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Slowly but surely, we are moving beyond IT Service Level Agreements (SLA) that focus on availability towards SLAs that reflect the performance of the IT infrastructure on business services. The term “real-time monitoring” is often quoted, but the reality is that few Hybrid Infrastructure Management (HIM) and AIOps solutions offer genuine real-time monitoring. Whether real, real-time monitoring is actually required comes down to a question of risk analysis and risk appetite.
The key questions to answer are, what is the impact of IT performance degradation or outage on my business; what is the likelihood of performance degradation and outages; and, is the cost of ensuring against, or mitigating those risks, financially acceptable?
For many, if not most business sectors the risks are probably manageable by using monitoring tools that take snapshots of the infrastructure at intervals that range between 20 seconds and five minutes. But if you are executing high volumes of financial trades, have large numbers of players on Massively Multiplayer On-line Games (MMOG), or you are involved in ad-serving, then any degradation of response times, never mind outages, can cost millions. The growth in importance of online shopping is also probably putting retailers into this same category.
The other element in the equation is how this real-time monitoring helps to predict or spot problems before they occur and help remediate them. This takes solutions beyond simple process automation and simple machine learning algorithms into the realm of more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence. Our recent study of vendors in this market showed that, while many new HIM and AIOps solutions provide extensive machine learning analysis capabilities and sophisticated data analytics, few use neural networks and deep learning and fewer still can capture data on a per second basis and re-correlate predictions on the fly based on the data they are seeing.
So, it was interesting to talk to ITRS, a UK based company formed in 1997 (a veritable veteran in terms of the HIM and AIOps markets) that has been quietly building its experience and expertise working, until recently, almost exclusively in highly demanding Capital markets, monitoring and managing both sell-side and, more recently buy-side financial trading platforms. Under the leadership of CEO, Guy Warren, ITRS has been expanding its capabilities both organically and with acquisitions such as OP5, a Stockholm based IT monitoring and log analysis company with technology built by on top of the open source Nagios code, and Sumerian a capacity management firm.
Integrated with the core ITRS solution, Geneos, these acquisitions and other key alliances have given the company a true end-to-end visibility capability, including both synthetic and real user end-point monitoring. In answering our survey questions, it was clear that they had capabilities in real-time monitoring of high volumes of business-critical transactions with sophisticated predictive analytics to manage and optimise complex hybrid-cloud infrastructures. We will shortly be updating our research to incorporate the results from further vendors and expect to see ITRS at the top right of the chart indicating its ability to handle a large volume of transactions with high business impact in a complex IT environment.