In BSMdigest’s exclusive interview, Vikas Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Zyrion, discusses Business Service Management in the cloud, and new BSM technologies and approaches for the modern datacenter.
BSM: What do you see as the main monitoring challenges of private cloud?
VA: Within a private cloud environment, the monitoring approach for applications and services has to account for inter-dependencies and impacts of the shared and virtual infrastructure. A non-cloud infrastructure has applications housed within discrete servers that are connected to the network, and the contention of resources outside of the physical server is limited primarily to the network. Within a private cloud though, applications share the same underlying physical resources and one application can impact performance of a totally unrelated application or service just because of the virtual infrastructure. There are a lot more dimensions that can impact a service, all of which need to be accounted for by the monitoring solution.
BSM: How can technology provide a business-oriented view of the cloud computing infrastructure?
VA: Performance management and monitoring technology has to enable mapping the different components of the cloud to the supported business services. The monitoring approach starts by first looking at the performance and availability of the business services, and then the underlying components within the cloud computing infrastructure. Creating the mapping between cloud components and business services is easier to do within private clouds, but will require well-documented and rich APIs for public clouds.
BSM: Does cloud make BSM a requirement, and if so, why?
VA: Traditional approaches to performance monitoring focus on individual nodes and components in the IT infrastructure, while cloud infrastructure is a shared resource and individual performance indicators in isolation are meaningless. Furthermore, one might not even have access to individual metrics in public clouds. Focusing on the performance of services instead and correlating all the underlying components of the service is the only way IT can support the business.
BSM: How does IT get aligned with the company's business goals? Is it an issue of corporate culture?
VA: Senior managers tend to understand the value of service-oriented IT monitoring. In our customer survey, over 80% of our customers use the BSM features in our product, and in almost all cases, senior managers were using the BSM technology and dashboards on a regular basis. So, it has to be driven from the top and has to be come a part of the corporate culture.
BSM: How do you define "real-time visibility"?
VA: Real-time visibility means having real-time or near-real time metrics and data on the availability and performance of business services and the underlying IT infrastructure. Real-time means having dashboards where you are immediately alerted if a business service is performing poorly because of the underlying IT infrastructure. Real-time means being able to instantly drill-down from a BSM dashboard to the packet flow and isolating the root cause impacting a business service. Real-time means no swivel chair management, no waiting for another group to respond and provide answers, no waiting for the database to get the data in the night to churn out a report – all the answers and data is available right away for everyone when they need it.
BSM: What are Business Service Containers?
VA: Zyrion’s Business Service Containers are flexible, automated objects which represent Business Services in an organization. They allow an organization to create logical, business-oriented views of the overall physical and virtualized computing network. You can define different SLAs for different containers, create fault-tolerant redundant models within a container, have nested containers with cascading alarms or create containers that include tests and containers owned by other departments. Our Business Service Containers allow different departments and users to create views of the IT infrastructure that align with their roles with full flexibility and access control that is essential for adoption within the enterprise. Most importantly, our Business Container model is overlaid on top of our topology discovery model to reduce alarm floods and very rapid root cause discovery of Business Service downtime.
BSM: Why is configuration management important to BSM?
VA: Configuration management enables backup, restore and tracking of changes in network device configurations across the enterprise network. Proper tracking and notification of configuration changes in the network prevents unexpected outages, as well as helps to correlate undesired changes in network behavior with recent configuration changes. Having configuration management integrated with BSM is important because IT administrators can correlate network outages to configuration changes and understand the corresponding impact on dependent business services.
BSM: What is the advantage of having a distributed data collection and database instead of a centralized data?
VA: Zyrion’s Traverse has a unique, patented architecture where all the data is collected and stored in distributed databases – there is no centralized data warehouse, unlike other products. Our business correlation engine presents a unified view across this distributed database in real-time.
Having a distributed database and collection architecture allows the solution to scale to very large environments not possible with earlier generation products. In order to provide a unified BSM solution, the platform has to be able to collect data from the network, server and applications and correlate, analyze and present it in real time. A large segment of our customer base switched from the other products because a centralized data warehouse model did not scale. We have customers monitoring their IT infrastructure with over 10,000 servers and routers in multiple datacenters and close to a million metrics every 5 minutes, and not requiring a single dedicated engineer to maintain the solution. As customers demand full visibility into their Business and IT services, having a real-time scalable system is a must, and having a distributed database and data collection approach is key to handling the demands of the new IT datacenter.
BSM: Do different stakeholders need different dashboards that speak to their needs?
VA: Yes, that is essential. Within an integrated BSM environment, with technicians, managers and business owners as users, information needs to be presented in a way that is relevant to the user roles within the organization. We have customers with over 200 active users of our product ranging from CxOs, product managers, database administrators, IT architects and NOC staff. While the CIO is only interested in the status of the key business operation IT containers, the product managers have dashboards to view response time, number of users, transactions and key applications relevant to their products. The database, server and network architects use the performance data for future planning, while the NOC needs the event driven dashboard to see what problems exist within the network.
Even the reports generated by each group are different – the product managers need reports on online user growth and response time, while the database manager needs trend reports on transactions per second, and the IT operations manager needs uptime SLA reports. An alert on the server administrator dashboard might not show on the product manager dashboard because of a fault-tolerant architecture or redundant network paths. Providing role-specific views becomes even more relevant when using private or publiccloud environments.
BSM: How was Zyrion created?
VA: Zyrion is a spin out of a public company, focused on correlating the impact of IT infrastructure on Business Services. We were the first company to integrate packet and flow analysis with BSM, and hence reduce the downtime of Business Services by enabling quicker resolution.
About Vikas Aggarwal
Vikas Aggarwal is founder and CEO of Zyrion Inc., a provider of BSM & IT infrastructure monitoring software solutions. Vikas Aggarwal has been an entrepreneur and senior executive at multiple technology startups over the past 20 years. He was the founder and CEO of Fidelia, a venture-backed IT infrastructure management software company, where he led the company's growth to about 100 customers before their acquisition by Network General. At Network General, he was the VP of Product Management where he oversaw product strategy through their acquisition by Netscout in late 2007.
Enterprises that halted their cloud migration journey during the current global pandemic are two and a half times more likely than those that continued their move to the cloud to have experienced IT outages that negatively impacted their SLAs, according to Virtana's latest survey report The Current State of Hybrid Cloud and IT ...
Every business has the responsibility to do their part against climate change by reducing their carbon footprint while increasing sustainability and efficiency. Harnessing optimization of IT infrastructure is one method companies can use to reduce carbon footprint, improve sustainability and increase business efficiency, while also keeping costs down ...
While the adoption of continuous integration (CI) is on the rise, software engineering teams are unable to take a zero-tolerance approach to software failures, costing enterprise organizations billions annually, according to a quantitative study conducted by Undo and a Cambridge Judge Business School MBA project ...
I've had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations embarking on their AIOps journey. I always advise them to start by evaluating their needs and the possibilities AIOps can bring to them through five different levels of AIOps maturity. This is a strategic approach that allows enterprises to achieve complete automation for long-term success ...
Sumo Logic recently commissioned an independent market research study to understand the industry momentum behind continuous intelligence — and the necessity for digital organizations to embrace a cloud-native, real-time continuous intelligence platform to support the speed and agility of business for faster decision-making, optimizing security, driving new innovation and delivering world-class customer experiences. Some of the key findings include ...
When it comes to viruses, it's typically those of the computer/digital variety that IT is concerned about. But with the ongoing pandemic, IT operations teams are on the hook to maintain business functions in the midst of rapid and massive change. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the shift to remote work at scale. Ensuring that they can continue to provide products and services — and satisfy their customers — against this backdrop is challenging for many ...
Teams tasked with developing and delivering software are under pressure to balance the business imperative for speed with high customer expectations for quality. In the course of trying to achieve this balance, engineering organizations rely on a variety of tools, techniques and processes. The 2020 State of Software Quality report provides a snapshot of the key challenges organizations encounter when it comes to delivering quality software at speed, as well as how they are approaching these hurdles. This blog introduces its key findings ...
For IT teams, run-the-business, commodity areas such as employee help desks, device support and communication platforms are regularly placed in the crosshairs for cost takeout, but these areas are also highly visible to employees. Organizations can improve employee satisfaction and business performance by building unified functions that are measured by employee experience rather than price. This approach will ultimately fund transformation, as well as increase productivity and innovation ...
In the agile DevOps framework, there is a vital piece missing; something that previous approaches to application development did well, but has since fallen by the wayside. That is, the post-delivery portion of the toolchain. Without continuous cloud optimization, the CI/CD toolchain still produces massive inefficiencies and overspend ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially accelerated digital transformation projects. To better understand where IT professionals are turning for help, we analyzed the online behaviors of IT decision-makers. Our research found an increase in demand for resources related to APM, microservices and dependence on cloud services ...