In almost any organisation, IT forms the heart of the company. Without the necessary IT present in an organisation, it becomes increasingly difficult to operate on a competitive edge. Having the IT in place is one thing, ensuring that the IT remains operational, is stable and doing what it was designed for in constantly changing circumstances is a different ball-game. In a fast-changing world it is simply not acceptable anymore to wait until a customer complains that something is wrong. Ideally, problems should be solved before they occur. With the availability of big data analytics, this has become a lot easier to achieve.
Big data for the data centre and your IT network is new and Gartner defined this sector as “IT Operations Analytics.” They expect this market to be mainstream in 2018, making up 10% of the $20+ billion IT Operations Management software category. Gartner predicts that in the coming years, Global 2000 companies will deploy IT Operations Analytics Platforms as a central component of their architecture for monitoring critical applications and IT services. With the large volume of data that is, and will be increasingly, created by IT systems, these platforms will help you make sense out of that data and create a better and more reliable IT environment for your organisation.
In their 2013 Hype Cycle report on IT Operations Management, Gartner placed “IT Operations Analytics” as an innovation trigger that requires another 2-5 years to reach the plateau of productivity. IT Operations Analytics can enable smarter and faster decision-making in a dynamic IT environment with the objective to deliver better services to your customers. For example, an international bank turned to big data to optimize their Internet banking portal. With millions of Internet banking transaction per day it is important to ensure uptime and a high quality end user experience. So the bank used analytics to prevent its portal from going down in combination with delivering premium response times to their top banking clients. This is just one of the strategic uses of how IT Operations Analytics can help create the software technology to build a business and, quite possibly, achieve a competitive advantage.
So, let’s take a closer look what IT Operation Analytics exactly is and how it can benefit your organisation. Measuring the performance of your IT infrastructure has been around for many years already, but most of the time these tools were only capable of measuring what has happened and they were not designed to deal with the complexity and dynamics of modern IT technologies. The tools in the market in the past focused on monitoring and helping with devices that made up an infrastructure environment. It is not that these tools are not capable of dealing with the vast amount of data, after all, most of IT network data is structured data, but they have been challenged, not being able to adequately provide DevOps with the insights, the analysis, they need to proactively manage IT networks. The tools nowadays on the market focus more aggressively at the application layer, adding another source of high volumes of data and metrics that can be analysed.
IT Operation Analytics address three different areas to solve several critical use cases. First of all, they focus on clarifying the complexity that nowadays appears in data centres or IT networks. It is quite common that many different applications with thousands of different parameters have to work together to deliver the optimal experience for the customers. Only one misconfigured parameter can have a large impact on your IT operations. In addition, we live in a constantly changing world, and that also counts for IT operations. Changes are made constantly at any level within different applications or the infrastructure, thereby impacting your business. Finally, applications or datasets typically run in siloed environments (whether physical or virtual) and obtaining a broad and deep overview of the IT environment becomes increasingly more difficult. An integrated IT Operations Analytics Platform can deliver this overview in real-time.
There are many different use cases how IT Operations Analytics can optimize your IT environment to create a competitive advantage. Let’s take a look at some of the most important use cases:
- Real-time monitoring of your complete IT environment, including all the different relations between the applications and hardware in your network. Obtaining a complete and real-time overview of your complex and dynamic IT environment can help you optimize and improve the user application experience;
- Root cause analysis: IT Operations Analytics allows you to find in real-time detailed and specific, previously unknown root causes of problems that occurred in your IT network or are about to occur in the (near) future. When big data analytics are put to work, time-consuming problem solving can be done automatically; in the background and in real-time and even indicate when something is about to go wrong. Today, this type of work still requires pretty rare, highly talented, and very expensive people who have the unique ability to analyse all this data and make sense of it;
- Impact assessment and problem ranking; when there are different causes to a problem, IT Operations Analytics can help you determine what problem to fix first to have a minimal disruption or impact on service delivery, end user experience. This will help your DevOps to solve the problems in the most time-efficient and cost-effective manner;
- Resolving IT problems; determining what the cause of a problem is one thing, but of course the problem should also be resolved. IT Operations Analytics can help to determine how to solve a problem that occurred or how to prevent a problem that is about to happen. Which application, what server and which DevOps should be involved to fix the problem at hand can be indicated by an IT Operations Analytics Platform;
- Improved agile IT development; changes are made increasingly faster within IT environments because of the complex outside world. Constantly manually updating the monitoring systems when a change is made would require far too many personnel and would be rather expensive. IT operation analytics is capable of collecting the data in real-time and as such effectively mapping the system on the go, incorporating changes in real-time.
For many organisations, data has become a very valuable asset and perhaps even the lifeblood of your IT department. Monitoring your IT network will ensure that your overall systems remain healthy and your business operational. It will also help to improve your IT systems and to become more competitive. With IT Operations Analytics understanding your IT network becomes a lot easier. From defining what has happened on your IT network, to what is currently happening on your IT network, to understanding why that is happening and finally predicting what is about to happen and what actions are required to prevent that from happening is what IT Operations Analytics has to offer you. If you correctly implement and successfully use an IT Operations Analytics Platform, it can help you to improve your service towards your customers (whether B2B or B2C), resulting in a competitive advantage that helps you outperform your peers.
This blog entry has been sponsored by Appnomic Systems, Inc. as part of their industry education initiative.