Today's DevOps teams lack the ability to use data of different systems in a smart way. They don't have advanced, data-science-driven technologies to see what's happening in their stack, to see what changed, to trouble shoot on issues and to understand the relations and dependencies between all the applications and systems in the stack.
All DevOps teams are experiencing the same problem - there is too much data, too many complicated graphs, too many alerts and dashboards from different tools with too few insights. Understanding your operations can be critical for business success. The role of IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) tools is to automatically detect, fix and eventually prevent problems. In this article I will explain what and how ITOA can supercharge your IT Operations teams to stay ahead of the game compared to your competitors.
Different ITOA Technologies
So…what exactly is ITOA? ITOA is software designed to extract, analyze and report data especially for IT operations. It helps to search through the massive amounts of data from different sources to generate proactive insights for DevOps teams that everybody can understand. ITOA isn’t just one thing. It comes in many ways and shapes. I will explain a few different ways of applying ITOA technologies:
- Root cause analysis
With a few thousand or even millions of dependencies, the smallest change in your IT stack can create a domino effect and have a serious impact on the stability of the IT stack. When this happens, finding the root cause of the problem can be a time-consuming process for IT teams. It can take hours or even days before they find out who changed something and what really happened. Applying ITOA technologies allows IT operations teams to fully automate root cause analysis. When problems occur it will immediately show the component(s) which most likely caused the failure. This will reduce the time to find failures and fix problems.
- Anomaly detection
Becoming more proactive in addressing issues is one of the most popular reasons to apply ITOA techniques. The idea behind anomaly detection is that you can spot anomalies as soon as they happen. When spotted, you have the opportunity to take remedial action thereby entirely avoiding an incident. In many cases, there is a lag of 10 minutes between the first anomaly and a business process impacting incident. Applying anomaly detection is the perfect way of preventing future outages.
- Detect patterns
Anomalies are just one thing you can detect when applying ITOA technologies. It also helps to detect patterns. These patterns are not necessarily anomalies, but they can be associated with negative outcomes. Recognizing patterns of past failures will prevent future problems by recognizing them before they effect critical services.
- Health analysis
Knowing the real-time health state of your IT stack is what every IT operations team and manager wants. Applying ITOA technologies gives you the power to store data from different sources and combine this information into a complete IT blueprint including the real time state of all components and business services.
How Does It Help You?
ITOA is the missing link between IT operations and service availibility, but how does it help you with your daily operations? IT Ops are always monitoring, viewing metrics and events, solving problems (which are always caused by others, right? ;-)), and worrying about sizing and costs. With the help of several tools they try to (manually) consolidate all available information to know what’s going on inside the datacenter. This work is very time-consuming and that’s exactly where ITOA can help you.
When applying ITOA technologies, IT operations teams know what’s going on. You’re able to see changes through the stack and detect, prioritize, diagnose and resolve service issues more quickly than ever before. When everything goes haywire, you don’t have to jump from tool to tool to manually correlate data from different sources. With automated root cause analysis it shows directly which component caused the failure. Investigation the problem is no longer needed. Just scroll back in time to see what happened and take direct actions to solve the problem or call the responsible team.
ITOA also brings a sort of relief for teams and their managers. First you relied on a few superman in your team. The superman is the one who knows everything what’s going in the stack. They know each dependency and when something goes wrong they exactly know what to do. This knowledge is critical for your business services. But what if the superman is on vacation? With ITOA every team has access to this knowledge. Now everyone is aware of what’s happening in their IT stack. You don’t any longer have to rely on the superman in your team. Every IT Ops has the same view that even your manager would understand.