Application Performance Management
Do you need Mr. Spock to run your Enterprise?
By Neil MacGowan, Technical Director
There has long been a debate over whether “Science Fiction is the precursor to Science Fact”, and there is much evidence to suggest that many of the things dreamt up in the imaginations of authors and screenwriters have indeed become reality in the fullness of time.
Perhaps the most famous of these was the original 1960’s Star Trek series in which we saw such magically devices as the “Communicator”, “View Screens”, “Portable Computer Memory” and the “Padd” to name but a few. And yet all of these imaginary devices now exist within our Enterprise. Where would we be today without the mobile phone, plasma displays, video conferencing, USB sticks and flash memory – or perhaps the most aptly named iPad (other tablet devices are available)?
Without these and other technologies our Enterprises and the businesses they support would quickly become uncompetitive and ultimately obsolete. So in order to survive we must continue to innovate, we must adapt to constantly changing environments, and we must be prepared for a future which is still to be determined. I suppose in a nutshell we must “Boldly Go….”.. well we all know how that quote finishes.
Today’s Enterprises are made up of 1000’s of widely different and complex systems all providing critical services to our organisations. They are crewed by large teams of highly skilled subject matter experts, each with domain specific knowledge crucial to the effective running of these systems. They are monitored and managed by multiple technologies generating huge volumes complex data. They must be robust and able to cope with uncertain futures, and above all they must not fail.
So does that make those of us who are responsible for running our Enterprise all Captains? Do we go from one day to the next looking for another crisis? Every time we find one do we need to “beam” all our most important crew into the war room? And finally do we feel the need to always take our shirt off and get personally stuck in?
There are many lessons we can learn from the Star Ship Enterprise but these are definitely not some of them. But perhaps the most important one is we all need to listen to Mr Spock:.
- His emotionless, fact based logical approach to dealing with operational issues and crises should be an example to us all.
- He was able to consume huge volumes of data, quickly analyse it and provide back useful information to support informed decision making.
- His ability to logically process information enabled his crew to gain clear visibility into the current situation, effectively isolate problems and apply the right resources, and ultimately to proactively avoid issues before they became critical.
That said there are a few problems with my proposed approach. Firstly “Spock like” characters are in short supply and even the best ones would struggle to fully understand todays Enterprise. Secondly if you do find your Spock they can never have time off, sleep or think about leaving or retiring.
So what is the answer then?
It is perfectly logical, perhaps one of the most critical pillars of the 5 pillars for APM is analytics. Without analytics we have data without information, we have to manually configure, maintain and troubleshoot issues, we have no ability to understand the future and deal with change.
Advanced predictive analytics software based on proven mathematics enables us to make sense of and visualize the current situation, to automatically understand what is normal and what is abnormal, and thereby quickly isolate where problems exist in complex environments, and accurately predict the impact of current behavior on future to avoid issues before they occur.
Unlike Spock this technology exists now, it is in use in many of the world largest financial institutions, telcos, retail and government organisations to help run their Enterprise. It is helping those organisations to lower operational costs, speed up MTTI and MTTR, improve service performance and availability, and effectively manage their evolving systems into an unknown future.
Real-time predictive analytics is Science Fact not Science Fiction and although a patented statistical analysis engine may lack the charm of a pair of pointy ears and a raised eyebrow, it is in its own way helping many organisations to “live long and prosper."
- Predictive Analytics
- Application Performance Management
- Cloud Computing
- Management Team