Network complexity is literally growing exponentially and the ability for organizations to manage the increasing complexity isn’t growing with it. Staff budgets are often shrinking or staying level yet the sprawl of systems; servers, computers, sensors, etc. continues unabated. Without making use of artificial intelligence operations or AIOps it really is impossible to visualize your systems, let alone diagnose them quickly when a problem needs to be rapidly remedied.
FixStream, is making a name for itself as a premium provider of AIOps solutions to some of the most substantial companies.
“The business is accelerating so quickly that IT organizations need to reinvent how to manage and operate their business-critical processes, or risk having their competition leave them behind,” said Mike Jude, research analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “FixStream provides an industry-first end-to-end correlation and visualization of Oracle ERP transactions and metrics that is a real game changer, and a critical AIOps platform that I believe IT Operations will kill to have in their networks.”
We agree with Mike. Digital transformation is an ongoing struggle for companies who need to explore new models and ways of doing business to ensure they aren’t disrupted or disintermediated by a new entrant or an adjacent company.
Technology solutions today are generally additive – meaning more systems are thrown into the mix and APIs often interconnect the systems to one another. Try as they might, developers and system architects do not catch all the potential issues that could be caused by one device outage leading to system-wide failures which are difficult to diagnose.
If the goal of transformation is indeed agility then experiencing ever-longer outages when something breaks is the exact opposite of what needs to happen. Recently I spoke with Enzo Signore, the company’s CMO, he discussed how FixStream sees itself as a big data analytics company and a correlation platform for hybrid IT. Shortly thereafter we covered the large-scale airline outage in Europe where Enzo said the following:
This is EXACTLY what FixStream is addressing – the correlation between applications and infrastructure is one of the most complex to determine, given the distributed architecture and the siloed nature of IT.
Visibility of the end-to-end flows is limited and therefore precious time and money is wasted. In this case impacting travelers all over Europe.
Today’s incident raises several questions:
In this case it took 15 minutes to discover the network issue, but why did it take 4 hours to restore the service?
How many people were involved in getting to the root cause?
What would have been the impact if it had taken an hour to determine the issue?
Also, were they able to determine the reasons behind the network failure so that it can be prevented from happening in the future?
FixStream just announced its newest release will have out-of-the-box discovery and correlation of Oracle ERP business processes and transactions with infrastructure in order to break down the barriers of communication between IT and business operations.
Specifically, FixStream 6.0 will provide support for Oracle ERP 12.X, Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle VM hypervisor and Oracle Fusion Middleware in on-premises, hybrid, public or Oracle ERP cloud deployments.
“FixStream provides a powerful analytics platform that delivers the industry’s first end-to-end view of Oracle ERP transaction flows correlated with applications and infrastructure in hybrid IT environments,” said Bojan Simic, founder and chief analyst, Digital Enterprise Journal. “FixStream can be deployed in few hours thanks to its out-of-the-box discovery of Oracle ERP applications and delivers instant tangible value to business and IT operations.”
In a conversation with Sameer Padhye (pictured), FixStream CEO, he gave us a candid look into the company and industry as a whole. He said, “Complexity and invisibility are not good friends from an operations perspective.” He continued, “You need to analyze, correlate and visualize to gain insight on an invisible world.”
Sameer is surprised how bad things are – even in large companies, explaining that growth and transformation have led to hybrid-cloud in many companies. He said, “Organizations have no idea where the app environment is and what storage, network and compute resources it uses.”
He said when an app goes down today, it can take a month to find what the issue is. He then added emphatically, “FixStream can find it for you you in minutes.”
He went on to explain he used to work at Cisco and when there were problems with deployments they were often struggling to figure out where the problems were. He elaborated by saying there was no shortage of tools from networking companies as well as for compute and storage.
The implication was the need for AIOps to correlate and visualize all of these systems.
We asked at what point a company should consider adding AIOps and he told us companies fall into three categories:
- Premise-based: They can still benefit from AIOps.
- Hybrid-Planning: The best time to bring a vendor like FixStream in. They can help an organization determine what happens if an asset moves and which applications depend on which assets and what relationships need to migrate.
- People who have moved certain apps to the cloud are also great potential users of AIOps.
He told me FixStream is constantly analyzing all of the devices on a network to determine if there is a problem. Some of the things it logs are MAC address, the number of errors, buffers, and if bandwidth is exceeding limits. It then correlates to see dependencies between network, compute, storage, applications, databases, buffer sizes, log files, MAC tables, routing tables and more.
In this manner, the solution can use past events which may have preceded larger problems like an outage as predictors of future problems. These correlations are then presented to the user of the software with predictions about what they might mean.
Once problems are identified, customers are able to go back in time and see things like cache size and CPU spikes in time series to get an idea of how their living, breathing infrastructure was doing. He added, “Humans cannot detect this.” He gave an example of an ecommerce site that sees the number of orders dropping as a result of a network issue. He continued, “We can display the correlation between financial metrics (like orders, invoices, etc.) or an unresponsive electronic cart with infrastructure issues so that we can quickly correct them and avoid significant financial impact to the business.”
Sameer said, quite often problems are caused when someone changes something which impacts something else or when contention between devices occurs, subsequently causing a failure.
This is just one use-case outlined in the Swiss-Army-knife list of functions FixStream provides:
- Migration – currently 70%-80% of time is spent planning. AIOps helps speed this process up.
- Optimization – customers can see a heat map and which servers are red-hot and which are underutilized.
- Compliance – allowing for documentation, proof of control, ensuring applications are walled off from one another, etc.
Sameer finished explaining FixStream by saying it is like Google Maps for a company’s IT infrastructure. Continuing with analogies he said it is also like radar for air-traffic-control or a device which lets you see the wires in a wall before you drill.
Our opinion is companies dealing with growing networks, compliance and transformation have to leverage technology to ensure the growth of their solutions won’t impede their operations. AIOps and FixStream’s solutions are certainly an important part of ensuring networks are running optimally in a digitally transforming enterprise world.