Delivering Visibility Across the Enterprise—The Cloud Hero Sees All
I recently have been thinking about the hero Daredevil. Matt Murdock, the man behind the mask, is blinded by a radioactive substance as he saves someone from being hit by a truck. But as a result of the exposure to radiation, his other senses are heightened to the extreme. And he takes on the abilities of a “made” superhero.
The enterprise is often in search of a similar type of hero, one who has far-reaching abilities to see deep into the dark corners of IT. Often, it is an individual or team who works to remove the complexity as companies embrace cloud-based and SaaS apps intermingled with on-premises apps. As cords of digital connections and networks imprison corporations’ apps and infrastructure and IT groups are enveloped by smoke screens created by networking in the cloud, companies become trapped by a lack of visibility into the inner workings of their infrastructure. This blindness into the performance of both network and applications means that IT engineers spend 10-50% of their time on root-cause analysis, according to Forrester Research.
Enter the cloud hero to save the day! Being able to peer through application and network data to extract meaningful and actionable insights is what separates cloud heroes from those without the proper super powers. Simply throwing tools at the problem does not increase one’s visibility either – it can cloud one’s vision even more. The typical enterprise has 6-10 network monitoring and troubleshooting tools in use, and 10% of large enterprises have more than 25 (Note: paid subscription required for full report). This clouded visibility means that engineers often receive conflicted information which paralyzes action. This can silo teams and cripple the decision-making process.
A cloud hero busts through this with unifying abilities. Doug Bradley, senior information systems engineer at SAS, gave his team an enhanced means to application and network visibility with a Riverbed solution. “With Riverbed, issues that might have taken weeks previously take only days now. With the data stored in the appliances, we can just dial back in time. It’s like a time machine,” says Bradley. “We appreciate the ability to see key performance indicators at a glance.”
Actual clouds are opaque by nature and in order to see through them, you must be either assisted by technology or possess super hero characteristics. In much the same way, when companies develop applications in the cloud, visibility into their performance can be dramatically hindered without the proper powers. As app developers speed up their development process through the use of third-party components or microservices, insight into the performance of the internal operations of these applications becomes much more opaque. According to Sonatype which runs the central repository for many Java software building tools, these components now account for 80 to 90% of code in a typical enterprise application.
Application performance blindness struck Southeastern Grocers as they pushed to develop a new app to deliver personalized digital coupons and content to their customers’ smartphones. As they were focused on delivering a gratifying end-user experience, Southeastern Grocers concentrated on using technology from best-of-breed providers as well as the Microsoft Azure cloud. But what they discovered was as they worked to create a “unified experience for the customer,” they found they didn’t have enough visibility into all of the services and their performance.
During the initial stages of development, they could see that there were connection issues where a gateway wasn’t releasing expired connections to the connection pool, but they didn’t have deep enough visibility to find the root cause.
“We were discouraged because we weren’t able to break it down into the actual line of code inside of the system so the vendor could issue a fix,” says Darren McDaniel, IT lead for marketing at Southeastern Grocers.
A hero doesn’t give up when confronted with an adversary. McDaniel was able to fix the issue as a result of enhanced visibility provided by Riverbed solutions. The solutions were designed to monitor applications deployed within Microsoft Azure Cloud Services and McDaniel was able to visualize application behavior in real-time.
“We were able to prove the issue and take it back to the gateway vendor team,” says McDaniel. “We very seldom have issues anymore. Riverbed has helped us to narrow those down and fix the issues before they become an issue.”
So, while Daredevil lost his vision but enhanced his other senses as a result of his transformation, both SAS and Southeastern Grocers gained augmented visibility and insight into their application and network performance – in the cloud, in branch offices, in data centers, anywhere—because of the powers given by Riverbed.
Your IT team can get super powers as well. Be a hero, a CLOUD hero!