As more companies turn to private clouds, inherent in such a system is the ability to charge users for the resources they use. In some instances, that could be hardware resources, while in others it could be a set of software services, but regardless of what you choose to dole out, if you’re charging for services, you need a way to compile usage statistics, and that’s where monitoring tools could come into play.
The way an internal or private cloud tends to work is that your company sets up a portal or web page where users can go to as a central place for generic IT services. You could for instances set up a LAMP stack or a SharePoint web site complete with all the tools most people are going to need, or you could do what the Defense Information Agency did a couple of years ago, and set up a portal with set of hardware and software resources.
The interesting thing about this approach was that users had to request resources such as x GB RAM and hard drive space and they paid for what they used, for as long as they used it.
This requires a system to track usage, and if you’re looking to nail the network bandwidth hogs in your organization for the purpose of charging them back, this type of monitoring becomes even more critical.
The monitoring tools let you track who’s using what. In most organizations, departments don’t have to pay for the resources they use, and therefore there’s little or no motivation to control such usage. If you create a SharePoint web site for a project and then leave it up when the project ends, no big deal to you, because you’re not paying for it to sit there and use resources.
But if you decide to go this route, your monitoring tools can help you see exactly who is using your services, and one of the nice side effects of making departments pay for resources is they are very likely to take resource usage a lot more seriously.
Instead of leaving those orphaned SharePoint sites hanging out there forever, the department managers and project managers responsible for keeping on budget will be more likely to give up those resources when the project is completed.
It’s a place where monitoring tools, not only give you insight into application performance, but also into network usage and you can use that kind of information for pure business charge-back purposes.
That can be an invaluable use of your monitoring tools, you might not have considered. In a future post, we’ll take a look about how you can use these tools to enforce in-house Service Level Agreements. For now, it’s worth noting that monitoring tools can give you more information than just how well your applications and web sites are performing.