There are numerous IT tools available, and installing many tools means not only having a large arsenal of features, but it also increases the risk of experiencing compatibility issues. As well, the more tools, the more time is needed to learn them. It can thus be tempting to consolidate these into fewer tools. And perhaps that’s the right decision.
To know more about what IT professionals think of their tools, and whether it is worth consolidating them, in this year’s survey we asked users about the consolidation of IT tools: the pros and cons of consolidation, and whether in 2024 it is a worthy endeavor or not.
But it doesn’t stop there. Continuing our inquiry into how IT professionals react to changes, we also asked the survey participants how they reacted to some technologies, what they think of them, and how they envisage the future of their roles and tools, with a focus on the monitoring area. In this blog entry, we will present the results of the ‘SysAdmin Day 2024: Consolidating IT tools’ survey.
The bulk of the survey revolved around the consolidation of tools. Questions about how many tools were in use, from how many vendors the tools were sourced, and if there was a need for or perhaps already a plan for consolidating the tools.
Over 80% of the respondents responded that within their companies there are between 1-5 monitoring tools in use. Most commonly, between 3 and 5. These are provided by 1-5 vendors, with an almost equal split of organizations using 1-2 vendors and others using 3-5. Not a lot of tools, then.
Yet the trend is to consolidate them. A majority of IT professionals are of the opinion that in the near future their tools should be consolidated into fewer, and about one quarter of the users are already aware of plans to do so in their companies. Only about 30% of all respondents neither see a need nor have a plan to consolidate their tools. Despite the low number of tools in use, it is evident that there is a need, or at least a desire, to have fewer of them.
The reasons for consolidation were mainly about reducing the maintenance effort for the IT department, and for cost reduction. Neither was a surprising answer, and both go in the direction of reducing budgetary and human costs. Perhaps more surprising is the 36% of IT professionals who want to consolidate tools because they do not use all of them, or the tools are inefficient. Considering the low number of tools in active use, one would hope that they all play a role or are somehow useful, but in about a third of the cases it seems that this is not so. There is room for improvement here.
Taking a step back from monitoring tools, the survey asked which area in general is more relevant, tool-wise, and how much value the tools in use in that area provide.
Virtualization seems to be ubiquitous, with over 90% of all answers considering it relevant to their job. Second were the areas of automation and network/configuration management. All the other tool categories, such as cloud, container orchestration/management, and CI/CD were shown to be less relevant. One may think that cloud tools would be more relevant, but apparently they are not as widespread as it could be believed.
In what was with all probability the most surprising answer from the survey, a large majority of IT professionals do not feel that the tools they use provide optimal value. A remarkably large percentage considers what they use either not optimal or having features which overlap with other tools. There’s much to consolidate here, more than in the area of monitoring tools. It can be of some consolation to think that there are nearly twice as many IT professionals who are perfectly happy with their tools compared to those who consider their tools either totally redundant or completely ineffective. Overall, though, almost no user has been recorded as being fully satisfied with their tools of choice, a degree of dissatisfaction that might have been expected to be high, but not so high.
The future of monitoring
In another important part of this year’s survey, we wanted the opinion of IT professionals on monitoring, specifically whether they believed it would become more relevant, and in what areas. The survey was being held among IT professionals who are interested in monitoring their assets, therefore we expected a well-informed opinion here. The results did not disappoint.
Most IT professionals believe that in the future the monitoring of application performances, logs, and cloud services and assets will become more relevant. Cloud usage may not have been as widespread as imagined, but the monitoring of cloud infrastructures is only going to be more relevant.
On the opposite side of the infrastructure, the monitoring of on-premises assets is seen as remaining of roughly the same importance in the coming years. Most probably, companies that went for a monitoring solution had their monitoring of on-premises assets already covered. A good 40% foresee an increased relevance of on-premises monitoring, but this is in line with all the other monitoring areas, showing a general opinion of how relevant monitoring will be.
A similar trend was seen in the monitoring of end user devices, such as laptops and the like: roughly half believe it will become neither more nor less relevant for these to be monitored. Rather, this is the only area in which IT professionals believe monitoring will be of declining importance: 20% find it will lose relevance. Only one third expect end user monitoring to become more relevant in the future, the lowest percentage of any monitoring area in the survey.
Yet, monitoring any assets will definitely be important, and in most cases even much more important, according to today’s system administrators and IT professionals in general. Cloud or on-premises, monitoring is a critical endeavor that is here to stay.
This is only a part of our findings in the 2024 survey, Consolidating IT Tools. We asked many more questions. In the full whitepaper you can find insights from over 90 IT professionals from 18 countries on how their tool stack has been established, when and how it is modified, and their opinions on a wealth of technologies. We found contrasting views on the migration to the cloud, and we discovered how well technologies such as containerization, automation, network, and configuration management are, or are not, reputed.
All this and more can be found in the full, 20 pages-long, whitepaper. You can download it here.