New Data Reveals Widespread Downtime and Security Risks in 99% of Enterprise Private Cloud Environments
February 08, 2017

Doron Pinhas
Continuity Software

Share this

Industrial and technological revolutions happen because new manufacturing systems or technologies make life easier, less expensive, more convenient, or more efficient. It's been that way in every epoch – but Continuity Software's new study indicates that in the cloud era, there's still work to be done.

With the rise of cloud technology in recent years, Continuity Software conducted an analysis of live enterprise private cloud environments – and the results are not at all reassuring. According to configuration data gathered from over 100 enterprise environments over the past year, the study found that there were widespread performance issues in 97% of them, putting the IT system at great risk for downtime. Ranked by the participating enterprises as the greatest concern, downtime risks were still present in each of the tested environments.

A deep dive into the study findings revealed numerous reasons for the increased operational risk in private cloud environments, ranging from lack of awareness to critical vendor recommendations, inconsistent configuration across virtual infrastructure components and incorrect alignment between different technology layers (such as virtual networks and physical resources, storage and compute layers, etc.).

The downtime risks were not specific to any particular configuration of hardware, software, or operating system. Indeed, the studied enterprises used a diverse technology stack: 48% of the organizations are pure Windows shops, compared to 7% of the organizations that run primarily Linux. 46% of the organizations use a mix of operating systems. Close to three quarters (73%) of the organizations use EMC data storage systems and 27% of the organizations use replication for automated offsite data protection. And 12% utilized active-active failover for continuous availability.

Certainly in the companies in question, the IT departments include top engineers and administrators – yet nearly all of the top companies included in the study have experienced some, and in a few cases many, issues.

While the results are unsettling, they are certainly not surprising. The modern IT environment is extremely complex and volatile: changes are made daily by multiple teams in a rapidly evolving technology landscape. With daily patching, upgrades, capacity expansion, etc., the slightest miscommunication between teams, or a knowledge gap could result in hidden risks to the stability of the IT environment.

Unlike legacy systems, in which standard testing and auditing practices are employed regularly (typically once or twice a year), private cloud infrastructure is not regularly tested. Interestingly, this fact is not always fully realized, even by seasoned IT experts. Virtual infrastructure is often designed to be "self-healing," using features such as virtual machine High Availability and workload mobility. Indeed, some evidence is regularly provided to demonstrate that they are working; after all, IT executives may argue, "not a week goes by with some virtual machines failing over successfully."

This perception of safety can be misleading, since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link; Simply put, it's a number game. Over the course of any given week, only a minute fraction of the virtual machines will actually be failed-over – usually less than 1%. What about the other 99%? Is it realistic to expect they're also fully protected?

The only way to determine the private cloud is truly resilient would be to prove every possible permutation of failure could be successfully averted. Of course, this could not be accomplished with manual processes, which would be much too time consuming, and potentially disruptive. The only sustainable and scalable approach would be to automate private cloud configuration validation and testing.

Individual vendors offer basic health measurements for their solution stack (for example, VMware, Microsoft, EMC and others). While useful, this is far from a real solution, since, as the study shows, the majority of the issues occur due to incorrect alignment between the different layers. In recent years, more holistic solutions have entered the market, that offer vendor agnostic, cross-domain validation.

While such approaches come with a cost, it is by far less expensive than the alternative cost of experiencing a critical outage. The cost of a single hour of downtime, according to multiple industry studies, can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars (and, in some verticals even millions).

Doron Pinhas is CTO of Continuity Software.

Share this

The Latest

October 20, 2017

You've heard of DevOps and SecOps, but NetOps? NetOps is a natural progression of legacy Network Operations to foster more efficient and resilient infrastructures through automation and intelligence. The efficacy of NetOps personnel is reliant upon understanding five key elements of a NetOps Platform and how to best utilize and implement each ...

October 19, 2017

It's also important to keep the diversity of the Advanced IT Analytics (AIA) landscape in mind as you plan for your investments. AIA is still not a market in the traditional sense. My vision of AIA is rather an arena of fast-growing exploration and invention, in which in-house development is beginning to cede to third-party solutions that can accelerate time to value ...

October 18, 2017

Most application performance monitoring (APM) tools offer user experience monitoring and transaction tracing capabilities. But, when there is infrastructure slowness affecting the application, these APM tools cannot always pinpoint the root cause of problems. This is where unified infrastructure monitoring comes in ...

October 17, 2017

Business transaction monitoring is the approach commonly used to identify and diagnose server-side processing slowness for web applications. While it is an important component of an application performance monitoring strategy, a key question is whether business transaction tracing is sufficient for ensuring peak application performance ...

October 16, 2017
Hurricane season is in full swing. With the latest incoming cases of mega-storms devastating the Southeastern shoreline, communities are struggling to restore daily normalcy. People have been stepping up and showing remarkable strength and leadership in helping those affected. However, there is another area that we need to remember in these trying times – and that is businesses continuity ...
October 12, 2017

Gartner highlighted the top strategic technology trends that will impact most organizations in 2018. The next trends focus on blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive, digitally enhanced environment. The last three refer to exploiting connections between an expanding set of people and businesses, as well as devices, content and services to deliver digital business outcomes ...

October 11, 2017

Gartner highlighted the top strategic technology trends that will impact most organizations in 2018. The first three strategic technology trends explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are seeping into virtually everything and represent a major battleground for technology providers over the next five years ...

October 10, 2017
This is the sixth in my series of blogs inspired by EMA's AIA buyer's guide — directed at helping IT invest in Advanced IT Analytics (AIA), what the industry more commonly calls "Operational Analytics." In this blog, I examine scenario-related shopping cart objectives for AIA. At EMA, we evaluated seven unique scenarios relevant to AIA adoptions. Our scenarios included agile/DevOps, Integrated security, change impact awareness, capacity optimization, business impact, business alignment and unifying IT ...
October 06, 2017

In the Riverbed Future of Networking Global Survey, more than half of the respondents acknowledged that achieving operational agility is critical to the success of a modern enterprise, and next-generation networks as well as the technology to support them are key to reaching this goal ...

October 05, 2017

Legacy infrastructures are holding back their cloud and digital strategies, according to the Riverbed Future of Networking Global Survey 2017. Nearly all survey respondents agree that legacy network infrastructure will have difficulty keeping pace with the changing demands of the cloud and hybrid networks ...