By Greg Jensen on Jul 15, 2014
It’s unfortunate that IDM monitoring is often times evaluated after the IDM solution is already in place as there are significant benefits that can be overlooked. Three of these compelling reasons are:
1. Up to 10X reduction in cost of issue resolution
It’s a well-known fact that issues are much more expensive to address in a production environment than during testing cycles. Barry Boehm, the famous Computer Scientist, quantified that the cost of finding and fixing a software problem after delivery is often 100 times more expensive than finding it earlier in the cycle. In our experience, the cost is approximately 10X more expensive, but either way, it’s clear that the earlier you find an issue the better.
Active monitoring can be an enormous cost saver due to its early symptom identification capabilities. Finding an issue before it strikes based on early warnings uncovered by active monitoring technologies, and resolving the issue in a development or testing environment can be a huge cost saver. If you’ve ever had to solve a complex performance- or integration-related issue in a production environment, I’m sure you can relate to just how important this can be.
In a large-scale IDM deployment, for example, there can be any number of root causes that might result in a Single Sign On (SSO) failure. The issue may reside at the application layer, the integration layer, the network layer, or the database layer. Without a comprehensive monitoring solution that consolidates the data from each of the system’s components, it could be an onerous effort to sift through the extensive set of logs with the hope (and a prayer) that the issue can be identified. We experienced this exact scenario recently and, thankfully, we had Oracle’s Enterprise Manager in place, which helped us to determine that our Directory replication was failing. Without this monitoring tool, it would have been a much more tedious and costly process to identify and resolve the issue.
The beauty of an active monitoring solution is that it immediately alerts you about the issue and provides sufficient information to initiate quick remedial action. It also provides detailed reports that aid in the understanding of the system performance and stability trends.
2. Most companies achieve ROI break even within 1-2 years
Putting an active monitoring solution in place is primarily a one-time effort and cost, as the ongoing resource needs to support the technology post-deployment are minimal. The million dollar question is whether or not the cost of the technology and the resource needs to set up such a solution is worth it? The short answer is YES. Avoidance of a single production-level issue (as was described above) might actually pay for the entire system by itself. Such IDM monitoring solutions also reduce manual monitoring costs while minimizing system down time, both of which also add up to hard cost benefits. We have often observed that the cost reductions and cost avoidance that result from an active Identity Management monitoring solution pay for the cost of the solution within a 1-2 year period.
3. Identity Management monitoring solutions can be implemented quickly, and in phases
As is the case with most software categories these days, there are a number of options available that can help to achieve the benefits of active IDM solution monitoring. We’ve had a ton of success with Oracle’s Enterprise Manager (OEM) 12c product, Oracle’s integrated enterprise IT management product line. Oracle Enterprise Manager creates business value by leveraging the built-in management capabilities of the Oracle stack for traditional and cloud environments, allowing customers to achieve efficiencies while exponentially increasing service levels. If you’re deploying parts of Oracle’s Identity Management Suite, you’ll want to heavily consider deploying OEM.
Key OEM features include:
• Automated Discovery of Identity Management Components
• Performance and Availability Monitoring
• Service Level Management
• Configuration Management
There are also other licensed and open source monitoring solutions available on the market today. An interesting alternative to check out is Nagios, a viable open source solution for network and application monitoring. Homegrown solutions can also meet many system and network monitoring needs.
Regardless of the technology that is selected, it is recommended, in many cases, to take a phased approach when implementing such a solution. In this way, the processes for ongoing monitoring and addressing potential issues flagged by the monitoring solution can be ironed out while proving out the value and importance of the solution. The solution needs to cover the critical failure points, across database, application, network, machine, and hardware layers. For many Identity Management deployments, database failures are often the culprit of production-level issues. In provisioning solutions, connectivity to target systems need to be monitored closely as the integrations can often times be the failure points. Based on the type of IDM solution being implemented, monitoring should obviously be set up for the more likely failure points during the early phases of the monitoring solution deployment.
Monitoring is an important component to ensure a successful Identity Management solution and greatly helps to improve the health and stability of any IDM platform. To learn more about our best practices gained from leading hundreds of Identity Management implementations, please contact Kunwar Nitesh, an Associate Director in Aurionpro's India-based IDM delivery center, and a true domain and implementation expert across Oracle's Identity and Access Management solutions.