Why do configuration files matter?
Network devices underpin every modern infrastructure environment with the switches and routers of your environment representing the roads information needs to travel on to reach its intended destination. And if switches and routers are the roads, picture configuration files as the traffic lights, they direct, protect and support the flow of information. Even just a moment of misalignment along these highways and traffic lights will lead to a 17 car pile-up and in the case of IT infrastructure an inevitable P1 outage.
Issues with configuration files (or traffic lights) have been widely identified as a key challenge facing the modern IT organization with a Gartner report revealing 80% of outages are caused by poorly planned configuration changes made by administrators, operations teams, or developers. While 80% of mean time to resolution (MTTR) is spent determining what change was made. These issues are compounded by the increasing complexity of infrastructure environments. So how can teams get ahead of this?
In order to proactively review and eventually prevent these issues companies have looked to a tool specifically designed to give concise and relevant alerting on any changes made to Configuration files. “Speed and complexity are driving the need for effective configuration management.” Again, George Spafford seems to agree, as environments creep into ever more complex territories with more and more technical resources having access to these Config files all with different ideas on how to maximize their environment.
Spafford and Colville’s analysis notes that “business customers are demanding IT to deliver new functionality to production faster; however, IT is unable to comply due to growing complexity and a lack of trustworthy configuration data.” Their recommendations to solve this divide between requirement and reality is to improve visibility into configuration data by “revising configuration processes” and using a dedicated configuration monitoring tool.
Avoid preventable outages with LogicMonitor
LM Config presents an opportunity to act on Spafford and Colville’s recommendation while leveraging the existing scalability, automation, and performance of the LogicMonitor platform.
Users can view and alert on device configurations from within LogicMonitor. In addition to increasing compliance and consolidating tools, putting configuration monitoring and infrastructure monitoring in the same platform allows teams to correlate performance data with changes to device configurations.
iVision and LM Config
iVision offers its customers fully managed “enterprise-class technology infrastructure, applications, and solutions.”
Prior to using LM Config, iVision used a mix of vendor-specific and third-party configuration monitoring tools for networking equipment and web servers. iVision needed a solution that would provide visibility into configuration changes and reduce the time spent on root-cause analysis during a disruption.
Tom Lasswell, iVision’s Director of Engineering and Support Services, explained that in the event of an outage, his team would begin working through a half dozen possible causes. After working through the initial possibilities, they would eventually investigate configuration changes as a potential cause. Tom described how a configuration change “could potentially set us back about 1-2 hours, including time spent tracking down what the change was and then deploying a solution.”
What iVision needed was a scalable solution that would let them alert on config changes to prevent deviation from their established best practices and standards. They turned to LogicMonitor for help.
LogicMonitor infrastructure monitoring, combined with LM Config enables iVision to maintain compliance across customer infrastructure: “For devices that we manage, we have an established set of iVision best practices for configurations. When a customer makes a change in the field, LM Config quickly sends an alert so we can investigate and immediately restore back to iVision standards.”
By utilizing LogicMonitor and LM Config, iVision is able to see their entire environment as a single pane of glass and receive alerts when changes are made, which saves them time and money while averting potential outages. If you are interested in learning more about how LogicMonitor and LM Config can benefit you and your team we would love to connect!