It might be redundant to say that good system/application health monitoring contributes to system application awareness. However, this article is going to outline some of the reasons how and why, because it is important to recognize them, as better system awareness contributes greatly to overall application effectiveness. Success depends primarily upon awareness. Environment Awareness is the foundation of a sound operations environment.

When we say “Environment Awareness”, (or “EA”) we mean the overall awareness an operation team maintains over their system/application environment. This means knowing the health of the overall system, as well as its individual components, in as close to realtime as possible. We also mean to include the communication of this health status, to the relevant parties, especially in near-failure and failure conditions. Think of EA as a central nervous system of your IT application operation production sustainment environment.

When we say “Good Health Monitoring” we mean that requirements for assessing system and application health have been well defined, and solutions designed, implemented, and functioning in production.

When we say “Application Health Monitoring Spreadsheet”, we mean a spreadsheet used to track application health monitoring requirements. This spreadsheet should first begin by identifying groups of application environments. Track the hostgroups and members in the first tab of this spreadsheet. Then, in subsequent tabs, list the health monitoring requirements for each type of hostgroup, one tab per hostgroup. You may include columns such as “healthcheck name”, “healthcheck description”, “check frequency”, “check states”, “notes”, HTML links to remediation suggestions, etc. Some kind of link to any other asset tracking would also be very useful.

When we say “Regular Auditing”, we mean to suggest that regular auditing, using the “Application Health Monitoring Spreadsheet”, will greatly increase the environment awareness of your organization. Every 6 or 12 months is a good target for scheduling this audit. Just like reconciling a checkbook, the more regularly you do it, the easier it is to do. It will take more effort the first time, but once kept up to date, will be a very valuable resource.

Sometimes the method is more important than the the destination, in the sense that regular auditing of this sort produces environment awareness (EA) that would not be achieved otherwise. By regularly revisiting how application health is assessed, the team who performs the audit refines and continuously improves their internal understanding of how health status is correctly assessed.

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