Monthly Archives: December 2013

Network and Server Monitoring Using Open Source Tools

I am a fan of open source tools. The Internet, as we know it today, will not exist if not for the open source movement. We owe this to the countless architects and developers who dedicated their time and effort to write open source software.

Enterprise IT departments can also take advantage of open source software. Numerous companies have been using them for years. One particular area where they can be used is network and server monitoring.

There are a lot of open source network monitoring tools out there. Leading the pack are Nagios, Zabbix, and Cacti. My favorite tool though is OpenNMS. I particularly like it because it is very easy to setup and administer. It can automatically discover your nodes on the network. There were very few tweaks when I first set it up. It provides simple event and notification via email or pager. In addition, its web-based management interface interface is very easy to use.

I have been using OpenNMS for several years now and it has been running rock solid. I definitely recommend OpenNMS for IT departments who do not want to pay a hefty price to monitor their network and servers.

End User Experience on Enterprise IT

A lot of focus on adapting BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) has been exerted by enterprise IT departments due to the popularity of mobile phones and tablets, and their cost savings to companies. However, I believe equal focus should be given to enterprise applications to enhance end user experience. Numerous enterprise applications are still antiquated, difficult to use, and not even suitable for mobile devices.

One of the goals of enterprise IT is to provide excellent user experience, thus increasing end user productivity. If the hardware devices are state of the art mobile phones and tablets but the apps are very hard to use, then the purpose is defeated.

For instance, searching for information inside the enterprise is still very difficult. Information is scattered across different file servers and applications. Very few companies have Google-like enterprise search capability. People are frustrated because it’s easier to search just about anything on the Internet, but it’s very difficult to find simple information inside the enterprise.

Enterprise applications should be like consumer IT applications, such as those provided by innovative companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. These web-based or mobile-based enterprise apps should be very user friendly and intuitive. In addition, training should not be required to use these enterprise apps. Google does not ask us to train whenever they deploy a new consumer app.

Enterprise apps should also be secure, just like those provided by online banking sites. Data should be encrypted and users properly authenticated.

End users should have the same user experience when at home doing online shopping, banking, and searching, and when at work using enterprise applications.