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FixStream AIOps Platform Increases the Operational Efficiency of Your Virtualized Environment

Bishnu Nayak, CTO

In my previous job as an executive architect for a Tier 1 telco, I was spearheading the IT modernization and legacy transformation program. Virtualization and cloud enablement were two key ingredients of the transformation strategy, in addition to refactoring enterprise applications to make them cloud-ready. During the migration from legacy to virtualization, we had to assemble a big, cross-functional team to manually extract significant amounts of data from various systems to understand existing applications’ footprints, dependencies across the infrastructure stack to determine business impact, plan for migration, and ensure that performance of mission critical applications wouldn’t be impacted post-migration to virtualization. The IT infrastructure team had an equally tough task on their hands: workload allocation and placement and making sure there were adequate data points and visibility that would help them properly manage the multi-tenant virtualized environment. We successfully migrated a massive number of business applications from legacy to virtualization on VMWare technologies, but it took a huge number of man hours as we were lacking a platform that could automate the planning, execution, and validation activities.

One of the primary reasons I decided to join FixStream was to be a part of the vision to solve similar industry-recognized problems that challenge enterprise IT with new technology adoption as the underlying IT stack becomes more hybrid and distributed. FixStream’s emerging AIOps platform provides the much needed “single-pane-of-glass” view into the complex IT infrastructure that encompasses fragmented and distributed multi-vendor, multi-domain technologies – legacy, virtualization, hybrid cloud, containers, etc.

Per Gartner, AIOps platforms are software systems that combine big data and AI or machine learning functionality 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.

Enterprises use artificial intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) platforms to enhance and, occasionally, replace classical application performance monitoring (APM) and network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) tools.

In today’s environment, there are many vendors providing enterprise virtualization solutions, including VMWare, Microsoft, Xen, Oracle, and Openstack. VMWare has been the predominant leader for quite some time. Most enterprises are in a place today where multiple vendor solutions are in use, requiring expertise in different technologies to support day-to-day operations to ensure critical business functions run with the needed SLA.

FixStream’s AIOps platform built on big data technologies solves this problem by correlating cross-domain, cross-vendor entities in context with business application, device group and other operational contexts specific to enterprises. AIOps is intended to benefit infrastructure, application, as well as business operations teams, with a single converged platform built from the ground up, unlike legacy solutions built using various tools.

FixStream’s solution for the virtualization environment demonstrates the following capabilities:

  1. Auto-discovery – “Know what you don’t know in timely manner.” One of the biggest challenges in the virtualized environment is the difficulty of knowing/understanding the application and infrastructure resources due to dynamic design concepts such as vMotion and workload auto-scaling. FixStream auto-discovers the virtual infrastructure (VMs, hypervisors, vswitches, vLANs etc.) as well as application service entities deployed and dependent on those entities and keeps them up to date. Thus, you get a reliable, dynamic inventory which becomes the foundational building block for operations activities.
  2. Topology – “Know how things are connected and the dependencies and relationships between them.” Think of the days when people used to use paper maps to navigate their way from point A to B, and how technology has evolved to the point where Google Maps reliably navigates you across your points of interests, reducing noise and getting you to your destination faster and more reliably. The traditional way of managing your network topology via Visio diagram simply doesn’t work in virtualized environment, as things change quite often – a few times a day, sometimes in minutes. FixStream topology in the virtualized environment shows the dynamic view of how VMs connect with virtual networks such as vswitch, VLAN and to the physical hypervisor, network, and storage layers.  It does so by collecting data from vCenter, directly from VMs, the physical layer in a VMWare environment.
  3. Application Discovery and Mapping (FixStream iMAN) – “Know the locality of your critical business services.” Dependency mapping between application services and VMs and virtual network requires you to keep up with the frequent changes and compute dynamic mapping. The FixStream platform accomplishes this by periodically discovering application service instances, flows and mapping those to VMs, vSwitches, and VLANs they are associated with and keeps the dependency up to date. This is like Google Maps for your application which is then further correlated with real-time health and performance information for all entities in the map.
  4. Performance HeatMap – “Know where your available capacities are without manual effort. FixStream creates a performance HeatMap across all entities in a virtualized environment to represent their relative utilization in color coding using various parameters such as CPU, memory and disk. The HeatMap can be recalculated based on specific requirements with workload placement and resource allocation.
  5. Data Explorer/Analytics – “Know the hierarchical relationship between cross-domain entities and automate the compliance reporting.” FixStream provides an intuitive data explorer view for the users to pull auditing and compliance reports just with two to three clicks. For example – you want to create a report to know compute, network, storage vendors, platform, and version number for critical business applications. The output is up to date and reflects the state of the environment, which is extremely reliable for auditing and compliance needs.

With the above technical capabilities, FixStream’s operational analytics platform ensures the delivery of following ROI benefits for enterprises who are looking for a single platform to manage their virtualized environment:

  • Reduce the MTTR from hours to minutes – With topology analysis, flow2path analytics, historic event correlation, and anomaly detection, customers using FixStream have reportedly reduced MTTR from multiple hours to minutes.
  • Optimize resource allocation in virtualized environment – FixStream’s performance heatmap provides required insight for operations teams to optimally allocate application workload while reducing CAPEX by repurposing unused capacity to services that need them.
  • Reduce business risk in moving to virtualized infrastructure – FixStream’s discovery and dependency mapping across legacy and virtualized infrastructure provides you with reliable data to automate migration planning and significantly reduce the number of FTEs required for the task as well as business risk.
  • Reduce FTE for IT Compliance and Auditing – Compliance reporting and auditing activities are more cumbersome and require more man hours than the legacy environment due to the dynamic nature of the data required to be aggregated. The FixStream analytics/data explorer view provides an automated way to pull these reports while keeping the data up to date, significantly reducing the FTEs needed for the task.

Reflecting back to my previous job and challenges, I am convinced that if we had a platform like FixStream, it would have helped tremendously with not only cutting down the duration of migration to virtualization, but also optimizing resources, resulting in significant savings for the enterprise as well as the creation of efficient workload placement for new business services.

I am happy to announce that we will be participating in the VMworld Conference in Las Vegas from Aug. 27 through 30. If you would like to see the industry recognized FixStream platform in action and how it can help you gain control of your virtualized environment, stop by our booth 700 O, in the New Innovator Area. For more information, check out the details of our solution.

About Alex Hudson

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