The Best System Monitoring Software for Incident Response

Kelsey Loughman May 10, 2019

Monitoring & Alerting On-Call
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Effective monitoring of your system is only the first step in a proactive system of incident detection, response and remediation. But, the faster you can surface the right metrics and alert context to the right person, the easier it will be to fix an issue. So, when you embark on your journey into deeper monitoring and alerting, you need to keep real-time collaborative incident response in mind.

Because making on-call suck less and collaborative incident response is what we do, we decided to put this guide together to help you out when looking at monitoring solutions catered to rapid incident response.

Seamless monitoring software for on-call that doesn’t suck

At a high-level, ‘monitoring’ is a vague term. Monitoring can and should be applied to application performance, user experiences, network or server monitoring and even synthetic monitoring for proactively testing the resilience of your services. Because every team is built upon different services and infrastructure, no monitoring software is right for every team. So, a combination of tools is common for teams who are really digging into the performance of a system in its entirety.

When coming up with this list, we thought about system monitoring software that serves a number of different purposes – helping you compile a holistic set of tools for monitoring your entire stack. Also, we had to ensure these monitoring tools could integrate seamlessly with alerting and incident management software. This last part is important because your monitoring data is useless without proactive alerting and an actionable incident response plan.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list the best system monitoring software for incident response:

Catchpoint

In a recent webinar with Catchpoint, Death to Downtime, one of our customers, NS1, joined in to explain how they actively respond to incidents using Catchpoint and VictorOps. Catchpoint offers monitoring software that extends across multiple platforms and use cases. As a very robust solution for user-experience monitoring and synthetic monitoring, Catchpoint allows you to track how users are truly interacting with your services.

Additionally, Catchpoint’s synthetic monitoring capabilities make it possible to proactively test the way your system will respond to pressure. Catchpoint’s software covers nearly everything – API, CDN, DNS, network and end-user experience monitoring. An end-to-end solution like Catchpoint is ideal for any IT, DevOps or SRE team looking for deep visibility into system health – constantly using the data to improve the reliability services.

New Relic

New Relic is a common high performer in the application performance monitoring (APM) space. No matter how you’ve built or hosted your application, New Relic supports everything from frontend to backend as well as on-premises, cloud or hybrid infrastructure. New Relic’s availability monitoring works well with their detailed application performance metrics to give you a full picture of your service’s performance.

With New Relic and VictorOps, you can seamlessly transfer alerts into an integrated incident management tool and proactively address performance issues. While resilient systems require teams who can quickly respond to outages and full-fledged incidents, it’s also imperative that teams quickly address performance issues. With an APM tool like New Relic, you can ensure more positive customer experiences – setting you apart from the competition.

Splunk

Splunk is a leader in the log analytics and event management space. Splunk has numerous offerings which allow you to monitor nearly any type of service or infrastructure – containers, microservices or large, monolithic architecture. Accompanying VictorOps with Splunk ITSI allows you to leverage detailed log data, monitoring metrics and predictive analytics to quickly detect incidents – sometimes before they even happen.

Many teams even use Splunk ITSI to ingest data from other monitoring tools in order to leverage the power of machine learning and predictive analytics – helping teams get more out of their entire monitoring toolchain. From software delivery to incident response, Splunk allows DevOps and IT teams to quickly search through structured and unstructured data, create actionable dashboards and leverage insights for better business decisions.

The Incident Management Guide

Zabbix

Zabbix markets themselves as “the enterprise-class open source network monitoring tool.” But, in addition to monitoring basic network monitoring metrics like latency, TCP, and ETL, Zabbix allows teams to track further performance KPIs. Zabbix can help you monitor nearly everything in your stack – applications, networks, servers and cloud-based services.

Comprehensive monitoring software allows highly collaborative DevOps teams to see everything they need in one single place. With the majority of your metrics in one place, DevOps and IT teams can easily set up alerts and on-call schedules in an incident response tool like VictorOps. With VictorOps and Zabbix, when an incident strikes, your team can collaborate and find all the alert context they need in one place.

Prometheus

Prometheus is an open-source time-series database and monitoring tool. In real-time, you can continuously monitor time-series data and send alerts to the on-call team for nearly any type of service. Prometheus’s platform is commonly used by teams to monitor microservices and containerized applications in Kubernetes or Docker Swarm. With powerful capabilities for data storage, queries and visualization – Prometheus is a popular choice among efficient DevOps, SRE and IT teams.

Prometheus is simple to set up and highly customizable. You can easily integrate Prometheus with VictorOps to prioritize alerts that come in, route them to the right person or team, and reduce incident response and resolution time. By tracking and alerting on time-series data, teams can identify incidents faster and begin the remediation process nearly immediately.

Pingdom

Last but not least is Pingdom. Pingdom is a staple for any DevOps or IT team looking to track website performance and availability in detail. Pingdom’s monitoring is geared toward frontend teams with software for uptime, transaction, real-user and page speed monitoring. At a glance, Pingdom allows you to easily assess your services health and determine the impact to customers.

Together, Pingdom and VictorOps create a collaborative solution for identifying and alerting on website performance or availability issues. Then, with the Pingdom details surfaced immediately to the proper on-call responder, the team can communicate in real-time and quickly resolve the incident. Mitigating any customer impact due to incidents is every team’s priority number one – and Pingdom offers a solid solution for reducing negative customer experiences in your applications and services.

Incident response relies on contextual alerting and integrated monitoring software

One common thread you’ll see in our list of the best system monitoring software for incident response is the importance of integrated monitoring, alerting and communication tools. Resilient systems depend on a seamless transition from data collection to actionable insights to incident response. The more alert context you can serve to an on-call team immediately, the faster they’ll be able to identify a solution for the incident.

System monitoring software won’t solve your problems alone though. Effective monitoring and alerting depends on the continuous refinement of software delivery and incident management processes. And, as teams continue to build more complex services, one single monitoring tool likely can’t serve all of your needs. But, creating a single-source-of-truth for alerting and collaboration can improve visibility across DevOps and IT teams – leading to more reliable systems.

Leverage the VictorOps rules engine to intelligently route alerts from all of your monitoring tools to the right person at the right time – reducing alert noise and making on-call suck less. Sign up for a 14-day free trial or request a personalized demo to see how easy it is to integrate your monitoring tools and become the victor of on-call.

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