IT Operations

Know Your Poison, and How to Remedy

December 7, 2016 | Yitz Fink
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Written by Yitz Fink, Product Expert at Loom Systems

It's a long known fact in the medical community, that the best form of treatment for any ailment is prevention.

Whether illness or trauma, if you can prevent the onset initially, you are already better off. Its why we take vaccinations, exercise and wear seatbelts.

But in some cases, we don’t even know that there is a problem until there is an exposure. I’ve already discussed in the past, that it would be amazing to know that something is happening right now, because we don't always realize it till after that event has already happened.

Its also a known medical fact that in some cases, people can develop a resistance to certain toxins and poisons. Kind of like Wesley from the Princess Bride, who develops a resistance to Iocane powder.

But that’s not our discussion here is it.

Within the IT world, we have common antidotes for common problems. Software patches from vendors to fix annoying bugs, restricting access to certain applications that can cause initial issues, restricting access based on users, and a whole slew of common knowledge from knowledge bases both internally and externally.

I’ve spoken recently with CIO’s IT Directors/Managers and a whole slew of IT Professionals who are living with the problem, simply because they don't know about an alternative. They try to find workarounds to common issues, because it's quicker and easier than finding the actual root cause to the problem and fixing it from the source. Because finding a solution requires digging deep and looking at why your application is working unlike it should, and what could be the related issue.

Kind of like when we were younger and had to stand on a chair with one leg up in the air and hold our phone up high because that was the only way to get cellular reception. Except that now is not 2001, and those corduroy pants don’t look good on us any more.

So the question is how did we get here, and how do we progress?

We’ll start with how we got there:

  1. Abundance of Data, Lack of Knowledge: Our Senior support staff are amazing. But they still haven’t reached the  Neil DeGrasse Tyson level of knowing absolutely everything. This sometimes comes as a shock to us when they say “I’m not sure what it is, let's wait and see if it goes away by itself”.
  2. Excessive Monitoring: Too many trees to see the forest. We can use standard monitoring tools to get an idea of what is happening in our network. The problem becomes when those alerts are tuned to tight, and then we have alert fatigue. So many IT managers in specific have complained about this that it’s just nuts.
  3. Legacy Systems: True, there are some applications we just can't drop yet. The problem is that it's likely that the person who initially wrote the application is retired and playing word games on the beaches of Cabo. So when a problem does occur, you restart the system and hope it fixes itself and pray to the Gods of IT.

pap

So now that we know how we got here, is there any way that we can progress as IT Professionals, to get out of this vicious cycle?

Let’s take a look at each problem:

Data to Wisdom: We all know about the Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom diagram that basically allows us to take loads of unstructured raw data and turn it into something contextualized and coherent. Now we can make decisions based on hard facts and patterns.

scheme

If you don't already have a tool in place for Log Analysis, then you’re behind in the game. Big data is where it is today, and being able to extract real insight from your machine data. Most IT teams have a log aggregation solution and even basic open source tools to look into their logs, like Splunk or Sumo Logic, and Monitoring tools like Solarwinds, Nagios and BMC. The problem is, like with SIAM, is trying to make sure that all tools are playing nicely with each other and offer you a wholesome solution

Monitoring. Big brother or Big pain?

Monitoring tools can be very useful. Once you are able to tweak the proper thresholds, you are able to see that problems are happening. More often than none, these tools throw numerous “false positives” a day, which causes alert fatigue. So now you know there is a problem, and knowing is half the battle, right?

gi-joe

Almost. Knowing what the problem is and how to fix it is more of where we need to be in this era of Digital transformation.

Legacy Systems. Give me back my Tetris!

Companies need IT and DevOps teams at the forefront of their Businesses. This requires resources, and some of those include low and mid level innovation in the forms of systems that connect tools on a grander scheme. Internally we will call them the CRM or ERP or Database or other obscure names that we may use to define a tool developed by a lonely developer a few years back to resolve an immediate problem that was only supposed to be a temporary fix. The key to get back on track is to use a tool that can understand the components of the original program.

SIAM(Service Integration and Management).

Ok so we know what is ailing us, and how to fix this. We can use multiple tools that are costly and effective, and if we use them together, we can see the whole picture.

Best case scenario: One tool to rule them all.

Enter Loom Systems. One tool, all solutions to all big data needs. From Log Aggregation and analysis, to monitoring, auto structuring of components within the log, to offering insight, knowledge of the root cause, and wisdom on how to fix it. Don't buy 4 adequate tools to do the job of one really unique platform that encompasses all requested solutions.

Know your poison, know your remedy, and keep kicking ass in IT. Businesses can’t succeed unless they have an awesome IT behind them.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq4j1LtCdww&w=560&h=315]

Tags: IT Operations DevOps Big Data CIO Log Analysis log management Big Data Analytics

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