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When it all works well, nobody notices...

I used to work for an IT department at a well-known UK-based global insurance company.control room monering a network

One of the most important pieces of software was our network management system or NMS. This system monitored the network and alerted us when something went wrong. But because the network was designed to be fault tolerant, the users (usually!) did not notice when part of the system failed. So, the senior managers at the company were always bemoaning the cost of the network management system and any time we wanted to implement improvements the reaction was “but nothing ever goes wrong so why are we paying all this money for software that draws pretty graphs but adds nothing to the bottom line?” You can see where this is going can’t you?

Our network had at least two separate connections into each major branch location. If one of these failed, service to the location was unaffected.

Imagine if one of those lines failed and nobody knew about it. Service would continue pretty much as normal. But at some point in the future you can bet the other line would also fail. Then, chaos! The business would be severely impacted for the hours or even days required to locate and fix the fault. That’s where monitoring systems prove their worth. When one element fails, the support team can schedule a repair, the service remains unaffected and, importantly, prepared for the next single failure. Same goes for upgrades. One element can be taken out of service, upgraded, tested, and then reactivated and in this manner the whole network gets upgraded with no loss of service.

Can you say the same about your IT systems?

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