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Why Event Management Matters

Sep 3, 2009

George Spafford

Event Management correlation systems can take inputs from monitoring tools, databases and so on, apply business rules to identify events, and then programmatically trigger next steps. These events and their detection criteria and responses need to be formally documented and implemented during development. Thus, when the service is in testing, both initially and ongoing, the monitoring services can be tested according to defined regimens as well to validate there are no errors. A feedback loop then allows development, testing and operations to sit down and review the results of event testing to make sure that the monitoring systems and event systems work as expected.

The event documentation that is generated is just as vital as the development work relating to the monitoring and event tools. This documentation and the ability to review and discuss it leads to a deeper understanding of each service including causal relationships and efficient responses. This knowledge can be integrated with Knowledge Management, Incident Management, Problem Management, and other process areas to train employees, determine root cause, establish work-arounds, and ultimately help create better services through continuous process improvement.

Improving MTTR

Another benefit of effective Event Management to consider is improved availability as mean time to repair (MTTR) is reduced, often dramatically. This is because a large component of MTTR is simply detecting that an event has taken place. Then, when the event is detected, it must be diagnosed, repaired and the service recovered back into production. All these facets of an incident can be reduced through improved event automation and better training and preparedness of staff.

Another benefit is a reduction in unplanned work through improved effectiveness and efficiency of the Incident and Problem Management processes. The monitoring tools are now set up correctly and events can be identified and addressed rapidly (sometimes before users even notice). This reduces the firefighting where IT gets pulled off projects to establish why some IT service has failed. In other words, incidents can be addressed while still small and manageable versus ad hoc “all hands on deck” emergencies.

For groups that haven’t yet learned about Event Management, now is a good time to start. It offers very real benefits and quite often existing technology investments in monitoring can be leveraged. While an event correlation system is very beneficial, the process can still begin without it as the improved planning and communication about the overall services, how to monitor them, and how to respond can still yield very real benefits.

George Spafford is a principal consultant with Pepperweed Consulting and a long-time IT professional. George's professional focus is on compliance, security, management and overall process improvement.