Monitoring tools can be complemented with new solutions that leverage self-healing and autonomous operations.
Despite heavy monitoring tool investing, today’s organizations are struggling to prevent
regular, random outages, alert storms, and peaking issue resolution times. This leads to hours of unplanned downtime, crucial resources being pulled away from their primary tasks, and hundreds of
thousands of dollars of cost to the organization. There is a way, however, to improve on your existing tools.
Prevention is better than a cure when it comes to IT operations management
The role of DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) teams in an organization revolves around keeping the business up and running 24/7/365. When downtime does occur, the focus is on minimizing its duration and after-effects to reduce the cost of incident resolution and impact on the business. But resolving an incident after transactions have already started slowing down or failing means that the customer has been affected, and this can translate into revenue losses for the business, particularly in the banking and financial services, telecom, e-commerce, and retail sectors.
According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Since there are myriad differences in how businesses operate, downtime can vary from $140,000 per hour to as much as $540,000 per hour at the higher end. In fact, 98 percent of organizations have reported that a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000. This makes the need to avert downtime as opposed to addressing it after the fact even more important.
Complement monitoring tool capabilities
In today’s operations centers, teams are getting leaner, and there is an emphasis on reducing the manpower required to resolve incidents and keep applications running. Couple this with the fact that the environments that need to be monitored are becoming more complex due to cloud deployments, microservices, cross-locational silos spread out across heterogeneous environments, and lack of 360-degree visibility into applications, infrastructure, services, and processes. To help overcome these issues, enterprises need their toolset to provide:
- Full stack visibility and monitoring, including metrics from on-premises components, cloud microservices, containers, and the network. This is something observability platforms already do.
- Proactive alerting on an issue through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) techniques and remedial workflows to mitigate the issue before it occurs.
- Event correlation to reduce alert storms and lead teams toward more accurate root cause analysis.
- User journey analysis to immediately pinpoint the point in the path where conversion rates have suddenly fallen.
- Projective planning to ensure the infrastructure can handle surges in workload.
New preventive healing software can help enterprises prevent and fix incidents before they occur without jeopardizing the company’s investment in its existing monitoring setup. Enterprises that have leveraged these tools have seen several positive results, including:
- early warning alerts on incidents before they occur;
- lead signals of recurring hotspots for manual remediation;
- dynamic workload optimization to handle transaction surges;
- improved troubleshooting via more sources of correlation;
- ability to forecast choke points to reduce risk and
- opportunity to calculate business-aligned growth with “what-if” analysis.
This essentially means that with such software, the IT operations team can identify likely future events and prevent them proactively. In addition, in the event of an incident, they have everything needed to resolve it immediately without wasting extra man-hours troubleshooting.
Three key capabilities to look for in preventive healing software:
If your organization is looking to add preventive healing software to complement your existing toolset seek out a solution that has the following capabilities:
- Projected (Workload Analysis and Optimization): This allows you to predict chokepoints by applying a “what-if” analysis, as well as plan capacity to avoid degradation.
- Proactive (Early Warning Signals): Instead of reacting when an issue occurs, some tools are proactive and can catch developing issues early to mitigate them.
- Remedial (Causation and Rectification): Beyond just preventing an issue by leveraging the data collected, new technology can determine, find and resolve root causes of issues for preventing repeat downtime.
In addition, implementing modern preventive healing software can help prevent outages via workload-behavior correlation techniques and can augment your existing setup to make optimum use of all the data collected to prevent incidents through auto-remediation, minimize incident resolution times, and plan capacity more effectively by projecting behavior trends in conjunction with workload growth forecasts. With the workload-behavior correlation, the workload patterns and corresponding behavioral patterns are learned and baselined so that corrective action can be taken when an abnormal workload signature arrives, well before an incident even occurs.
Corresponding to the early warning issued by a preventive healing system, some can go beyond merely notifying the appropriate personnel or integrating with an IT service management (ITSM) to kickstart an incident resolution workflow and can actually take action. Such systems can potentially define a set of healing actions that can be executed in response to an early warning, ultimately averting the issue altogether.
Preventive healing tools not only pre-emptively alert teams of an impending incident but also capture adequate time-synchronized context along with an event, so the sequence of events leading to an anomaly can be zeroed in on. Even better, they can automatically correlate events, examine contextual data, arrive at the root cause, and initiate preventive healing. This would shift the focus from mean time to repair (MTTR) as the key metric to the number of incidents averted. This is, in essence, the focus of a preventive healing tool.
You don’t need to scrap all your existing tools to get the benefits of preventive healing software. Some solutions can integrate seamlessly, helping your team get the benefits of added capabilities and improve overall performance.