It is easy to get lost in the depths of Marquette Plaza. The lower levels are a maze of nondescript, unpainted walls and barely marked doors. I turned myself around down there a few times when I worked in the NOC. Take a wrong turn on your way to the bathroom and you could end up in the parking garage or in a dimly lit empty corridor, where the quiet squeak of your shoes against the smooth concrete floor is all you hear. A chill may creep up your spine.
Of course, it is designed that way. The building formerly housed a Federal Reserve vault. Now, it houses our flagship data center. Making the underbelly of a building maze-like is in the best interest of anyone guarding treasure. What’s held down in the heart of our labyrinth is 21st century treasure: information. Data fuels the 21st century business and our job is to keep it safe and operational.
"Zenoss is exhaustive. It can work with nearly every operating system and virtualization platform."
The way that we maintain the safety and security of our Client’s data is many layered (and SOC 3 certified). But behind our physical security measures, at the heart of our Enterprise Monitoring service, is an all-encompassing monitoring tool—Zenoss. We operate a multi-tenant Zenoss environment, housing several enterprise Clients, capable of monitoring everything. Well, every technology a company uses at least. We’re not monitoring your heartrate. Yet. But we can monitor servers, storage, network devices, virtual machines, hypervisors, databases, operating systems, websites, applications, synthetic checks and everything therein (uptime, CPU utilization, SNMP traps, etc.).
Zenoss is exhaustive. It can work with nearly every operating system and virtualization platform. Zenoss gives us the ability to accurately track what is happening with our Client’s infrastructure in real time and quickly react to dips in service or outages. But, Zenoss also accounts for false flags to suppress symptomatic events during Layer 3 network failures to eliminate noise and isolate the issue to identify the root cause of failures.
Without monitoring, a business is susceptible to all manner of failure, and no one would notice until it was too late. Monitoring tells us when, why, and how a failure occurred. That way we can quickly fix the issue and learn from the experience to improve the technology moving forward. And along those lines, Zenoss monitoring is still dependent on human interaction. That’s where our Network Operations Center Technicians come in. They are the individuals that occupy and attend to the data center.
Zenoss alerts Technicians via email when there is an issue. There is also a live display in the NOC that shows all current Zenoss alerts. And, for several of our Clients that choose to, we place monitors in the NOC dedicated purely to their environment. Should a critical priority event occur, an actual siren and red light blare at the NOC Technicians—drawing attention to their new priority. So, say one of our Clients has a server that houses a mission critical database and that server goes offline and is unresponsive. The alarm will scream, the light will glow and the NOC will spring into action. First the Technicians shut off the alarm, that thing is loud. Then, they get to work—acknowledging the issue, triaging, troubleshooting, and, when possible, resolving the issue. If the NOC Technician is unable to resolve the issue they will escalate the ticket to either an Atomic Data Engineer (on call 24x7) or the Client’s resources, depending on the Client’s requirements. Then, of course, we resolve the issue.
Currently, several Enterprise Clients depend on our Zenoss monitoring services. And for them, we monitor just about everything stated earlier—servers, virtual environments, applications, and synthetic checks, and more. Hundreds of devices, monitored in real time, 24x7x365, backed by 24x7 support. What we offer these Clients is a comprehensive, managed solution that goes beyond monitoring.
"Zenoss is a highly customizable, open source tool. It affords our Engineers the ability to meet all the Client’s needs. And monitor everything."
With our Enterprise Monitoring services, we work with the Clients to create an Incident Management Process and diagram for our resources to follow. This will guide our Technicians and Engineers when Zenoss incidents occur. We also guarantee our services with SLAs. We follow these Service Level Agreements related to response times of incidents based on priority—priorities defined during the incident management discussions. These priorities are determined by Atomic Data and the Client based on the tiers of devices the Client needs monitored, tiered 1-3. Monitored devices that are critical to business operations would be considered Tier 1. Tier 3 would be something that the business could run without for some time. Tiering and incident severity determine priority—anything listed as a Priority 1 or 2 in Zenoss will sound the alarm in the NOC. These priorities are to be addressed quickly and resolved efficiently, as soon as possible.
After determining that device information with the Client, Atomic Data can integrate the Client’s preferred ITSM with Zenoss in order to create tickets directly from Zenoss. We also have Clients that rely on our own ITSM’s integration with Zenoss, which makes for an incredibly smooth workflow. But, of course, this is another customizable option within the Enterprise Monitoring package.
After all the Client’s devices are loaded into Zenoss, and we turn monitoring on, Atomic Data Engineers fine-tune Zenoss to match device specifications to reduce “noise”, or the amount of notifications that are unnecessary. For instance, a 200 TB drive will trigger a critical alert at 99% capacity with default monitoring settings, but there are still 2 TB of drive space left and this may not actually be considered “critical”. An Engineer will customize the alerting for that specific drive to match what the Client considers critical.
To ensure Client satisfaction, our Account and Project managers will meet with the Client at regular intervals in order to review incidents and areas for improvement. This could mean improvements in the Client’s infrastructure or the way we handle their monitoring. It is a collaborative effort designed to produce the highest quality service. To that end, Zenoss is a highly customizable, open source tool. It affords our Engineers the ability to meet all the Client’s needs. And monitor everything.
Sleep easier at night—let Atomic Data watch over your infrastructure. Click the link below to learn more about how we can keep your business safe.