Enterprise SharePoint MonitoringIndustry estimates put the cost to companies of IT downtime at over $5,000 per minute, on average. The infamous AWS “typo” outage alone reportedly cost companies in the S&P 500 index an estimated $150 million. And with over 48% of IT organizations reporting one outage in the last three years, it’s clear that modern environments have become too complex for traditional tools and siloed processes to predictably maintain IT resilience.  And these numbers don’t even address the less spectacular, but potentially costlier issues of lost productivity and degraded performance.  It’s no surprise that more and more IT pros are exploring a more robust approach to Enterprise SharePoint Monitoring.

But what is Enterprise SharePoint Monitoring, really?

Like containers, machine learning or blockchain, “monitoring” is one of those catch all words broadly used, but seldomly precisely defined.  Some people use the term to describe building a logging system. Others interpret it simply as “better” alerts.  But true, comprehensive around-the-clock SharePoint monitoring at the enterprise level is much more – and pays for itself in several areas: providing significant time savings, helping SharePoint admins plan resources, optimizing the company network, and avoiding issues before they balloon into big problems.

In this blog series we will consider three different topics regarding Enterprise SharePoint Monitoring:

PART 1:   What kind of Enterprise SharePoint Monitoring should your organization deploy and what are best practices to consider?

PART 2:   Which tool set is best? Proprietary or Open Source? Solar Winds vs. Nagios vs. other new solutions?

PART 3:   How will your team deploy and support that solution?

ENTERPRISE SHAREPOINT MONITORING SERIES PART 1

Enterprise SharePoint Performance MonitoringQuestion #1 – what kind of SharePoint monitoring should you employ at your enterprise?

There are four primary areas enterprises should focus on:  SharePoint Network Performance Monitoring, SharePoint Application Performance Monitoring, SharePoint Server Monitoring, and SharePoint Cloud Monitoring.

SharePoint Enterprise Network Performance Monitoring (SENPM):

Reliable SharePoint enterprise network performance monitoring should not only detect system failures when they occur, but also keep track of long term changes in SharePoint enterprise network performance and usage. Continuous SharePoint network and SharePoint server monitoring enables you to find potential SharePoint problems and resolve them before they become a serious threat to the enterprise.

Mature SharePoint monitoring solutions can leverage hundreds sensor types for common network services (e.g. PING, HTTP, SMTP, POP3, FTP, etc.), allowing you to monitor your entire network in real time.

SENPM also should cover multiple vendors, includes intelligent alerts, network performance baselines and wireless network monitoring and management.

SharePoint Enterprise Application Performance Monitoring (SEAPM):

With SEAPM you can improve enterprise SharePoint application quality at all stages of development, find bugs faster, and monitor SharePoint application deployments and production performance.

Enterprise SharePoint application performance monitoring and management should be employed to find SharePoint bottlenecks and inefficiencies in enterprise SharePoint applications. It can identify the slowest parts of your SharePoint application frameworks and dependencies, such as SQL, MongoDB, Redis, and Elastisearch, and quickly show which enterprise web requests are greatest in volume and time to execute.

Another advantage to SEAPM is that by constantly monitoring your enterprise SharePoint applications and establishing a baseline, you can iterate and learn how to improve your SharePoint code over time with small incremental, trackable changes.

SharePoint Enterprise Server Performance Monitoring (SESPM):

Reliable enterprise SharePoint server performance monitoring should not only detect SharePoint server failures when they occur, but also keep track of long term changes in enterprise SharePoint server farm performance and usage. Continuous SharePoint server monitoring enables you to find potential problems and resolve them before they become a serious threat to the enterprise and impact customers.

Mature SharePoint server monitoring solutions can leverage hundreds sensor types for common server communication protocols (e.g. PING, HTTP, SMTP, POP3, FTP, etc.), allowing you to monitor all your SharePoint servers in real time.  Common SharePoint server platforms monitored in the enterprise include SharePoint Foundation, SharePoint Enterprise Server and SharePoint Online (Office 365).

SESPM also should cover multiple vendors, includes intelligent alerts, SharePoint server performance baselines and management.

SharePoint Enterprise Cloud Performance Monitoring (SECPM)

A recent study by Gartner found that 39% of enterprises operating in the cloud have monitoring solutions in place, but still don’t have 100% visibility.  As you invest in the cloud for greater productivity, intelligence and hybrid capabilities, you need to understand where the enterprise is spending the most money to optimize your costs to get more out of the cloud.

Cloud performance monitoring can alert you about enterprise SharePoint service disruptions before your cloud provider notifies you.  The ability to track SharePoint availability and latency of your enterprise’s cloud providers allows you to hold them to their service and financial SLAs.

It is also critical to see how your enterprise cloud resources are performing by OS or SharePoint application.  Analyze trending to dial enterprise resources up or down for better ROI, avoiding over-subscription and wasted enterprise cloud investment.

Done well, SECPM eliminates blind spots giving you total control of your SharePoint cloud migration.

Question #2 – what are best practices for enterprise SharePoint monitoring?

Employing best practices as part of a more comprehensive monitoring program can obviously help optimize efforts, helping to streamline processes and identify and fix issues much faster.  Here are five network monitoring best practices used by leading enterprise IT organizations today:

TOP FIVE ENTERPRISE SHAREPOINT MONITORING BEST PRACTICES

  1. Establish baselines for SharePoint network activity:

Admins need to be quantify what is “normal” in their networks beyond up/down to allow more precise diagnosis of more subtle SharePoint issues and potential larger risks.  Prior to full implementation of SharePoint monitoring, document network behavior and define mean values for key metrics over a couple of weeks or months.  This will help both distinguish priority parameters and set appropriate threshold values for SharePoint alerts.

By properly defining normal and then setting alerts accordingly, proactive SharePoint troubleshooting and even preventing network downtime is much more feasible.

  1. Create SharePoint escalation processes:

As mundane as it is, a primary reasons network issues become actual network problems is not technical, but people and process based.  Often threshold SharePoint alerts properly triggered get ignored or the right person is not alerted.  With multiple responsible individuals in a large IT organization, companies need a formal policy and clear escalation map, with contact information, for use when a potential SharePoint problem is detected.

The implementation of a well-thought out escalation plan keeps small SharePoint issues from mushrooming into large scale organization-wide problems.

  1. Report at all levels:

Each element in a network contributes to data transfer functions a particular layer, such as cables at the physical layer, IP addresses at the network layer, transport protocols at the transport layer, etc.

When a data connection fails, the interruption can be at any one of the layers or even at several points simultaneously.  Monitoring solutions must support multiple technologies and monitor across layers, as well as different types of devices in the network. When a SharePoint application delivery fails, the monitoring system can alert whether it is a SharePoint server issue, a routing problem, a bandwidth problem, or a hardware malfunction.

  1. Manage enterprise-wide SharePoint configurations:

The majority of SharePoint issues are the result of bad configurations. Even minor configuration errors can lead to SharePoint downtime or loss of data.  Utilizing SharePoint configuration management, when configurations are changed, SharePoint administrators can verify that the changes being made do not break an already working feature. Configuration management can also be used for backing up current SharePoint configurations, streamlining large-scale SharePoint configuration modifications, and preventing unauthorized SharePoint changes.

  1. Implement SharePoint High Availability with failover options:

Often, SharePoint monitoring systems are run on the very network they monitor to make data collection faster and easier.  However, if that network goes down, so does the SharePoint monitoring system.

A better practice is to employ SharePoint High Availability (HA) and avoid that single point of vulnerability, setting up a SharePoint failover system at a remote DR site.  In this configuration, SharePoint monitoring data can be collected by an NMS and then replicated and stored at the remote site. In case of failure at the primary monitoring system, the SharePoint failover system can be brought up (or automatically come up) and provide data needed for troubleshooting.

 Enterprise SharePoint Monitoring Series PART 2:

Once you have developed an overarching Enterprise SharePoint Monitoring strategy, it is time to decide which tools or solutions to employ.  In Part 2 of our monitoring blog series, we will discuss pros and cons of going open source vs. proprietary for SharePoint monitoring software and give some perspective on some of the most popular options, such as SolarWinds, Nagios, and other up-and-coming solutions.

In the meantime, learn more about Dedicated SharePoint Hosting or SharePoint Support Services managed by the SharePoint experts at Fpweb and use your savings to fuel your enterprise digital transformation in 2019.