AIOps: Making Sense of IT Operations Data
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In 2021, one of IT's biggest challenges is the sheer number of systems that make up the average IT operational toolbox. For example, in the security domain alone, it's not uncommon for an organization to have five or six overlapping security tools. Then there are the applications designed for other purposes that include security-related features and capabilities.
Extrapolate the same approach to other domains, such as networking or infrastructure performance, and IT can quickly end up with dozens of tools all producing copious quantities of operational data. AIOps can help operations make sense of the data to make high-value decisions on behalf of the business.
In its 2021 Market Guide for AIOPs, Gartner breaks down AIOps into two types: domain centric and domain agnostic. As the name implies, domain-centric AIOps solutions focus on a specific domain, such as application, networking or infrastructure performance. Domain-agnostic solutions focus on more than one domain. These solutions may not be as functionally deep as a domain-centric solution, but they are ideally built to integrate with and aggregate data from other solutions.
Gartner paints a picture of a future market dominated by domain-agnostic AIOps tools. However, at least for now, the AIOps story is one of "better together," with both domain-centric and domain-agnostic solutions working together to deliver on the promise.
If we map out a simplified version of an AIOps solution, it might look something like the matrix below. Each row represents a domain managed by IT. No doubt, this would include numerous applications, infrastructure and networking technologies, as well as specialized applications used to manage critical functions, such as IT security or services.
The columns represent the environments in which these resources reside/function. In the example, Application One resides exclusively in an on-prem environment. Application Two resides in two private clouds and has resources in Azure. Application Three resides strictly in AWS.
AIOps: Full-stack observability
A domain-centric AIOps tool like AppDynamics might cover every relevant box across rows one, two and three. Other domain-centric tools might be used to manage each of the other rows. A domain-agnostic AIOps tool, such as BigPanda, could also be deployed to add additional AI functionality and unify the approach to IT operations management.
All of the tools in your technology stack may contribute data, including those systems with limited to no AI functionality. That can be a LOT of data.
IT operational leaders looking for a tool that can bring order to the chaos often look for a solution that will allow them to see everything through "a single pane of glass." Even if the data is served up via role-specific dashboards, we're still talking about a lot of data -- and not all of it relevant. IT operations is left to sift through the signals to try to make sense of what's happening.
AIOps can make their job easier in several ways.
Sifting through the data set: Instead of manually trying to figure out what's most important, AIOps uses AI and machine learning to identify patterns and anomalies that might warrant attention. You might have domain-specific solutions that already do this, but they typically only analyze the data right in front of them. An AIOps platform can correlate data from seemingly unrelated sources and analyze it faster and more effectively than even the most experienced IT analyst.
Focused attention: One of the common challenges with traditional IT operational tools is the number of false alerts. Too many alerts can have your IT staff running in circles. On the other hand, lowering thresholds could cause you to miss something critical. AIOps captures the system and the operator's response to events to prioritize signals.
Automation: Some traditional IT operations tools allow you to automate functions, but often, the IT professional needs to decide what can and should be automated. AIOps can make that decision easier by correlating responses to incidents to identify those things that can and should be automated.
Increased collaboration: When an event occurs, you might not immediately know whether it's a problem with the environment, the application, networking or even a potential security incident. An alert might even trigger action from more than one team. AIOps can help break down the silos between teams, so everyone knows what everyone else is doing to help resolve the event.
Is your IT team deluged with so much operational data that they're having a hard time focusing on what matters? We invite you to request a demo. We'll show you how AIOps can help you make high-value decisions faster and more effectively. We'll also share insights on how to get started building an AIOps strategy tailored to your business goals and requirements.