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Posts By : Enzo Signore

How Integrating AIOps with ITSM will Modernize IT

By Enzo Signore

Introduction – The Importance of a Single Accurate View of IT Infrastructure

As organizations transform digitally, the systems and processes required to manage their dynamic, hybrid IT infrastructures often can’t keep pace. So, it’s natural for IT executives to want new solutions that help them understand and anticipate how different IT components will interact while delivering critical business applications. Not only is this understanding useful for effective system diagnostics, it’s critical for forecasting the impact of infrastructure changes.

Having an accurate and up-to-date view of what IT assets you have, where they are located, how they are configured, and the relationships existing between them are all vital functions for system management and business scaling. But building and maintaining a single accurate source of this information is problematic. In response, many IT departments have created a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), a database that contains all relevant information about IT assets installed across the IT environment, as well as data describing the relationship between specific items and how they interconnect.

Done right, the CMDB can provide a trusted source for information and a total up-to-date view of your IT configuration items, their attributes, and relationships. Done wrong, and the CMDB can end up with incorrect or redundant data, leading to ineffective decision making, inaccurate configurations, and duplication of effort. As with any database project, the analogy “garbage in, garbage out” is appropriate here and a main factor in CMDB projects failing. If the CMDB isn’t populated with accurate and timely information, and if that data isn’t kept clean, the CMDB project won’t deliver its potential value, wasting time and money. But without the right tools, this is a difficult task. No wonder that, by 2019, up to 90% of organizations are forecast to get their CMDB implementation wrong, according to Gartner.

The FixStream/Cherwell Software Partnership – Turning Information into Insight

In response, FixStream, a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps), is working with Cherwell Software, a global leader in enterprise service management and CMDB software. Together, the two companies will deliver a next-generation integrated IT Operations solution that combines machine learning with workflow automation to help find, predict and resolve ITSM issues better and faster.

The joint solution, demonstrated at Cherwell Global Conference in Colorado Springs (Sept. 18-20), integrates FixStream’s AIOps solution with Cherwell’s workflow automation software to automate the discovery of entities across data-centers. Once the entities are identified, the FixStream solution will facilitate the ingestion of accurate inventory information into Cherwell’s CMDB, so the data stored there is correct and updated as needed.

How does the solution work? After creating an accurate and real-time inventory of the physical, logical, and virtual entity across the IT stack via an agent-less auto-discovery process, the FixStream software will automatically update the Cherwell CMDB. FixStream will also correlate business transactions with applications and infrastructure, visualizing operational issues in the context of the business applications. It will then apply machine learning to detect patterns, enabling IT teams to predict and prevent outages with over 80% probability across the entire system stack.

Armed with this deep insight, enterprises will be able to prioritize and proactively resolve issues and vulnerabilities across their IT infrastructure before they cause business outages and lost revenue. IT staff will be able to identify and visualize in seconds the sequence of correlated events across datacenters, as well as automate the root cause analysis of critical business processes, increasing Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) accuracy.

How will this integrated solution improve IT Operations? The ability for IT organizations to understand how applications, servers, middleware, databases, networking devices, and storage devices interact to deliver business services is critical for anticipating the impact of infrastructure changes. By improving the accuracy and currency of the database’s data, the FixStream-Cherwell joint solution will improve the diagnostic analysis capabilities of the CMDB itself. Using real-time insights and powerful analytics to more quickly and accurately identify issues across the IT infrastructure will allow customers to better monitor and maintain critical business processes and avoid expensive downtime.

Conclusion

The integration of FixStream and Cherwell technology will create an integrated next-generation IT Operations solution that will provide insight into the IT infrastructure’s topology and vulnerabilities. The integration solution is designed to help IT teams to prioritize incidents’ resolution by forecasting their potential impact on business operations with the goal of avoiding damaging business outages and lost revenue.

For more information about the FixStream and Cherwell integration, read our press release here.

Conquering the CIO Talent Challenge

Introduction

CIO’s face many challenges today – cybersecurity threats, limited budgets, and business transformation hassles, to name a few. But would you believe the biggest worry is headcount? Yes, according to a May 2018 Gartner survey, CEOs said a lack of talent and workforce capability is the biggest inhibitor of digital business progress. There just aren’t enough trained IT professionals to go around, and the competition for available tech talent is fierce.

Current reports show IT employees nearly at the top of the hiring list. According to Indeed’s Employer Outlook 2018 survey, 75 percent of those surveyed plan to hire more IT workers this year. With an estimated one million computer programming jobs in the US expected to go unfilled by 2020, CIO’s need to get creative with their hiring and retention strategies.

Recruiting Opportunity – Learn from the experts

Professional recruiters and consultants have valuable recommendations on how to win the talent war when vying for high-demand IT workers. They include:

  • Look for Characteristics – In lieu of specific domain experience, look for candidates that have these characteristics – mathematical aptitude, curiosity, creativity, perseverance, rapid learning, passion for problem solving, and interest in your specific business.
  • Think outside the box – According to Gartner, CIO’s who think beyond traditional recruitment processes will have more success tapping into IT talent pools. Relationships with universities, partners and crowdsourcing sites can uncover appropriate candidates. Also train non-IT professionals for IT roles. As IT and business priorities integrate, hiring people with business skills makes sense.
  • Match the job description to the actual requirements – It’s vital that the job description accurately defines what the position entails. Not only will this help speed up the hiring process by weeding out mismatched candidates, it will ensure that the new hire understands what is expected.
  • Recruit millennials where they congregate –  With millennials forecasted to be 35% of the global workforce by 2020, IT recruiters need to target them on sites that they visit, like Snapchat and Instagram.

Modernize Your Organization to Retain IT Talent

CIOs realize that they need to change their culture if they are to retain talented employees. Implementing work-saving automation tools and cutting-edge technology can boost IT professionals’ morale and job performance. Let’s take a close look on how automation like AI for IT Operations (AIOps) changes culture.

  • Enable Staff to be More Efficient – Many IT employees feel underutilized and bored with ongoing responsibilities like patch management and system maintenance, with no time to work on innovative projects that benefit the business. Eliminate waste by automating IT inventory discovery. In typical IT environments, staff wastes significant time and resources in performing manual service management tasks since their CMDB is inaccurate and they do not have visibility into the CI relationships. This is specifically challenging when the organization has deployed dynamic environments (virtualized, containers, cloud). To avoid repeated, wasted work, automate the discovery of IT assets.
  • Make Teamwork a Priority – Break down internal silos by mapping application to infrastructure. Traditional silos caused by IT monitoring tools force the IT team to manual correlation processes across multiple domains. This means long conference calls, manual collection of large amount of data, and finger pointing when performance issues arise. By mapping applications to infrastructure you break down these barriers and drive constructive teamwork.
  • Become Predictive – Increase productivity by automating root cause analysis. Instead of repeating the same manual, error-prone and wasteful troubleshooting process that can last 4 hours on average and consume 11 full time employees in 15% of the cases (Digital Enterprise Journal), why not predict when the next outage will occur?  This will not only increase the uptime and performance of the business application, but it will free up the IT staff to work on new projects.

Conclusions:

By modernizing recruitment/retention practices, and the IT operations process itself, CIO’s can succeed in hiring and keeping valuable IT personnel. Using AIOps is one way to enhance staff productivity and effectiveness so they become a source of innovation.

Seeing the Unseen with AIOps

This article was originally published in Dataversity.

Today, businesses are implementing new applications and adopting new technologies to become more agile, efficient, and responsive. As part of those efforts, they are employing more cloud-based solutions, software-centric and microservices architectures, virtualization and containers.

In addition, hybrid IT is now table stakes in most enterprise organizations. The dynamic and increasingly complex nature of hybrid IT creates new challenges and makes it difficult to operate efficiently. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 50 percent of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, up from less than 20 percent today. The upside of containers is that they offer portability and greater scalability. However, containers move around a lot, they appear and disappear in the blink of any eye. That in itself multiplies the number of moving pieces exponentially.

IT currently has many disparate tools that collect data. Big data is no longer enough – IT operations needs to gain deep insights into their distributed multi-vendor, multi-domain and multi-technology IT infrastructure in order to meet their challenging business objectives and data correlation is critical.

We need new tools that collect and correlate information about the application itself and about the underlying infrastructure. That should include data about application server performance, events, logs, transactions, and more. The compute, network, and storage resources involved in application delivery also need to be figured into the equation. Only with this full complement – and correlation – of data can organizations understand what is happening with their applications. That is important to ensure applications perform as expected to yield the desired business results.

AIOps Sees Everything…and then some

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) changes IT Operations by correlating, visualizing and predicting business affecting issues across hybrid IT stacks. It allows IT operations unprecedented visibility into the relationships between every entity in your IT ecosystem.

Let’s take a look at what machine learning for AIOps can do for you.

Application and Infrastructure Inventory – With the complexity of running multifaceted, multi-tier enterprise applications, do you really know what you have in terms of infrastructure and application assets? AIOps with machine learning technology map all the relationship between all of the entities in your IT ecosystem. Before you continue to invest in your stack, you have to know exactly what is in your stack and how it works together. You need to see an accurate and complete inventory of application dependencies so that you know the potential impact of changes and plan transitions and migrations that will not affect the application performance monitoring of business critical applications.

Optimum End User Performance – With AIOps, monitor performance from an end-user’s perspective from transaction through each aspect of the datacenter ensures high performing applications for each individual transaction—with no blind spots—including front end, application performance, infrastructure, containers, and cloud. High-performing customer-facing applications help increase revenues, customer satisfaction, and business agility.

Quickly Identify Root Cause – AIOps maps the flow from applications to infrastructure, including application flows, and virtual and physical compute, network, and storage locations. With these maps, you reduce the complexity and can rapidly drill down, see anomalies, and rectify the situation quickly.

Predict Problems Before they Happen – Increase uptime and performance with AIOps predictive analytics. AIOps correlate data and uncover patterns, which allow your organization to discern what problems are likely to appear downstream from trouble spots. Predictive analytics enable companies like yours to address potential problems before they impact applications and business operations.

Get More Out of Your Cloud Investment – AIOps provides intelligence on application performance so businesses can better allocate resources. The data correlation capabilities reveal what specific resources each application requires. This mitigates the risk of overinvesting and helps you purchase only those cloud resources your applications require.

Traditional, domain-centric monitoring and IT operations management tools are now inadequate because they can’t correlate the onslaught of data various IT domains create. What’s more, they’re unable to provide the insights IT operations teams need to proactively manage their environments – and that just doesn’t work.

IT organizations need a new class of technology to modernize the IT operations process. This technology needs to be able to correlate millions of data points across all IT domains. It should have the smarts to apply machine learning to detect patterns and it should present that information so organizations can easily see what’s happening and gain insights. This technology is AIOps.

About the Author

Enzo Signore, Chief Marketing Officer, Fixstream is passionate about building and growing businesses. He brings a wealth of industry and marketing experience, having led the go to market strategy of early stage companies and established leaders like Cisco and Avaya. Most recently Enzo was the CMO at 8×8, a public SaaS communications company and 5-times Gartner Magic Quadrant leader. Prior, Enzo was responsible for marketing at Avaya, a $4B communications company and for marketing and sales at JDS Uniphase, the leader in optical and test & measurement solutions. Earlier Enzo lead the DSL and Cable business at Cisco, and helped two early stage companies (Retix and ISOCOR) grown from Series A to successful IPO’s. Enzo loves to travel, play sports and is an avid Torino soccer fan.

Accelerate the Pace of Digital Transformation by Modernizing IT

Accelerate the Pace of Digital Transformation by Modernizing IT

By Enzo Signore

Digital transformation is at the top of every CIO’s agenda. It is no longer just an IT challenge; digital is changing economic fundamentals, industry dynamics, and competition on a global scale.

The scope and scale of digital-driven change has evolved in the past several years and organizations have invested substantial time and money to keep up. It continues to grow. IDC estimates spending on digital transformation will exceed $2 trillion in 2019 and 40 percent of all technology spending will be for digital transformation technologies. Sixty-four percent of IT executives expect to deliver significant value from digital technologies in the next two years.

Despite this rapid growth, IDC also predicts that 75% of CIOs and their enterprises will fail to meet all of their digital objectives in 2018. IT is struggling to keep up with the fast evolution of digital technology as well as the emergence of newer technologies and how they will affect the current strategy. The pace of change has accelerated and it is overwhelming IT organizations.

There are many reasons why digital initiatives fail but the one reason we are addressing in this post is that digital has created a completely new set of issues for IT.  Digital has created a new level of complexity never seen before that continually drains resources and budget.

IT is Drowning in Complexity

It is easy to see why digital transformation is falling short. IT is coping with; soaring consumer expectations, the steep learning curve of new technology, supporting legacy systems, lack of skilled talent, the lightning fast evolution of new technology, a variety of disparate tool sets, and the inability to see all physical and virtual entities in the infrastructure limiting the ability to optimize performance. The complexity is multidimensional.

A recent survey of 1200 global IT and business professionals found that IT complexity causes revenue impacting performance problems once every 5 days. Forty-eight percent of millennials would abandon a site or app if it fails to load in 3 seconds while the typical IT organization monitors less than 5% of their apps for performance and availability. Senior managers in marketing, e-commerce, IT, customer service and software development are wasting approximately 10 hours per week trying to find and fix unexpected digital performance issues.

We at FixStream have seen this challenge repeatedly at our prospective customers. Recently, we visited a company that used 17 different tools to monitor infrastructure, applications and services. Each tool has its own portal, its own alert system, and is owned by a different department. There is way to correlate the data generated from each of these disparate tools. When there is a critical alert, support staff emails back and forth between departments to gather information needed to identify root cause – MTTR can take hours while the business is at a standstill.

The survey mentioned above also found that on average, a single transaction uses 82 different types of technology, and containers can live in a microservices environment for as little as 10 seconds. It is no wonder why IT struggles to keep up.

In addition, as cloud computing evolves, it is becoming more complex, and more challenging, even for those who do it very well. Most enterprises now manage a multicloud infrastructure. A recent VMware survey found that the average IT team works on eight clouds, each having its own native management and monitoring tools. Multiple clouds bring more choices to the enterprise however there is a tradeoff; with more choices, there is more complexity.

Organizations continue to invest in network, computing, storage and application resources; however, despite continued investments IT cannot holistically see what is in their infrastructure and they have difficulty pinpointing root cause of performance issues. They do not have the ability to correlate millions of data points generated from all of the tools used across the physical and virtual infrastructure.

To mitigate the complexity for digital success, organizations need to be able to visualize the relationships between infrastructure elements (such as the physical and virtual connections at the networking layer), between an application and its infrastructure (for instance, by application mapping to the supporting infrastructure), and between the business transactions and the applications.

Modernizing IT

Traditional, domain-centric monitoring and IT operations management is no longer adequate in today’s dynamic virtualized environment. These older systems cannot correlate the onslaught of data various IT domains create and they’re unable to provide the insights IT operations teams need to proactively manage their environments. CIO’s will not be viewed by the organization as strategic partners until they can get current situation under control and mitigate the risk of lackluster performance or all out failure.

The answer is AIOps – Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations. AIOps are software systems that combine big data and AI or machine learning technology to enhance and partially replace a broad range of IT operations processes and tasks, including availability and performance monitoring, event correlation and analysis, IT service management, and automation. (Source)

AIOps is dramatically simplifying IT operations by automating IT ops processes and tasks. The business benefits are many.

  • AIOps provides unprecedented visibility into IT operations. It can automatically correlate millions of data points across the entire stack; apply machine learning so that IT can increase end-to-end business application assurance and uptime.
  • AIOps optimizes IT and 
reduce costs by automating 
root cause analysis 
and accelerating technology 
migration. It frees up an amazing amount of resources, reduces waste thus making the corporation so much more efficient, which in turn can focus on innovation and can accelerate its business transformation to drive higher financial results.
  • AIOps also has the power to do this across IT, aligning IT with LOB. For example, between infrastructure and application/business operations, and between IT and the LOB creating a more efficient organization.

AIOps in Action

Does AIOps sound too good to be true? Take a closer look at what it has done for these organizations. Click to download each case study to learn more.

  • Reduced MTTR Nearly 4x – Rapid Root Cause Analysis reduced MTTR from hours to minutes and delivered significant ROI to a global digital services company in just two months.
  • Provided End-to-End Converged Data Center Visibility supporting 12 million subscribers.
  • Auto-discovered over 2000 Configuration Items and relationships in 30 mins correlating applications services with infrastructure across worldwide data centers.
  • Reduced MMTR for Oracle ERP user and performance metrics KPI from hours to minutes.

Enzo Signore is Chief Marketing Officer at FixStream.

Nutanix and FixStream Team to Accelerate Delivery of Business Workloads

As originally published on Nutanix.com

This is a guest post from Enzo Signore, Chief Marketing Officer at FixStream

Unprecedented Application-Centric Visibility into Physical and Virtual Infrastructure

Nutanix and FixStream are very excited to announce at the Nutanix .Next 2018 Conference today a new joint initiative to help customers accelerate the freedom of choice they can experience with the adoption of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud.

FixStream’s Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) platform combines auto-discovery, correlation and visualization to easily find and predict critical business application issues across an enterprise’s entire hybrid IT stack in minutes. Customers using Nutanix-powered environments can now accelerate the delivery of business applications and accelerate the adoption of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud.

One of the key challenges IT organizations face is the complexity associated with discovering and managing the disparate entities of legacy and cloud infrastructure in the hybrid IT environment. Environments are quickly changing as digital service deployments adopt newer technologies in the domains of virtualization, hybrid cloud, containers, micro services etc.

To solve this problem, The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Assessment Offer from FixStream allows Nutanix consultants and partners to perform detailed assessment of their customers’ and prospects’ existing legacy and cloud infrastructure to discover and visualize their entire hybrid infrastructure to help accelerate their migration onto the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud. Based on FixStream’s Nutanix AHV Ready platform, this offer includes a custom data center inventory report highlighting:

  • Network, compute and storage components deployed in data centers
  • Physical and virtual infrastructure components in a hybrid IT environment
  • Visualization of the physical, virtual and logical connections among the devices
  • Up-to-date, near-real time inventory view
  • Dynamic reporting for data analysis and compliance needs

Leveraging FixStream powerful agentless auto-discovery capabilities, the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Offer is designed to deliver an infrastructure assessment that applies to different scenarios. Nutanix consultants and partners will use this offer for customers planning to modernize their datacenter by migrating from legacy hybrid environments to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud and those who ho want to transform their business with the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Transformation Service.

For those attending the .NEXT Conference this week, please join us on Wednesday, May 9th, at 3:00 – 3:30 pm at the Silver Sponsor Theatre Presentations in the Solutions Expo! To hear from FixStream’s CMO Enzo Signore and Vandana Rao, Nutanix, Director, Practice Development Services more about Artificial Intelligence to Predict Business Application Issues across Hybrid IT and what this means for Nutanix customers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not those of Nutanix, Inc. or any of its other employees or affiliates. This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

© 2018 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix, the Enterprise Cloud Platform, the Nutanix logo and the other Nutanix products and features mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).

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