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

May 23, 2019

The first word in APM technology is "Application" ... yet for mobile, apps are entirely different. As the mobile app ecosystem is evolving and expanding from pure entertainment to more utilitarian uses, there's a rising need for the next generation of APM technology to stay ahead of the issues that can cause apps to fail ...

May 22, 2019

For application performance monitoring (APM), many in IT tend to focus a significant amount of their time on the tool that performs the analysis. Unfortunately for them, the battle is won or lost at the data access level. If you don’t have the right data, you can’t fix the problem correctly ...

May 21, 2019

Findings of the Digital Employee Experience survey from VMware show correlation between enabling employees with a positive digital experience (i.e., device choice/flexibility, seamless access to apps, remote work capabilities) and an organization's competitive position, revenue growth and employee sentiment ...

May 20, 2019

In today's competitive landscape, businesses must have the ability and process in place to face new challenges and find ways to successfully tackle them in a proactive manner. For years, this has been placed on the shoulders of DevOps teams within IT departments. But, as automation takes over manual intervention to increase speed and efficiency, these teams are facing what we know as IT digitization. How has this changed the way companies function over the years, and what do we have to look forward to in the coming years? ...

May 16, 2019

Although the vast majority of IT organizations have implemented a broad variety of systems and tools to modernize, simplify and streamline data center operations, many are still burdened by inefficiencies, security risks and performance gaps in their IT infrastructure as well as the excessive time it takes to manage legacy infrastructure, according to the State of IT Transformation, a report from Datrium ...

May 15, 2019

When it comes to network visibility, there are a lot of discussions about packet broker technology and the various features these solutions provide to network architects and IT managers. Packet brokers allow organizations to aggregate the data required for a variety of monitoring solutions including network performance monitoring and diagnostic (NPMD) platforms and unified threat management (UTM) appliances. But, when it comes to ensuring these solutions provide the insights required by NetOps and security teams, IT can spend an exorbitant amount of time dealing with issues around adds, moves and changes. This can have a dramatic impact on budgets and tool availability. Why does this happen? ...

May 14, 2019

Data may be pouring into enterprises but IT professionals still find most of it stuck in siloed departments and weeks away from being able to drive any valued action. Coupled with the ongoing concerns over security responsiveness, IT teams have to push aside other important performance-oriented data in order to ensure security data, at least, gets prominent attention. A new survey by Ivanti shows the disconnect between enterprise departments struggling to improve operations like automation while being challenged with a siloed structure and a data onslaught ...

May 13, 2019

A subtle, deliberate shift has occurred within the software industry which, at present, only the most innovative organizations have seized upon for competitive advantage. Although primarily driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), this transformation strikes at the core of the most pervasive IT resources including cloud computing and predictive analytics ...

May 09, 2019

When asked who is mandated with developing and delivering their organization's digital competencies, 51% of respondents say their IT departments have a leadership role. The critical question is whether IT departments are prepared to take on a leadership role in which collaborating with other functions and disseminating knowledge and digital performance data are requirements ...

May 08, 2019

The Economist Intelligence Unit just released a new study commissioned by Riverbed that explores nine digital competencies that help organizations improve their digital performance and, ultimately, achieve their objectives. Here's a brief summary of 7 key research findings you'll find covered in detail in the report ...