Do More With Less: Predictive Analytics For I&O

Milan Hanson

 

Moore’s Law was bound to catch up with us. Loosely applied, it says that technology grows more complex every year.   Human brains do not.   People can’t keep up with monitoring, debugging, and managing today’s technology.  Users’ rising expectations make it even worse:  they want features and fixes in minutes, not days or weeks.  Technology may soon get away from us.  

The American comic strip character Pogo put it this way:  “we have met the enemy and he is us.”  In this case, our enemy is also our best ally.  Surely we can harness technology’s power to help us keep it under control.   We can, we are, and we will.  Predictive analytics, common for decades in other industries, is now a growing force for monitoring and managing business technology, and has the potential to put us back in control of our runaway technology.

The least sophisticated analytics predicts what instrumentation is appropriate for a server based on what software it’s running or what kinds of network traffic is going in or out.  For example, is database software found, or are SQL queries going in and out?  This analytics drives automation that reduces manual administrative work.

Moderately sophisticated analytics predicts trouble based on simple trends like CPU utilization rising, memory consumption rising, or free storage declining; and drives capacity planning before a resource crisis occurs.

Really sophisticated analytics watches multi-variate trends such as cycles of high user demand (for example monthly sales campaigns) coupled with performance expectations and resource constraints, to drive automated resource scale-up (to sustain best performance) or scale-down (to reduce over-provisioning costs).

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Open Source APM Gains Momentum

Milan Hanson

Operations teams value stability.  Uptime is golden.  So it’s no surprise that operations teams buy finished, complete, documented, supported tools from vendors they can hold accountable.  Ops people already have their hands full dealing with complex apps, infrastructure, and users – they don’t need to be hassling with flaky do-it-yourself tools.  Even so, most operations teams still wind up with a mixture of tools from multiple vendors plus home-built integrations and scripts.

Development teams, on the other hand, are developers.  If they need a tool to do exactly what they need, they’ll build one – and share it with their friends.  As agile development has grown into continuous integration and continuous deployment, developers collaboratively created tools to automate tedious tasks and accelerate the application lifecycle.  Customer obsession relies on speed, and speed relies on automation.  The open source collaborative model has been very effective at creating the tools that support high frequency agile releases.   

The DevOps phenomenon brings together these two teams and their divergent cultures.  Yes, stability still matters; but what matters more in the age of the customer is agility through the entire software lifecycle, including the ops portion of release, deployment, and support.  The success of collaborative open source tools in development suggests that operations may be headed the same way.   And in the last year a lot more of my clients are asking about open source APM tools as an alternative to commercial solutions.  I’m also seeing APM vendors more involved in contribution, participation, and use of open source.  As Sam Cooke sang, “a change is gonna come.” 

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DevOps The Code To Delivering With Velocity, Quality And Agility

Robert Stroud

Every business today is under pressure from a startup that is disrupting their traditional market. We have seen this in the taxi industry with Uber[i], ATOM Bank is revolutionizing banking[ii] and Airbnb the hotel industry.[iii] The overused statement that today every business is a software business, is resonating in every industry and we are all under pressure to not only deliver faster, we must do so with quality and add value to our respective businesses.

To achieve velocity, organizations are turning to DevOps in their cultural and technology transformation. In my recent report, “How To Deliver Services With Quality, Agility, And Value,” I look at these issues and discuss how to pragmatically assess your DevOps journey.

CALMSS A Model For Success.

Delivering faster requires a new model, one which features smaller changes driven through faster high-quality release cycles that leverage end to end automation. To guide the transition, infrastructure and operations (I&O) pros should employ the CALMSS  competency model (Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement and management, Sharing, and Sourcing). All team members who are engaged in the product life cycle – from individual contributors to the executive team – must master these competencies. I&O pros must also use benchmarks to assess their progress and to maintain or adjust their current DevOps competencies accordingly.

Automation: “The Weakest Link” To DevOps Success

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Velocity with quality mandates a model based approach to ARA tools and DevOps

Robert Stroud

DevOps velocity mandates change velocity

Enterprises today are focusing on delivering applications faster to drive customer experiences and drive business transformation to meet rising expectations. For some, faster delivery is simply faster time to disappointment where the delivery process is shoddy and speed is the only metric. Speed without quality in an oxymoron – and extremely dangerous. The automation of the process known as Application Release Automation (ARA) is one of the critical impediments in the DevOps journey for I&O organizations today. ARA tools are designed to remove errors from manual processes by standardizing and automating the movement of applications with middleware and infrastructure – the critical final step in the delivery pipeline of applications to deliver customer value.

Continuous delivery is the goal; ARA tools are the vehicles to get there

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APM Is Hot. Don't Laugh, I'm Serious.

Milan Hanson

I cover the APM market for I&O professionals, and it seems that every week I am briefed by yet another vendor entering the APM market. I wonder “What’s the attraction? Why is APM so hot?” Maybe it’s the mess.

I’m weird. I like cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner. Why? Because it’s a huge mess. A little effort produces the dramatic result of a clean kitchen, ready for the next attack:  leftovers.

In September Forrester published The Forrester Wave™: Application Performance Management, Q3 2016. For vendors entering the APM market, it’s your guide to be a contender. For clients seeking an APM solution, it’s your guide to what’s available.

The Wave evaluates fourteen vendors on twenty-eight criteria.  We selected these fourteen as key players based on their functionality, market presence and the fact that they are most frequently mentioned in our conversations with clients.  Of course there are more than fourteen APM vendors in the market.   

For a bigger list of vendors, see the Forrester report Vendor Landscape: Application Performance Management, Including Mobile APM, Q2 2016.It includes twenty-six vendors, and even that isn’t all of them -- more vendors enter the APM market every week.

The “mess” that attracts vendors to this market is that I&O teams face an eternal battle to deliver…

  • faster service
  • to more users
  • by improving monitoring and management
  • of software, hardware, virtual-ware, and cloud
  • that grows more complex daily through:
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IoT Software Platform Wave Evaluation Helps Firms Navigate The Complex Solution Landscape

Michele Pelino

As businesses pursue digital initiatives, I&O execs must assist their line-of-business colleagues with addressing software, security, data, and business analytics integration complexity associated with deploying these IoT solutions. Digital opportunities to use IoT include:

  • Building connected products. Product manufacturers are creating smart, connected products to differentiate their offerings and generate new revenue streams as well as ecosystems for other partners to participate in and create their own value.
  • Transforming operational processes. Businesses across many vertical markets are using IoT-enabled use cases to transform supply chain processes, enhance inventory management and operational processes, and track and monitor asset performance
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Take The Wheel: Build Your Cloud Computing Strategic Plan NOW

Dave Bartoletti
Are you excited by all the new innovations coming in the cloud computing market for 2017? Our Predictions report neatly summarizes them for you. Now what are you going to do about it? If you’re like the majority of infrastructure and operations pros I speak with about cloud, building a strategic plan to get your cloud plans in order is a top priority for 2017.
 
2017 is the perfect time for I&O pros to take control of their company’s cloud computing strategy, because cloud adoption is up, developers are more keen on cloud services than ever — and cloud is where the most exciting innovations in IoT, machine learning, big data analytics, and container-based development are happening.
 
Cloud is now a foundational enterprise technology. I&O leaders must strike the right balance between business, developer, and tech management priorities to source, configure, deliver, and optimize the right mix of cloud services for their business.
 
Above all, your cloud strategic plan must be customer-obsessed. Do you know what it means to build a customer-obsessed operating model based on cloud computing? Don’t wait to find out. Your business won’t wait. And most of all, your customers won’t wait.
 
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Boost Customer Obsession With Business Technology

Eveline Oehrlich

Welcome to the age of the customer!

To quickly recap: this is the age where digitally empowered customers are driving firms to become customer-obsessed, digital businesses that apply customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected technology. You may be asking “What does this have to do with me and my responsibility in Infrastructure and Operations?” To answer in brief, your CIO and technology management organization play central roles in making your firm customer obsessed because:

  • Technology enables dramatic business transformation.Customer-obsessed digital businesses exploit digital technologies to create new customer value and increase operational agility in service of customers. Companies that understand how to master these challenges are driving digital transformation to become digital predators. Forrester predicts that by 2020, every business will be either a digital predator or digital prey.
  • Customer-led business value drives technology investments. Tech management organizations must understand, manage, and communicate technology’s role in delivering customer-obsessed outcomes like digital customer experience. Technology executives responsible for service design and delivery must minimize the cost of MOOSE (spending to maintain and operate the tech organization, systems, and equipment) for ongoing operations, deliver the agreed quality of service, and shift investments to customer-obsessed innovation. Only 14% of budgets for new IT initiatives and projects support sell-side business operations.
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Forrester Predictions: Ten Key Developments In Cloud Computing Shape The Industry In 2017

Dave Bartoletti

I'm pleased to announce that Forrester’s cloud computing predictions for 2017 published this morning!

Check out Predictions 2017: Customer-Obsessed Enterprises Launch Cloud’s Second Decade. Our cloud team has gathered ten key developments in cloud computing that will shape this industry in 2017 — and what you should do about them today.

Cloud computing has been the most exciting and disruptive force in the tech market in the last decade, and it will continue to disrupt traditional computing models at least through 2020. Starting in 2017, large enterprises will move to cloud in a big way, and that will super-charge the market. We predict the influx of enterprise dollars will push the global public cloud market to $236B in 2020, up from $146B in 2017.

Cloud platforms from the global megacloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Salesforce, Oracle, Centurylink and SAP will set the pace, accelerating adoption of private cloud and hosted private cloud as well. In 2017, you need to:

  • Get your private cloud and SaaS strategy in shape in 2017 — start now!
  • Educate yourself about exciting developments in hyperconverged infrastructure, security, networking, and containers.
  • Take a fresh look at your regional and industry-specific cloud providers — specialization is afoot.
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DevOps And The Mainframe, A Perfect Match?

Robert Stroud

Did someone forget to tell the mainframe it was irrelevant?

For many years, the much lauded death of the mainframe has been espoused by many pundits. Many believed the end of the mainframe would be further accelerated with the rapid growth of cloud adoption.  I am sorry to report to those naysayers, the mainframe didn’t get the message, and lives on, alive and well as the beating heart of many large businesses. For instance, the mainframe is leveraged by 92 of the top 100 banks worldwide, 23 of the top 25 US retailers, all 10 of the world’s 10 largest insurers, and 23 of the world’s 25 largest airlines.[i]

Mainframe is part of the digital business ecosystem

The drive for speed to counter competitors and deliver new and agile solutions has never been more evident.  Successful digital businesses have found the secret to unleashing the data and business processes within their mainframe-based applications. Starting with “ad-hoc” integrations between systems of engagement and systems of record, they soon find the ability to define innovative products and services is limited by an inability to evolve and improve their mainframe applications.  For instance, a simple mobile insurance application is actually just the gateway to a complex set of applications that must work seamlessly with the mobile application and with each other to provide customers and prospects with great experiences.

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