What is IT Infrastructure Monitoring? Is It Different from Network Monitoring?

Computer marketers and analysts never saw a term they didn’t want to change. Not leaving well enough alone with the tried and true "network monitoring," more folks have taken to using the term "infrastructure monitoring." That term is so general as to have little meaning. Afterall, what infrastructure are we talking about? Bridges, roads, servers and NICs? Very confusing. 

IT infrastructure monitoring, or ITIM, is a category that includes network monitoring solutions, but also has broader connotations. Here’s how Gartner defines IT Infrastructure Monitoring Tools. “ITIM tools capture the health and resource utilization of IT infrastructure components no matter where they reside (for example, in a data center, at the edge, infrastructure as a service [IaaS] or platform as a service [PaaS] in the cloud),” Gartner explained. “This enables I&O leaders to monitor and collate the availability and resource utilization metrics of physical and virtual entities, including servers, containers, network devices, database instances, hypervisors and storage. Notably, these tools collect data in real time and perform historical data analysis or trending of the elements they monitor.” 

Gartner is really talking about monitoring distributed systems, something top network monitoring solutions such as WhatsUp Gold excel at. In fact, Gartner considers WhatsUp Gold to be an IT infrastructure monitoring solution. Gartner does distinguish ITIM from Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD), which is what Progress Flowmon does. Whereas ITIM focuses on the status of systems and devices, NPMD looks at traffic flow health using network-device-generated traffic data, raw network packets and network-device-generated health metrics and events.

TechTarget is a go-to source for explaining what technology terms mean, so let’s see their take on IT infrastructure monitoring. “IT infrastructure monitoring is a foundation-level process that collects and reviews metrics concerning the IT environment's hardware and low-level software. Infrastructure monitoring provides a benchmark for ideal physical systems operation, therefore easing the process to fine-tune and reduce downtime, and enabling IT teams to detect outages, such as an overheated server,” the company argued in its The Definitive Guide to Enterprise IT Monitoring. “Enterprise IT monitoring uses software-based instrumentation, such as APIs and agents, to gather operational information about hardware and software across the enterprise infrastructure. Such information can include basic device or application and device health checks, as well as far more detailed metrics that track resource availability and utilization, system and network response times, error rates and alarms, and other data.”  

What One WhatsUp Gold Customer Told Gartner  

Gartner Peer Insights allows actual customers to post reviews of products, in this case IT Infrastructure Monitoring Tools, where WhatsUp Gold is a key player. 

A review posted in early 2022 shows the breadth of the monitoring solution. “WhatsUp Gold is an excellent system out there that intelligently monitors bandwidth, network devices, performance, cloud services, and keeps track of all network traffic. WhatsUp Gold delivers basic and advanced monitoring and management capabilities for IT settings, allowing us to save time while keeping our IT infrastructure working smoothly. WhatsUp Gold definitely shines when it comes to alarms. They're all entirely configurable, and once set up to our liking, they run like a charm,” the reviewer wrote.  

Infrastructure Monitoring Case Study: CROUS Paris 

CROUS Paris offers both education and housing services to over 300,000 students in France. To support a high volume of traffic and activity, Mr. Yu, Information Systems Director at CROUS Paris, wanted an infrastructure monitoring solution to keep watch over 1,000 IT devices. 

Without infrastructure monitoring, Yu’s team spent countless hours diagnosing servers and other bits of network gear to discover the root causes of network problems and performance issues. The IT team, rather than being proactive, was bogged down in all this reactive work. 

In the end, Yu chose WhatsUp Gold and deployed the solution across CROUS’ IT infrastructure in two short weeks. “WhatsUp Gold lets us solve any given problem quickly and easily. We no longer need to connect to every server to locate a malfunction. This helps prevent bottlenecks and minimize impact,” Yu said. 

Learn more by reading the complete How Infrastructure Monitoring Helps French IT Team Save Time case study. 

Read the Case Study

WhatsUp Gold Takes Infrastructure Monitoring Prize 

Product review and download website PC & Network Downloads tackled infrastructure monitoring, offering advice on what to look for and buy. “As a network increases in size and importance, so does the need to ensure the network runs (and keeps running) effectively. To achieve this, it is necessary not only to know what devices make up the IT infrastructure (inventory) but also to keep an eye on those devices in terms of availability, health status, and performance,” argued PC & Network Downloads in its Best Infrastructure Monitoring Tools and Software report.  “While it is possible to manually monitor IT infrastructure, especially on a small network, it can become quite time-consuming and even outrightly impossible in most cases. Because of this, several tools are available to help with IT infrastructure monitoring and these tools will include features like: 

  • A way to add devices/services to be monitored (e.g., text-based, CLI, GUI). 
  • Availability, performance monitoring, and/or health status.
  • Alerting to notify the appropriate persons when something goes wrong (or is about to go wrong)—SMS, email, etc. 
  • Reporting to provide details about what has happened/is happening.

PC & Network Downloads chose WhatsUp Gold as one of the best Infrastructure Monitoring tools in a recent report. 

In particular, the website lauded WhatsUp Gold and how it: 

  • “Uses simple visualizations to help provide at-a-glance insights ."
  • "Supports modular pricing, allowing companies to pay only for features they intend to use." 
  • "Can monitor LANs, WANs, and cloud-based applications such as container environments.” 

Don’t Get Confused 

Some use the term "infrastructure monitoring" or "IT infrastructure monitoring" as a synonym for "network monitoring." Some even call "network monitoring" "network infrastructure monitoring" as if the network is separate from the infrastructure upon which it is based. And don’t forget what we said above about "network performance monitoring and diagnostics" (NPMD), which instead refers to traffic analysis tools like Flowmon. Go figure. 

In the end, the only thing that matters is what you feel comfortable calling something—and everyone else understands what you mean!


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