Blog Post

Starting a Digital Revolution with Total IT Operational Visibility

    
June 20, 2016 Author: Eric Sammer

CheckAs a technologist, I enjoy solving hard problems. Especially problems that matter to customers and end users. I get great personal satisfaction knowing that what I am doing helps other people be more successful at what they do. And it’s not just me; having worked with literally hundreds of fellow technologists, I’ve seen this same customer-focused passion repeated again and again.

At Rocana, our end users aren’t just traditional IT teams, they’re technologists. When I meet with customers and prospects, they reaffirm what I already know from my personal experience: while they love working with technology, they also want to have a meaningful impact on their business and end customers. Not just by ‘keeping the lights on’ IT-wise, but also by contributing to the business strategically.

There are many examples where technologists have enabled their organizations to do this: Amazon, Uber, Apple, Square to name a few. Aggressive application of the latest technologies has allowed these companies to challenge all the assumptions and redefine entire markets. At these companies, technologists don’t just keep the lights on, they lead the business and are the competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, many enterprises that came of age in the brick-and-mortar era still treat IT as a cost to be minimized. When I meet with CIOs and technologists at those organizations, many realize the urgent need for change. What they’re not sure about is the best way to get stakeholders from other lines of business to support their bid for a much needed digital revolution. Following is the advice I give them.

cube-total-visibility-large.png

Start by maximizing the visibility you have over your existing IT operations and, just as importantly, tie that visibility to core business metrics. For example, with your online transaction systems, focus on getting your monitoring to the point where you always know exactly when and why a prospective customer has a bad experience that causes them to abandon their shopping cart, regardless of what underlying technology silo the problem originated in. Stakeholders across your business will take notice when you can produce detailed operational data that can be tied directly to revenue, expenses, and other metrics that they care about.

When it comes to maximizing your visibility, realize that you can’t achieve that state with your existing legacy monitoring tools. That’s because those tools were designed to give you very limited visibility into a very specific technology silo. Like flashlights in a dark room, they can shine light on certain focal points, but won’t let you see everything at once. For that you need to turn on the lightswitch. Similarly, to achieve total operational visibility across all technology silos and teams in your environment, you need a new approach that was designed for that purpose.

Before discussing that approach, let me first state what I believe to be the four critical prerequisites or dimensions of total operational visibility based on my experience. Refer to the above diagram for a visual representation of these dimensions:

  1. You can capture operational data from any and all sources (Breadth) – A large enterprise IT environment can easily have thousands of operational data sources including servers, network infrastructure, storage, PaaS, application, and other cloud infrastructure. APM, and other specialized monitoring tools that generate business metrics are other critical sources of data.
  2. You can capture all operational data without arbitrary limits or filtering (Depth) – In aggregate, all those sources can easily generate millions of events per second, at a rate of tens or even hundreds of terabytes per day and petabytes per month.
  3. You can search all your data online, for as long as needed (Duration) – All your data should always be available for immediate on-line analysis for years, starting from the moment it is captured. Data that isn’t immediately accessible to stakeholders has significantly reduced value and impact to the business. Not only must data be timely in its arrival, but ad hoc exploration and queries must return fast enough for the results to be actionable.
  4. You can leverage machine intelligence to help you make sense of your data (Analytics) – Unexpected and never-before-seen issues can arise in a large and complex IT environment. The best way to spot and pre-empt these issues before they become problems is by applying machine learning to identify abnormal patterns in your data that legacy analytics tools and approaches would miss.

To recap: Total operational visibility in the modern enterprise requires that you:

  • Capture a complete view of your business – millions of events per second from thousands of different sources at a rate of petabytes per month,
  • Make that data immediately accessible, to all stakeholders, for as long as needed (years if required), and
  • Take advantage of machine intelligence to spot trends and correlations in the data that might otherwise be missed.

If that sounds difficult, you are absolutely correct. That's why we built Rocana Ops. We realized many CIOs and technologists that were desperate for a total operational visibility solution didn’t have the resources to build it themselves. Seeing the market opportunity, we designed and built a cost effective prepackaged solution that enables companies to start the journey from near-zero to 100% operational data capture in a matter of days.

Rocana Ops 1.5 takes everything to the next level with significant improvements across the breadth, depth, duration, and analytics dimensions. I won’t restate what’s in the press release other than saying that the new Rocana Search capability will completely blow your mind. No other vendor in the industry has ever been able to accomplish what the Rocana Engineering team accomplished in the last year and I am extremely proud of them for that.

Curious to learn more about the latest enhancements to Rocana Ops? Learn more...

Learn About Rocana Ops: The Central Nervous System for IT Operations

Watch the Webinar: Eliminating Scale and Time Boundaries of Traditional IT Monitoring

Read the Overview: Power Your Digital Transformation with Total Operational Visibility