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Faster Problem Resolution with AI-Enabled Predictive Analytics

Outdated Technology and IT Complexity Hampers Issue Resolution

The exponential growth of real-time business transactions, coupled with dynamic hybrid and software-based technologies, make even routine IT operations difficult when using outdated domain-centric tools. As application environments become more complex and distributed, and change more frequently, there are more failure indicators generated than what can be investigated using traditional approaches.

Detecting and diagnosing system problems manually is time-consuming and cumbersome. Inadequate IT operations management tools complicate the identification, analysis and resolution of system issues, as IT specialists struggle to establish a clear, complete view of what’s happening across the various technologies. As a result, operations teams often lack the insight needed to proactively monitor, troubleshoot and manage system environments. This hampers IT’s ability to detect and resolve incidents when a system disruption occurs.

AIOps – Fixing IT Problems Before They Happen

Powered by machine learning, AIOps has advanced analytical capabilities to help IT organizations forecast and resolve system issues. Using its artificial intelligence capabilities, AIOps can be taught to observe and recognize patterns and anomalies over time. Then it will be able to automatically analyze massive amounts of digital data, correlate leading indicators, and use historical behavior to help predict what could happen next. Power of analytics combined with correlation across IT domains delivers contextual operational insight. The insight gained from reviewing the results can help your team predict and prevent business outages, even before they cause actual problems.

AIOps can be taught to examine data trends and provide an early warning whenever it discovers possible issues. For example, the application can detect trends and patterns within the “noise” of millions of system incident reports, helping analysts uncover potential risks and performance issues. By automatically applying proactive and predictive insights, AIOps can help IT organizations diagnose and resolve system threats and performance risks, forestalling a damaging outage. This increases system uptime and performance, driving better outcomes for the business.

When system outages do occur, the predictive insights from AIOps can speed up root-cause analysis and remediation. By quickly and accurately diagnosing the root cause, your team can find and fix problems faster, often reducing downtime from hours to just minutes. The result is optimized system availability and enhanced business operations.

Conclusions:

AIOps predictive analytics can provide up-to-date insight into your organization’s entire application and IT infrastructure resources, which can lead to a better understanding of the interdependencies between system components. This provides CIOs with valuable knowledge to better manage the increasing complexity and dynamic nature of their sprawling hybrid IT architectures.

The FixStream AIOps platform can quickly predict business application issues across an enterprise’s entire hybrid IT stack. Using its end-to-end view across all domains, the AIOps platform helps customers rapidly identify issues and predict outages, so they can save time and solve problems faster. For more information on how FixStream’s AIOps Platform can predict failure points across hybrid IT stacks, read our press release.

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.

Succeeding at IT/LOB Collaboration

Succeeding at IT/LOB Collaboration

By Sameer Padhye

The digital transformation of core business processes is helping organizations of all sizes become more agile, customer-centric, and efficient. It also underpins the importance of IT’s investment in digital technologies, which is exploding. However, these investments must support the organization’s business strategy, emphasizing the need for IT and LOB managers to be on the same page when it comes to digital priorities.

These investments underscore the commitment IT leaders have made to designing innovative new business models and customer experiences. In the State of the CIO 2018 study conducted by IDG World1, 88% of IT leaders confirmed that their emphasis has become more digital and innovation-focused, and 37% said their IT departments can play a critical role in this area.

Unleash IT’s Potential Value to the Business

LOB managers may not know that their IT department is already moving past “business as usual”. The CIO study reveals that IT departments are investing in various technology areas, including enterprise applications (35%), data and business analytics (33%), cloud computing (28%), and security/risk management (28%).

Given the impact of digital business processes on corporate success, it’s vitally important for IT and LOB managers to collaborate on IT project planning and budgets. This collaboration is easier to facilitate in areas where IT and business priorities align, and where there is shared oversight. In the CIO survey, most respondents already recognize this and reported on specific business initiatives driving IT investments at their firms. These initiatives include increasing operational efficiencies; improving customer experiences; increasing cybersecurity protection; and transforming existing business processes.

Start with the Foundation – Collaboration

LOB can help set IT priorities and get budget dollars to fund specific technologies. In turn, IT can help LOB managers by spearheading prioritized projects, recommending appropriate technology solutions, and adopting agile development/delivery practices. Of course, these priorities must be backed up by adequate resources, including budgets and the latest tools to improve IT productivity and accuracy. IT managers can also help their LOB peers build a business case for investing in new technology initiatives.

A recent survey conducted by McKinsey and Company2 shows many executives expect IT to become a more valuable contributor to business results. And 80% of those surveyed backed up the findings in the CIO study, reiterating the need for business and technology leaders to actively collaborate on digital strategy. Yet just over half of them are doing so now. What’s the hold up? In some cases, there’s a disconnect between IT and LOB leaders. Better communication and joint ownership can help them resolve differences on what and where IT should focus to meet ongoing business needs.

The Importance of Partnering with IT

LOB managers should actively partner with IT so that business priorities are met with appropriate IT budgets and resources. Recommendations include:

  • Giving CIO’s a “seat at the C-level table” to better understand the needs of their organization, such as revenue growth, risk reduction and improved agility.
  • Agreeing on business priorities and hiring enough talent, which will help IT improve their effectiveness within the organization.
  • Empowering IT leaders to shift their time and resources to areas the business values most, such as e-commerce, analytics and cybersecurity.

Improve IT Effectiveness, Increase Its Value to the Business

A frequent criticism of IT Departments is their inability to meet business demands and resolve technical issues, but it’s understandable why. The scale at which IT needs to monitor data and identify problems cannot be effectively managed by humans. With today’s complex, dynamic and distributed technology stack, diagnosing and resolving system and performance issues can become a sinkhole, draining manpower away from more productive and impactful initiatives.

The answer is Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps), a one-stop solution which can streamline a variety of IT operations processes and tasks. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, AIOps can help businesses with proactive system planning and identify business-impacting issues before they occur. By helping them better manage the “nuts and bolts” of IT operations, and avoid system outages, AIOps can dramatically free up IT departments to work on more high-value digital transformation projects.

Ready to learn how AIOps solution can help modernize your IT department? Download the FixStream white paper here.

Sameer Padhye is founder and CEO of FixStream.


1CIO’s Shift Digital Transformation into High Gear, State of the CIO 2018, @IDGWORLD
2IT’s Future Value Proposition, McKinsey and Company, July 2017

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.

Uncovering and Improving Control of IT Assets

Uncovering and Improving Control of IT Assets

By Sameer Padhye

The demise of the CIO has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, at one point, CIO stood for Career Is Over. Most people in the job can tell you that their focus and responsibilities has significantly evolved in the past several years in response to new business challenges and disruptive technologies. As technology has become embedded in most parts of the business, the position of the CIO has expanded. In fact, a 2018 Forbes Insight paper (The Challenges for Tomorrow’s CIO) reveals that…

“over four out of five CIOs believe their role has increased in importance over the last five years”.

CIO’s are more essential than ever.

While they are driving IT strategy across the enterprise, CIO’s are still responsible for day-to-day operations and budgets of the IT department. Maintaining a balance between these competing priorities can be a challenge.

Keeping a Lid on IT Assets and Investments

In response to the digitization of business processes, organizations are investing millions of dollars in IT infrastructure and tools, often without a clear view what they already own. This lack of visibility increases system vulnerabilities and security risks, as well as squander IT budgets and personnel.

Keeping tight controls on IT assets and infrastructure is one way that innovative CIO’s can safeguard and manage their complex disparate system environment.  To start, they need full disclosure and listing of their IT assets, including hardware, network, software, and IoT devices. But today’s distributed and hybrid IT infrastructure has become too complex and opaque to manage manually.

Auto discovery of data from all the disparate sources and devices across the IT environment helps IT leaders build and maintain a reliable, up-to-date inventory of resources. This knowledge will enable better budgeting, troubleshooting, capacity planning, maintenance and effective management of all system assets.

Detecting and Taming Technology Sprawl

When IT does not have full visibility into their environment, it exposes the business to risks and additional expenses. The problem is made worse by:

  • LOB Funding IT Purchase Decisions– In many businesses, funding for technology solutions has spread throughout the business. In the Forbes Insights survey mentioned above, 54% of CIOs noted that their company’s business units are more involved in selecting their own technology, and 74 percent say it’s more important to align with business stakeholders on IT acquisitions.
  • Shadow IT acquisitions– If IT isn’t providing a solution that employees want, chances are they will go off and obtain it anyway, without IT being involved in the decision. These “shadow IT” tools can create ongoing security, compliance and workflow vulnerabilities, along with driving up IT costs and workloads. Once those solutions become outdated or unsupported, they require expensive maintenance and don’t adapt to new business needs. And, while IT may not own all the IT purchase decisions, they are still responsible for making sure nothing goes wrong.
  • Redundant Solutions Drive Up Expenses– Point and/or redundant solutions are not just expensive to purchase, but to maintain and support. This diverts IT staff from value-creating activity; redundant technology can also waste money on software licenses that don’t deliver the right functionality to the business.
  • Overly complex IT environments are messy and vulnerable to problems– When business acquire new divisions, set up transactions with partners/vendors, or bring in new enterprise applications, some legacy solutions may be duplicated and no longer needed. They also drive the need for system interfaces and the number of platforms that must be supported. The more interfaces you have, the more fragile your system, and the harder that system is to maintain.

Key to Success: Gaining Insight into the full IT system architecture

The proliferation of IT systems and tools across the enterprise has created a more complex integration environment. But there are new tools available to help uncover system assets and simplify IT management. Auto discovery solutions can identify all the physical and virtual infrastructure components in a hybrid IT environment by automatically collecting data across the IT domain.

With auto discovery, you can develop a complete picture of the network, the IP devices on the network, the applications and services, along with their relationships and interdependencies. The result is an application map that illustrates the relationships among all IT entities, which will help with system diagnostics, migration planning, and root cause analysis down the line.

Updated insight into your organization’s application and IT infrastructure resources can lead to a better understanding of the interdependencies between system components. This Use Case illustrates how FixStream’s Auto Discovery solution helped a global semiconductor company increase visibility and develop dynamic topology maps of all their datacenters worldwide.

Sameer Padhye is founder and CEO of 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).

Diagram: Hybrid IT Infrastructure, Applications, Business Transactions
Flying High With AI How Machine Learning Powers AIOps, Correlation & Analytics

Flying High With AI
How Machine Learning Powers AIOps, Correlation & Analytics

By Bishnu Nayak

Digital disrupters have accelerated the pace of business. They’ve prompted digital transformation across organizations and industries. That has led to more departments within more businesses adopting more connected applications.

That has created greater reliance on underlying enterprise networks on which these critical business applications run. The infrastructure is becoming more distributed, heterogeneous, intelligent, open, and virtualized to support the growth, agility, and scale of the business applications.

Application architecture is changing to adopt newer technologies such as containers. That allows deployment of the application entities in multiple data center and cloud environments, which can scale dynamically. (In October, DockerCon Europe reported that 24 billion containers have been downloaded.)

Business network elements frequently come from a wide variety of hardware and software suppliers. And these networks are only becoming more diverse given the movement by business networking professionals to avoid vendor lock-in, embrace open architectures, and use best-of-breed solutions.

The changes in the dynamic application environment happen very abruptly. So it’s impossible to track the changes and correlate the events using legacy techniques. Manual processing of massive amounts of data – which is dynamic across the stacks – to identify patterns, anomaly scenarios, and predict capacity requirements is almost impossible. That, in turn, poses tremendous business risks and hinders business innovation

So, what’s the solution?

A solution that combines the power of machine learning with the ability to auto-discover and correlate entities across critical layers of digital business – business, application, and infrastructure.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are not a replacement for people in this scenario. Rather, they help humans perform day to day IT operational tasks such as troubleshooting, capacity management, migration, and planning.

 “Most recent advances in AI have been achieved by applying machine learning to very large data sets,”

notes McKinsey & Co. “Machine-learning algorithms detect patterns and learn how to make predictions and recommendations by processing data and experiences, rather than by receiving explicit programming instruction. The algorithms also adapt in response to new data and experiences to improve efficacy over time.”

Machine learning can correlate and analyze data from multiple enterprise application and infrastructure domains, dealing with the volume, velocity, and varieties of data generated. It can uncover patterns to show what has occurred. It can use current conditions and past learning to spot exceptions and predict the future. Machine learning can even offer suggestions on what to do in various scenarios.

AIOps platforms leverage machine learning to deliver AI capabilities for IT operations. Here are some interesting use cases.

  • Multivariate anomaly detection can identify anomaly scenarios across various dependent entities. Such anomalies may signal that a planned or unplanned business event has taken place. For example, a multivariate anomaly group may represent an unplanned event like a DDoS cyberattack or a planned business effort such as Black Friday event.
  • A time-series sequential pattern detection algorithm can predict business outages triggered by events anywhere in the stack business functions are deployed.
  • It’s also possible to use AI and machine learning to predict when you’ll run out of capacity. For example, it could signal a potential lack of storage disk volume and excessive network bandwidth use of a router. Such information helps IT experts do proactive capacity planning to better meet business needs.

Machine learning automates IT operations and can notify operations teams of potential business outages before they happen. It also can detect security issues, identify infrastructure performance bottlenecks, and recommend capacity augmentation and optimization.

IT teams can then set systems to trigger actions for remediation. Executing remediation scripts or integrating with other orchestration and automation tools to take actions minimizes human tasks.

Proactively detecting issues and fixing such issues enables business continuity and assures customer satisfaction. In the age of digital transformation, such capabilities and AIOps solutions are an absolute must.

With machine learning, IT staff can continually and completely look for traffic exceptions. So IT experts can be far more effective in preventing and quickly responding to cyberattacks. So businesses can stay up and running, and stay out of the headlines.

These are just a few reasons why AI and machine learning have become key components of digital transformation. And that’s only going to accelerate moving forward.

“During the next few years, the technologies associated with this [digital transformation] wave — including artificial intelligence, cloud computing, online interface design, the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, cyberwarfare, robotics, and data analytics — will advance and amplify one another’s impact,”

note PwC analysts Leslie H. Moeller, Nicholas Hodson, and Martina Sangin.

Forrester Research says more than half of organizations already have implemented some form of an AI project. And it says another 20 percent are planning AI projects in the near future.

Your business and its IT staff should be thinking about how you can benefit from AI and machine learning too.

If you’re still on the fence, think of it like this. Machine learning is to network operations as air traffic control is to airline operations.

There are about 5,000 airplanes in the sky every hour in the U.S.
So you can’t use manual processes to track planes as they move around. It would be near impossible, and just plain dangerous.

So we use air traffic control to manage the chaos. The air traffic control system helps experts keep track of all the traffic (airplanes) among the different domains (various airports and airlines).

By bringing together the various data points and presenting a complete view of what’s happening, air traffic control helps avoid crashes and enables smoother traffic flow.

Machine learning likewise enables data correlation and analytics. That way, IT experts can keep the network and its applications running safely and on time. And that allows organizations to deliver better and safer customer experiences, make better use of their human and technological resources, and keep their applications and businesses moving forward.

That’s why artificial intelligence and machine learning are key technology enablers of the FixStream AIOps solution. They’re the AI in AIOps.

On behalf of FixStream and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip. We look forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice day. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

In my next blog, I’ll talk about automation.

Bishnu Nayak is the CTO for FixStream.

How AIOps Can Ensure SAP ERP Performance, Availability

How AIOps Can Ensure SAP ERP Performance, Availability

By Bishnu Nayak

All major businesses these days use enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms. You probably use one yourself.

As you probably already know, ERP software helps organizations more efficiently handle billing, customer management, human resources matters, ordering, provisioning, supply chain management, and more. ERP software also can allow for better decision-making and increased agility.

Clearly, ERP systems have a lot of functionality. And businesses rely on that functionality to keep their organizations up-and-running and the wheels of industry turning.

A Complex Situation

Because these platforms do so much, they are quite complex and consume lots of resources. ERP systems employ an array of software running on various infrastructure in many data centers.

So there are lots of moving pieces, and those piece parts can be widely distributed. That creates a lot of opportunity for problems that can adversely impact ERP performance and customer SLAs.

For example, a problem with a server or a network switch or router can cause a kink in a company’s invoicing or order booking process. This kind of thing can interfere with an organization providing its customers with their bills.

You don’t need me to tell you that is a big problem.

The Cost of Delay & Outages

This kind of a situation can confuse and frustrate customers. Worse yet, it can mean late or lost payments, creating cash flow issues for the company providing the product or service.

But that’s just one example of the kind of thing that can go wrong. There are plenty of real-life examples of how ERP- and IT-related outages hurt businesses.

A few years back HSBC had a problem with a software update. As a result, thousands of the bank’s customers couldn’t cash their paychecks. Worse yet, this occurred just before a holiday weekend.

More recently, the failure of a power system in a British Airways data center resulted in canceled flights affecting more than 75,000 passengers. The airlines ended up paying $68 million in passenger reimbursement costs. And its parent company experienced a 2.8 percent stock price drop.

According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute – or $300,000 an hour.

So businesses clearly want to avoid these kinds of scenarios. But it can be challenging to identify and address the sources of such issues. That challenge is even more daunting when it involves a distributed, multi-application ERP.

That’s why FixStream introduced AIOps in SAP. This solution provides multilayer correlation for SAP ERP users like you.

Ensuring Availability & Performance

AIOps in SAP allows you to quickly understand problems so you can take action to correct them before it impacts your customers and your business. That helps your business to increase customer satisfaction, better retain customers, protect your reputation, attract new customers, and grow your customer spend.

The top layer of FixStream’s AIOps in SAP focuses on business process KPI and SLA. It knows how many orders should be processed in an hour. It also understands how long it should take for an order to be processed from beginning to end.

The application layer is the second tier of AIOps in SAP.  It addresses every application in SAP (or Oracle, the other major ERP supplier). That could be a server, a database, or a business process defined within the application tier.

The third layer is the infrastructure layer. That’s made up of physical and virtual compute, network, and storage resources.

FixStream’s AIOps correlates data from those three layers and applies an algorithm on top of it. This data correlation and analysis enables AIOps in SAP to address a variety of use cases.

The Use Cases

For example, AIOps in SAP flags when an SLA violation occurs because processing of customer orders is stuck. FixStream’s AIOps then sets out to identify the source of the trouble via data correlation and analysis.

AIOps in SAP also can predict when things are headed for trouble. It does that by identifying repeating patterns and dependencies.

For example, FixStream’s AIOps can understand from past data that Black Friday is a high-volume order day. And it can see that when you have more than X number of orders, your order processing getter slower. This kind of information enables your business to address that potential problem – by allocating more resources to enable fast ordering during Black Friday – so your ordering process continues to move forward at the desired pace.

FixStream also addresses capacity management. So if, for example, the number of orders your ERP processes has been ramping up monthly over the past nine months, AIOps in SAP reveals that. FixStream also provides you with a holistic view of what you have and what your business needs in terms of compute power, network resources, and storage. That means you won’t be caught off-guard by changing resource requirements.

There’s one more really important thing that AIOps in SAP addresses: IT compliance.

FixStream automates IT compliance efforts, which today are typically done using manual processes. We enable that via FixStream’s data explorer capability.

Our data explorer provides automated, up-to-date reports of all domains. That reduces the time it takes for IT personnel to ensure compliance.

As a result, IT teams can more quickly and easily see if the organization is running the latest software release, has the needed patches in place, and the like. That beats today’s manually-intensive audits, which require more IT team resources and can take one or two months to complete. So IT team can focus on value-added efforts and spend less time just keeping the lights on.

ERP Assurance & IT Resource Optimization

Forrester has reported that 69 percent of IT budgets go to maintenance and operations. The other 31 percent go to new projects – with just 14 percent of that going to investments for customer-facing and new business opportunities.

But there’s a widespread acknowledgement that digital transformation is changing the role of IT and how IT dollars should be allocated.

So IT teams need sophisticated – but easy-to-use – tools so they can ensure the performance and availability of key applications. That includes the applications supported by ERP systems, on which their employers and customers rely.

FixStream AIOps facilitates digital transformation by automating the discovery and mapping of critical processes like order-to-cash to the underlying application and infrastructure entities. By doing so, it enables IT operations to analyze mission-critical business processes, reduce mean time to repair, and predict occurrence of issues across any portion of their hybrid IT stack.

It provides customizable, single-pane-of-glass views of SAP ERP businesses processes and their operational health. It groups applications into logical business processes like O2C, P2P, SCM, and eCommerce. It provides auto-discovery of SAP ERP business processes and applications across hybrid IT environments. And it visualizes data to help people easily see what’s happening.

And, as noted earlier, it does automated correlation of SAP ERP business KPIs to application and system errors; allows for faster root cause identification of SAP ERP issues; and detects anomalies and patterns to allow businesses to address issues before they affect business operations and customers.

In my next blog I’ll tackle the subject of migration.

FixStream Accelerates the Delivery of Business Workloads in a Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Environment

As originally published on Nutanix.com

This guest post was authored by Bishnu Nayak, FixStream Inc. CTO

In September 2016, I met and presented FixStream’s Algorithmic IT Operations (AIOps) platform to Nutanix’s Alliance and Alliance Engineering team. They noticed very quickly that FixStream addresses an important need for their customers – delivering an operational analytics platform that ensures service assurance of critical business workloads deployed on the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud infrastructure.

Built on cutting-edge Big Data technologies, FixStream’s correlation, analytics and visualization platform provides application-centric visibility in a hybrid IT environment by correlating across end-user transactions, applications and infrastructure layers. Its platform adds tremendous value in customers’ heterogeneous environment where Nutanix Enterprise Cloud is deployed, along with other multi-vendor infrastructure technologies.

We decided to work with Nutanix as our first HCI partner for several reasons – first we were impressed with their architectural approach to a hyperconverged solution; built ground up while keeping ecosystem innovation in mind. Second Nutanix presence in IT is very complementary to FixStream’s strategy in that both Nutanix and FixStream’s solutions enable customer to accelerate migration to a hybrid cloud environment.

Last (but not least) we have always been intrigued by the partner-centricity embedded in the company culture and vision. it’s pervasive in how Nutanix onboards, validates and market with its industry peers and partners.

Per Gartner, algorithmic IT operations platforms enable I&O leaders to meet the proactive, personal and dynamic demands of digital business by transforming the very nature of IT operations work via unprecedented, automated insight

“AIOps platforms utilize Big Data, modern machine learning, and other advanced analytics technologies to directly and indirectly enhance IT operations (monitoring, automation, and service desk) functions with proactive, personal, and dynamic insight.” (Gartner – “Innovation Insight for Algorithmic IT Operations Platforms”– Colin Fletcher, Refreshed: 26 April 2017 | Published: 24 March 2016)

Soon after our initial meeting, we entered into an official partnership agreement with Nutanix and with their support, developed a solution that was released in FixStream 6.0. The Nutanix alliance team has been extremely collaborative working with our R&D and engineering teams, ensuring the successful delivery of the desired capabilities.

FixStream delivers much-needed visibility and analytics for enterprises to successfully deploy critical business applications into Nutanix-powered (AHV or VMware hypervisor) environments and troubleshoot, plan and maintain going forward.

The FixStream platform:

  • Auto-discovers compute, storage, network entities from the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud environment by using Nutanix REST APIs and other FixStream native data collection techniques
  • Provides topology analytics across the entire customer network and visually represents how Nutanix Enterprise Cloud appliances connect with the end to end enterprise network, including virtual and physical networks, links, and interfaces
  • Auto-discovers application services such as app servers, databases, and web servers, running on Nutanix managed VMs, network flows, and available paths in/out into other entities in the network
  • Auto-discovers application dependencies and delivers application maps by connecting the underlying physical, virtual and logical entities in network, compute and storage with dynamic computation of network and storage path for application flows. It’s like Google Maps for critical enterprise business applications
  • Collects performance metrics, alerts and faults from all entities in the map and algorithmically correlate the events using time series analytics to identify patterns and anomalies. It then provides proactive and predictive remedial actions. For example: a business application’s performance slows down every Monday at peak hour. At the same time, the VM where the application service is running runs at high CPU, and the pattern repeats every week. FixStream identifies the trend and provides a remedial recommendation to proactively provision more CPU to the VM
  • Stores collected data contextually in a linearly scalable backend search database, allowing users to automate IT compliance and reporting functions

FixStream for the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud environment enables significant ROI for enterprises customers. According to the Digital Enterprise Journal (DEJ – 2017), 80% of companies surveyed experienced an average MTTR of 4.2 hours. The cost of a minute of service outage was $72,000 if revenue was lost. FixStream can reduce MTTR to minutes, therefore allowing companies to potentially save millions of dollars.

As technology transforms, it requires millions of data points to be manually correlated for daily operational activities such as planning, migration, workload placement, troubleshooting, and change management. This makes the activities extremely expensive, risky for business, and prone to errors.

FixStream automates these tasks by correlating these data points across transactions, applications and infrastructure.

The FixStream solution for the Nutanix environment delivers the following key business values:

  • Accelerates migration to Nutanix – With the end-to-end visualization, correlation and dependency mapping capabilities of FixStream, enterprises can now migrate from older infrastructure technologies to Nutanix HCI technology significantly reducing unforeseen business risks. The FixStream topology map, application dependency map, and data explorer capabilities provide the analytics required to plan and execute the transformation activities while lowering cost via FTE reduction and assuring performance of business services.
  • Automates troubleshooting of business outages and reduces MTTR from hours to minutes – FixStream’s application map and time series event correlation pinpoints the exact root cause of the problem in the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud infrastructure, as well as connectivity to larger corporate network connected to Nutanix real-time. This reduces the MTTR from hours to minutes. The FixStream platform proactively identifies performance bottlenecks and notifies the operations team to take corrective actions.
  • Resource Optimization and Application Workload Management – Through its performance Heatmap, FixStream provides analytics to operations team to realign resource allocation for optimization and cost reduction. Additionally, the Heatmap provides insights on available resources for new workload placement based on specific requirements for memory, disk and CPU. Automates IT Compliance and Reporting – Cross-domain, cross-vendor data across network, storage, compute and application are discovered by FixStream and stored in the backend ElasticSearch database. This allows allows users to query data for hierarchical output as needed for compliance analysis and reporting. The automation of this quarterly IT compliance activity significantly reduces costs for enterprises.

We are very excited to jointly launch this solution in the market and help Nutanix customers realize the benefits of FixStream’s innovative AIOps platform capabilities. For more details on this solution, please visit our website.

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.

© 2017 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix is a trademark of Nutanix, Inc., registered 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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