“There will be an increased focus on automation for ITOps”
We spoke with Ciaran Byrne, VP of product management at OpsRamp about how the pandemic has challenged ITOps, explored some best practices, and looked at the future of OpsRamp. Which tools and/or technologies will be the most popular for ITOps pros in 2021?
JAXenter: We know the pandemic has caused more employees to work from home, increasing use of personal networks and UC systems. What challenges has this created for ITOps pros in terms of maintaining system uptime and performance and what are some best practices for addressing them?
Ciaran Byrne: The sudden shift to work from home for many organizations created an instant rush of critical initiatives for IT organizations. There were bandwidth and reliability problems to solve when all or most employees were using VPN to access the corporate network – overloading infrastructure. Compounding the problem was the massive uptick in the use of bandwidth-hogging video collaboration tools such as Zoom and MS Teams. IT leaders had to worry about the vast differences between home network setups, affecting both reliability and security. IT workers themselves struggled with working in isolation and determining how to do their jobs differently and prevent massive shadow IT and/or helpdesk explosions if issues weren’t resolved as expediently as before.
In many cases, IT leaders had to consider making on-the-fly investments in network infrastructure and home office equipment as well as new collaboration tools for their workforces, new collaboration tools for their ITOps and DevOps people to work remotely, and finally, SaaS monitoring tools which could deliver better real-time data on digital user experience across the tools and sites that employees were using every day. It was also critical to ramp up infrastructure monitoring for customer-facing websites and apps that were getting hit exponentially harder as physical stores and physical interactions went away or were vastly limited. Supply chain visibility also was constrained and became an imperative area to optimize in some organizations.
All of this required a coordinated response and effort between developers, IT operations people, security ops, and business stakeholders. Integration of disparate tools to get a unified view of performance is also becoming table stakes.
Best practices should include having complete visibility into the entire IT Infrastructure stack and its extension into the homes of the now remote workforce.
Finally, automation has been required to handle the increase in workflow that many IT teams are experiencing from everything going digital. This journey will continue in 2021.
Best practices should include having complete visibility into the entire IT Infrastructure stack and its extension into the homes of the now remote workforce. Then couple that IT infrastructure stack with the business services and applications to understand how each impacts and relates to the other.
JAXenter: What’s unique about OpsRamp’s new solutions? How do they stand out vis a vis similar solutions in the market and which features are ITOps pros likely to find most useful?
Ciaran Byrne: The solutions are built to handle the scalability needs of the largest enterprise. These additional offerings provide greater breadth to the overall platform while also enabling deep analysis by network and telecom professionals. Issues and alerts are immediately surfaced within the OpsRamp platform and correlated where appropriate automation can be executed to expedite remediation. This is one more step to eliminating the technology siloes that plague IT organizations today.
With OpsRamp’s AIOps engine at the center, now IT teams can correlate the events OpsRamp already tracks from servers and storage systems against the diverse traffic moving across the corporate network. This will give ITOps teams a more comprehensive platform for monitoring and management, with more data to resolve high priority user issues quickly and optimize the environment.
JAXenter: We know AI has become an important part of IT operations management platforms. How does OpsRamp see the use of AI for IT operations management evolving over the next year?
Ciaran Byrne: AIOps will advance beyond event correlation, in which algorithms are written to filter out duplicate alerts and identify the root cause, into automation of all IT operations workflows. AI and ML technologies will be used to drive contextual automation across development and operations to save manual effort and increase the accuracy of response. Advanced solutions will merge telemetry data in real-time to drive predictive analytics and real-time automation, helping IT operations teams deliver results that are more responsive to the business and customers.
Given the fact that many organizations are still operating in a work-from-home model, network monitoring will remain critical to maintain productivity and security across a diverse array of personal WiFi connections and cloud-based collaboration tools.
JAXenter: Your recent study found that network performance monitoring and diagnostic tools were among the most popular purchases by IT teams in 2020. Which tools and/or technologies do you expect will be the most popular for ITOps pros in 2021?
Ciaran Byrne: Given the fact that many organizations are still operating in a work-from-home model, network monitoring will remain critical to maintain productivity and security across a diverse array of personal WiFi connections and cloud-based collaboration tools. Observability, a more flexible and inclusive form of monitoring, will go mainstream as IT environments continue to become more distributed, ephemeral and converged. Observability tools will allow IT pros to more readily solve issues plaguing user experience, which aren’t apparent by looking at traditional uptime and availability metrics. Observability will also drive next-generation software development, forcing software developers to think beyond coding to consider chaos engineering and API access during software development. Data collected, studied and used through observability will break the barriers between operations and development and help drive agility to meet business needs and competitive challenges. As teams and organizations continue to be lean, there will be an increased focus on automation for ITOps.