In the last couple of years the rumble and excitement around IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) is now becoming a steady, solid noise. As it matures, it will soon be better orchestrated and turn into consistent rhythm.
The buzz is not without any reason. ITOA takes IT operations to new frontiers where it will be more respected by business. No longer will it then be good to find “what happened” or “what may happen” but it would be time to act on such information to “prevent what may have happened”.
The excitement has merits because:
1. This turns the big noise around Big Data internally towards Enterprise IT where analytics will now provide actionable insights from the reams of performance and operational data being generated
2. The focus on Application Performance Monitoring is central through most solutions ensuring that the view is external and not revolving around the internal consumption patterns of IT resources like CPU, memory, bandwidth etc. The focus is on the real life hero — the user (!) and her experience when using the application.
3. Patterns of good performance would be formed across performance metrics through heuristic assisted cognitive logic against which real time performance metrics can be compared to identify propensity to fail before actual failure strikes business.
4. The system will only get better with time. As the deployment matures the system will learn better and get better in identifying false positives and eliminating them.
5. ITOA would bring real integration of machine generated data like log files, performance reports etc. along with user generated data like trouble tickets, change records etc. to analyze and help co-relate these for improving IT operations through learning from the past and extrapolating into the future based on real time data.
6. ITOA will also open the floodgates for several data streams which were not explored as the human processing power was the limiting factor in the past in analyzing streams of performance data from systems, networks and applications. Organizations will be emboldened now to get as much data as possible to support more robust decision making.
7. For the first time business will really appreciate the disruptive and sheer meaningful capability of being able to avoid impact to business than the traditional ability to recover fast once an impact has happened.
Three caveats though:
1. All this can be orchestrated for an enterprise on the back of solid processes (think core ITIL processes) without which decision making and actions will be weak. Technology can still not act without proper decision and action driven through disciplined processes.
2. There will be a cooling period before the returns on investment are visible due to the maturing technology ( key challenges are around false positives and pervasive integration across monitoring applications) and the learning period that is required for such solutions
3. Finally, IT will have to work harder to demonstrate the value it would be bringing! When the impact to business (like an outage) is predicted and avoided, business would never know about the train wreck that was avoided because there was no wreckage. CIOs and IT Directors will need to see that such higher business value is understood and demonstrated for business to continue to partner and appreciate the RoI on such technologies.