. Meaning, admins have to manually remediate identified issues or jump to separate tools to complete the job.

      Intelligent Monitoring and the INblue platform seamlessly integrate with customer server environments, allowing IT pros to not just keep tabs on the health of their infrastructure, but take control of it via a powerful toolkit that includes universal log management, patch automation, service controls, and remote execution and script management. With the INblue platform, users are also able to manage their accounts, provision new services, manage firewalls and reboot servers. By hosting with INAP, organizations will eliminate the need for many third-party tools.

      With Intelligent Monitoring, fully managed cloud customers will enjoy the backing of INAP’s Service First Support team. For the do-it-yourself IT admin, we also offer the Intelligent Monitoring toolkit for a low per-server cost. To compare our Service First and Insight editions, download the product overview guide. At launch, Intelligent Monitoring is optimized for Bare Metal customers. Multicloud functionality and support is on the way in future releases.

      3. To Help IT Pros Make Time for What Matters Most  

      Finally, the most important reason why we built Intelligent Monitoring: IT professionals want to be the centers of innovation at their organizations, but are too weighed down by time-intensive, routine infrastructure tasks to achieve that goal.

      Late last year, we interviewed 500 IT professionals about time spent on infrastructure upkeep. Unsurprisingly, the No. 1 task IT professionals spend too much time on is infrastructure monitoring. Additionally, a majority of respondents (52 percent) say the time it takes their teams to address critical patches and updates leaves their organizations exposed to security risks.

      While maintaining the performance and ensuring the security of infrastructure is critically important, our survey respondents acknowledged that the extent of the effort detracts from the broader mission of their job function. If hypothetically given back 16 hours of their week previously spent monitoring and troubleshooting infrastructure, IT pros said a majority of that time would be dedicated to activities like researching new tech, developing new apps and/or products, skill development and application performance optimization.

      Overall, 77 percent of IT professionals agreed they could “bring more value to my organization if I spent less time on routine tasks like server monitoring and maintenance.”

      We believe that Intelligent Monitoring and INAP Managed Bare Metal are just the vehicles for giving IT the time to make a truly value-added difference. I hope you’ll take a moment to see for yourself.

      Demo INAP Intelligent Monitoring Today

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      Jennifer Curry
      • SVP, Global Cloud Services


      Jennifer Curry is SVP, Global Cloud Services. She is an operational and technology leader with over 17 years of experience in the IT industry, including seven years in the hosting/cloud market. READ MORE



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