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Organization is the first step toward an agile IT Operations Bridge

MironMizrahi

 

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Several years ago, I was delivering a large-scale implementation of an application monitoring platform. It was the first time this customer had attempted to deploy any sort of near real-time dashboard of application performance and availability. Their main users were select application support teams who, for the first time, had insight into data which had traditionally been available only to infrastructure teams and the helpdesk.

While this was a long term project, after a few months I started noticing something odd: Every few weeks, other teams would approach us with requests like, “Can we use this to track capacity utilization?” or “Can we use this to monitor batch applications?” To my surprise, I found out that these were not new objectives; they had been wanting these capabilities for years, but their requirements never made it into our project, so we were simply not collecting the necessary data.

 

Why you need monitoring requirements before applications go live

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I was describing to another customer what the Agile Operations Bridge is. (To learn more about the concept, read my earlier blog post, “Why your IT Operations Bridge holds the keys to increasing agility.”) They told me the same story: “Users complain about why they can’t get the data and the reports they need, or how it takes us too long to fix anything.”

What gives?

These two cases, separated by quite a few years, are symptomatic of the prevailing approach, which treats monitoring as a checkpoint that needs to be satisfied before going live. But since projects are rarely accountable for the ongoing operation of what they release, developers do the absolute minimum needed to cross monitoring off the list and throw it over the fence to the Ops team.  This then leads to problems like inability to fix issues quickly despite all the monitoring tools, or difficulty getting reports and views that actually contain meaningful data.

IT operations becomes slow and inefficient not because of a lack of tools or processes, but because monitoring is viewed as something that can just happen without any upstream or downstream considerations. For example, it is rare for projects to work through the process of understanding what the operational reporting requirements are and ensure that monitoring actually collects the data efficiently and in a way that provides what the reports need. It is far more common for the affected stakeholders to try and retrofit their requirements in after everything has gone live.

 

5 aspects of monitoring by design

DevOps is changing this mindset with its “shift left” approach and developers taking ownership of monitoring. But many organizations have not fully adopted DevOps and in any case, there will always be significant areas which still use a waterfall approach and traditional IT Ops structures.

So how can IT Operations address this gap?

The Agile Operations Bridge service can help here, and the first step in its implementation is “Organize.” This step is really about enabling the team to adapt to a new normal—monitoring by design. This includes aspects such as:

  • Moving toward a service-oriented approach by understanding and defining what the term “service” means
  • Discovering and modeling services, because so many of the mature capabilities on an agile Operations Bridge rely on it (e.g., so we can use models in event correlation rules)
  • Understanding who needs to consume monitoring data, how they want to consume it, what data we need to collect, and where we can get this data
  • Pinpointing who is accountable for providing the data
  • Assessing whether the right roles for monitoring and reporting exist and what the “right team” looks like

Just as teams can’t win championships by fielding a random group of players (even if they are really good), you won’t succeed with monitoring unless you figure out from the outset what you need, how you are going to get it, and who the right people are to do it.

 

Watch this video for more about the HPE Agile Operations Bridge service.

 

Miron Mizrahi is WW Solution Marketing Lead of Cloud, Converged Security, and IT Operations at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software Services. Follow him on Twitter at @MironMizrahiHPE.

 

Related Links:

HPE Business Service Management services

HPE Operations Bridge

 

 

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