I recently came across a fascinating website, www.Panopta.com, that reports on which online retail sites are down and for how long. Seventy-five retailers’ sites have gone dark since Black Friday, according to this website. The winner – or loser as the case may be – was a major North American company, logging more than 10 hours off the grid. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing it lost millions of dollars in holiday gift buying. To its credit, the site also lists retailer sites that have been up 7/24.

The website belongs to a company that sells infrastructure monitoring. Every minute or so, it checks in on a client’s site to see if it’s up and operating. If not, alerts go out so people can start fixing things. This is symptomatic of what’s wrong in a majority of data centers today. They focus on recovery from failure, not failure prevention. They probably don’t know what’s broken or how to fix it immediately, extending recovery time even more.

Doesn’t it make better sense to monitor and diagnose in real time, anticipate potential failures, and head them off before a crash? Remote monitoring and management should be more than a passive exercise. It should be, and can be, eyes and ears that not only notify but enable pro-active issue remediation without downtime or data loss. After all, we want to make darn sure Aunt Millie gets that strawberry huller, mushroom brush, and melon baller in her Christmas stocking, don’t we?