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Server Tool Management: Examining the Challenges

Agent Management

In today’s era of big data, IT organizations and departments rely heavily on server management solutions to overcome challenges. Built to handle massive workloads, server users need physical, virtual, or cloud environments to view and control server tools on an enterprise level. However, this feat isn’t as easy as it may seem to achieve. With the rising complexities of managing multiple servers in various environments, ensuring compliance with corporate and regulatory policies can be demanding.

THE PROBLEM

CIOs and IT executives spend countless hours ensuring that business applications operate effectively and reliably. To keep the enterprise devoid of any business and legal risks, IT staffs use a variety of solutions. A few of these are listed below:

  • Antivirus
  • Endpoint protection software
  • Auditing server access
  • Enabling big-data analytics
  • Back-up software to safeguard data, etc

EXAMINING THE CURRENT SCENARIO

Lack of Visibility and Control

Servers need specific management tools to work efficiently. While this sounds rather straightforward, IT teams often struggle with maintaining visibility over these tools. This results in challenges as servers across all infrastructures must be carefully examined for faults. Obsolete versions of server tools pose a great risk as they remain unpatched over long periods of time, making switching to a newer management solution hard.

Agents as Culprits

Server management solutions need agents to be installed to stay in constant dialogue with the server owners. This task, however, is time consuming, and often necessitates a reboot, thereby affecting application performance and causing downtime. The situation is a  frustrating one for business owners, as it can take weeks to get a new application or server commissioned. When instantaneous service is the need of the hour, this process is counterproductive. IT teams require time to complete deploying security, ensuring backup, and monitoring other tools, leading to businesses coming to a standstill.

Cloud Complexities

Migrating servers from one environment to another is  a daunting task for IT teams worldwide. Backend systems need reconfiguration to work effectively in new environments, alongside advanced configuration systems that require timely management. For example, IT organizations embark on “lift-and-shift” initiatives to push server workloads to a public cloud space. While this may seem like a cost-effective method, maintaining centralized visibility becomes difficult. To combat this, teams need to constantly re-evaluate their choice of tools and experiment with tool configuration.

IT organizations undertake a plethora of processes to handle server complexity. In today’s mixed environments consisting of physical, virtual, and hybrid cloud, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain control. And so, many enterprises use manual methods to handle server management solutions.

This however is sometimes problematic to carry out. IT admins must collect relevant information by logging into multiple management tool consoles, further causing delay in identifying and fixing glitches in real-time.

CONVENTIONAL PROBLEM-SOLVING METHODS

Custom Scripts

Tracking the state of server management solutions is an essential part of automating the process. IT departments develop custom scripts that collect data of the tool’s state, but this comes with many drawbacks. For these scripts to be effective, they need to be feature-rich and of high-quality. This poses a challenge that lies beyond the capacity of most IT teams, leaving the scripts incomplete and teams frustrated. While a method such as this could be outsourced, the process is an expensive affair, working against the goals of the business at large.

Generic Configuration Management Tools

Alternatives to properly manage server management tools have often been used by many IT organizations. Whether it’s Puppet, Chef, or Microsoft SCCM, these substitutes require extensive training, expertise, and programming skills. Additionally, IT departments don’t have access to tools in real production environments; and tying together agents cannot be done with a generic configuration system.

Outsourcing

Whilst outsourcing such tasks to an offshore team might reduce the burden temporarily, it only saves a portion of the operating cost. The organization will soon have to face the introduction of new costs like training and remote synchronization, hampering agility and high-quality delivery.

Avoidance

To escape the hassle, IT companies often reduce the complexity of managing these server solutions. Although, this creates a significant gap in innovation and severely affects agility. Members of an IT staff may set substandard tools with no agents, or worse, pull back from harnessing the public cloud. Adding more environments increases the complexities of server management, leaving organizations in a fix.

Shadow IT

Developing a shadow IT process became the next go-to solution. With business users directly accessing resources on the cloud, organizations became increasingly susceptible to security and compliance risks.

A NEW APPROACH

To manage server solutions in a well-organized manner, IT organizations must be given complete visibility and control of entire server stacks. And precisely this, is what JetPatch’s Agent Manager makes possible. Allowing you to manage server solutions across all applications, infrastructures, and operating systems, Agent Manager expands centralized control on an enterprise-wide level.

You can learn more about JetPatch Agent Manager and its functionalities here.

In our next article we will be diving deep into how the Agent Manager addresses the challenges we’ve discussed here.

 

Todd Kirkland
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