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How useful would a bird’s eye view be to British Airways?

June 6, 2017 | Peter Job
Peter Job

As founder and CEO, since 2003 Peter has been helping IT executives retain control of their digital ecosystems. After starting Intergence Peter went on to create Hyperglance, the world’s first 3D visualisation tool for IT infrastructure and application process flows. He has brought that expertise to bear in the creation of Stratiam – Intergence’s cornerstone technology platform. Previously Peter held senior sales and management positions at Gandalf, Alcatel, ThruPoint and Omnetica. Outside of technology his passions include sport and if he wasn’t running Intergence he would love to be part of an F1 pit crew.

Why companies neglect infrastructure visibility at their peril

The majority of IT professionals at all levels I have spoken to over the last few days just haven’t bought the line “that a power-failure” caused the spectacular outage which led to the passenger and flight cancellations last week.

Whilst it is very easy to pontificate about the demise of the “world’s favourite airline”, an educated guess usually suggests that it was a combination of minor issues which combined into a major outage. This could be due to old systems and multiple siloed teams not talking to each other.

Whilst the obvious question is “why did there appear to be no credible BCP plan?”, the reality is that there probably was one, but the complexity of the systems meant that the situation quickly escalated out of control.

For a company such as BA who spends a lot of the time looking down from above, I am sure that a bird’s eye view of the whole supply chain would be really useful. Part of the problem is that infrastructure is almost always underinvested in, and very complex with multiple silos of data with respective teams only taking responsibility for their own pieces of the puzzle.

What we believe is needed is an end-to-end service view that takes the view of the customer and reports back in an integrated and simple way. In fact, it’s really a CIO version of a “heads-up display” which takes all of the highly complex systems and presents the data in a meaningful and simplistic format.

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Our Stratiam platform provides exactly this ability to give the IT leader a seamless view of the customer journey across all the complex parts of the infrastructure and how applications interact. Stratiam takes data from multiple silos and provides simple dashboard views giving a much better birds eye view of how the service is operating.

Stratiam Microservice & Container Monitoring is powered by SysDig the container intelligence company. It is important when monitoring microservice architecture that you employ a monitoring solution that provides the visibility of exactly how your container and microservice applications are interconnected and performing. Stratiam powered by SysDig has two facets: Container Vision and Service Vision that are deployed within a dedicated monitoring container. The container is then deployed by the orchestration system to your hosting infrastructure where it automatically monitors the containers and microservice applications via the kernel.

This is fast becoming a best-practice standard because other monitoring solutions use an embedded agent or collector within every container you deploy, thus increasing cost and complexity coupled with less functional capability. 

Stratiam powered by SysDig mitigates both scaling costs and complexity through having a dedicated monitoring container. This provides greater automated functional capability as it monitors passively via the kernel of the system host thus providing far greater visibility of your container and microservice architecture. This includes visibility of ephemeral instances as they spin up/down, all with the additional functional capability of advanced trace-driven troubleshooting.

Stratiam enhances your visibility in creating app-centric and service-centric views for smarter monitoring and alerting of your business microservice applications. You can auto-discover your apps and apply custom metrics and tagging to reduce workload and visualise informative intelligent data. It achieves this with anomaly detection, event correlation, and deep system insight captures that tell you the root cause of service affecting problems. Stratiamä powered by SysDig is available as a SaaS service or as an on-premise solution with an optional managed service offering.

The other observation is that this situation which occurred with BA is likely to become more regular as increased complexity and speed is introduced into the IT landscape. As organisations move along digital transformation programs and introduce microservices this will mean that monitoring and management will become even more important. A recent survey showed that less than 50% of CIO’s saw microservices as being important or relevant. Events such as the BA outage are great illustrations of the need for CIO’s to understand and be able to react quickly and the best way to do this is a “single view and source of truth” across the whole of the IT infrastructure.

Which is why we have decided to launch Stratiam powered by SysDig which enables companies to manage their containers using our proven operating model to give IT leaders greater visibility with the flexibility of a SaaS based model. Just as importantly from a data sovereignty perspective customer data will be stored within the UK jurisdiction. We are also delighted that at the same time we have invested in a new office based south of Cambridge which gives us the flexibility to offer more to our clients and staff as we continue to grow our business and Stratiam solutions.

Our new investments in expanded services capabilities are due to our confidence that more of our customers will need this ability to gain a bird’s eye view of their entire infrastructure and with Stratiam we will be able to expand the visibility and control which in turn will deliver more reliable and robust infrastructure solutions.  

 

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