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How DevOps and computer maintenance can help avoid costly outages

By: Ben Lovejoy

 

It's an age-old IT story: when everything goes right in IT, no one notices; when one thing goes wrong, everyone notices. If the topic of computer maintenance ever gets mainstream attention, it's for all the wrong reasons.

A Bloomberg terminal outage back in April is a case in point. "Faulty hardware" led to an outage that took thousands of trading terminals offline for a full two hours. The financial consequences to Bloomberg's clients—and the hit the company took to its reputation—are incalculable.

 

How DevOps and computer maintenance can help avoid costly outagesAn even bigger problem hit the New York Stock Exchange in July when an "unspecified technical glitch" forced the exchange to suspend trading for three and a half hours—the biggest problem it had experienced in more than a decade. That one came only a day after United Airlines had to ground hundreds of flights due to a computer glitch later reported to have been a failed network router.

 

The hidden importance of computer maintenance

Computer maintenance is probably the least sexy aspect of IT. But as these and many other examples demonstrate, it's of vital importance.

 

In the old IT world, there were limits to what was practical. You could carry out precautionary replacement of hardware that was beginning to show its age and have contingency systems ready to take over when primary systems went down, but all these measures involved upfront expenditure.

 

Getting the budget to provide exciting new functionality to systems and the business as a whole is one thing; it's a much tougher proposition to get funding to fix things that aren't broken and to buy hardware you hope you'll never have to use. It's even more difficult when planned replacement means temporary downtime, with the added costs of that to be included in the calculations.

 

Maintenance in modern-day IT

Fortunately, IT is different today. With DevOps, enterprises have the benefit of automation and continuous delivery, allowing for automated testing and continuous rollouts of enhancements and fixes. Additionally, the new IT gives you the ability to buy flexible computing capacity when you need it, enabling enterprises to carry out computer maintenance on their own systems without downtime or put contingency plans in place without incurring substantial capital costs.

 

You may even be able to outsource the bulk of your computing needs, meaning that both maintenance and contingency planning are outsourced at the same time.

 

The flexibility you gain through this approach pays dividends well beyond maintenance and contingency planning. You can ensure that capacity is available to support unexpected demand in good times as well as bad, such as the overnight success of a new product. With the new IT, you can feel confident answering questions such as "Can our IT systems handle a surge in usage?"

 

Get your team ready to positively and confidently answer these IT questions with lessons learned from HP's DevOps transformation.

 

 

 

About the author

Ben LovejoyBen Lovejoy

 

Ben Lovejoy is EU Editor of 9to5Mac and 9to5Google and a freelance tech writer whose published credits include the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Express, and many regional newspapers. He's written for more than 30 computer & technology magazines, as well as numerous businesses, websites, and corporate clients.

About the author

Connect with Ben:

 Follow me on Twitter @BenLovejoy

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