March 12th, 2014 - by Andrew Sytsko
Ok, so we started our own blog. The main purpose of it will be to post various ‘how to’ articles to answer typical questions and address common issues our customers face. This will be mixed in with articles about some cool technologies, Anturis news, and some topics just for fun.
As for the first post, we’re starting with something serious; a short overview of Anturis: who we are and what we do :)
How it all began
We started the company 3 years ago with the mission to make IT management simpler. This idea is clearly not unique to us: there were and are many great companies that undertook the same challenge. Some succeeded and introduced some substantial changes to IT management, making tiresome tasks easy and automated; saving people time and thus making their job more efficient. So then why another company with such a mission?
IT is the single most rapidly changing industry, with new technologies being introduced every several years. Cloud computing, mobile devices, and ubiquitous internet access are just a few examples of revolutionary ways we use IT. Another important trend is that IT is becoming ever more user friendly. This is technology's take on a ‘human face’. More and more people are able to interact with complex modern technologies without even recognizing the complexity of it, as it hides behind convenient and well thought out user interfaces. This leads to IT adoption by ever greater numbers of people.
As such people are now able to solve more problems more effectively - without needing to have the corresponding technical knowledge. So, they can go ahead and create a profile in a social network, make a website, or start an online shop. Once you take into account all these landmark and fast-paced trends in IT, you can see how there is room for innovation in IT management: new technologies, new environments, new people, and new mindsets constantly create a need for new IT management tools.
At Anturis we decided to begin with the core component of IT management – IT monitoring. Clearly if you aren’t sure what’s going on how can you manage anything? There are many different monitoring tools out there and one of the most frequent questions we answer is: ‘how are you different from other monitoring services?’ Below are the core values of our product strategy.
- Cloud. Today, probably no one would argue that in the SMB world cloud is the future. SMB’s are readily outsourcing non-core business processes to third parties. They have more or less similar needs. And they are certainly not keen on undertaking all the related activities of installing and maintaining additional software (and, moreover, the necessary hardware). Therein lies the reason for the explosion of cloud services during last 7 years. Anturis is a cloud service too - with two main benefits our customers. First, there’s no need to allocate a separate server for processing and storing collected data. Second, they can avoid distracting their staff, by asking them to support yet one more IT system in-house.
With cloud monitoring it is easier to fulfil the main monitoring principles, which state that: (1) you can only trust your monitoring if you monitor the monitoring system too, and (b) monitoring should be as much decoupled and independent from the monitored infrastructure as possible. So, from the very beginning we decided that we do not want our customers to have the extra burden of installing and maintaining our monitoring solution.
- Simplicity. This is something which clearly differentiates us from tools like Nagios and Zabbix. We decided not to offer yet-another DIY constructor set. Instead we ‘did it ourselves’ as much as possible. There are two key things going on here: automated monitoring configuration and diagnostics/troubleshooting assistance. While each IT environment very much looks like its own zoo, there are many similarities and common components, such as Linux OS, Apache web server, MySQL database (or Windows + IIS + MS SQL). This software is very widespread and commonly used, which allows us to pre-build corresponding monitoring capabilities and to set it up automatically. While being simple to use Anturis is nevertheless easily extendable, with the capacity to integrate custom metrics.
- Intelligence inside. It is not unusual that some problem occurs outside working hours, when there is nobody in place to immediately troubleshoot. When a system administrator wakes up in the morning she sees the consequences of a night problem, but at this point she has no way to learn about the possible reason or context for the issue. Time passed and there may be no signs of night issues as yet. We understand the intelligence of a monitoring system is that it is able to automatically perform certain extra steps to collect necessary diagnostic information so as to readily facilitate the post mortem analysis.
Our customer base is quite diverse - ranging from medium sized hosters to small web site owners. But the more we communicated with them, the more we noticed a kind of similarity or a common trait among Anturis’ users: they all value their time high. Clearly, if we think about it, time is more important than money as it cannot be reimbursed. So, our customers prefer something that works out of the box, as opposed to more complicated systems with abundant opportunities for script-based configuration or fine-tuning via intricate GUI. Of course, such an attitude is neither good nor bad, it is just as it is. Although, based on our customers’ experience, it is more appropriate for SMBs, in which there may be just a few people performing all system administration and operation control activities.
Our customers have helped us to build the product they need - by pointing out the main ‘pain points’ in their current work processes, and suggesting improvements and new features. We try to engage our customers as much as possible in our product roadmap formulation. As such, we are always looking to build on more of our customers’ needs and ideas. So let’s make IT management simple together - and let the force be with us!
Chief Product Officer