Operational Analytics Seen Boosting IT Performance
The case is being made for applying big data technologies to the management of IT infrastructure, especially DevOps and cloud deployments. The concept, also known as "advanced operations analytics," is being used to boost service performance, improve security and elevate IT to the point where it becomes more than just a cost center in an enterprise.
A 2014 survey of several hundred IT specialists helped make the case for using big data analytics to improve IT operations. The industry-sponsored report compiled by market researcher Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) noted that investments in operations analytics and the management of application performance could be applied across multiple use cases.
One reason is that emerging analytics tools can help address overarching issues like security that cut across nearly all IT operations. Boosting the security of both in-house and third party applications, for example, was cited most frequently as the best use of operations analytics, according to the EMA study. Indeed, security was cited as the top "domain" for operational analytics deployments.
Along with isolating security-related issues, the survey also found that operational analytics could be leveraged to pinpoint whether performance issues resided within applications, servers, networks or databases. Among the key benefits were reducing the internal costs of delivery applications and services along with helping to meet service level agreement requirements.
A large majority of respondents said they either aggregate or planned to aggregate operation data in a single data repository, with a balanced mixed of open source and commercial sources like NoSQL, SQL or Hadoop.
Among the leading benefits of investing in big data for IT were improving infrastructure performance by reducing the time required to fix problems. Another was squeezing more performance out of existing infrastructure. Moreover, the survey found that 65 percent of respondents planned to support their DevOps requirements with advanced operations analytics.
"A moment will come when [operational analytics] builds a well-defined bridge to business intelligence] not as a subset of BI, but as another emerging continent all its own," the EMA report predicted.
AppDynamics Inc., a fast-growing San Francisco-based specialist in application performance management and IT operations analytics, sponsored the big data for IT survey. Its customers and partners range from Amtrak and DIRECTV to Cisco System NASDAQ: CSCO) and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT).
Among the applications manages are those based on Red Hat JBoss middleware running on its OpenShift applications hosting platform. As part of Red Hat OpenShift ecosystem, AppDynamics' performance management tool allows customers running the online and enterprise versions of OpenShift to gauge application performance from a single location, the partners said.
The operational analytics study stressed that the technology has multiple uses across DevOps and cloud deployments. Hence, the survey predicted, "We will see a trend borne out of competition to promote solutions with easy/fast deployments and well-evolved templates to support multiple roles and multiple use cases."