All posts by Margaret Hoagland

Understanding The Emerging field of AIOps – Part II

This is the second post in a two-part series highlighting how AIOps is changing IT performance optimization. Part 1 explained the basic principles of AIOps. The original text of this series appeared in an article on Information Management.  Here we look at the business requirements driving the trend to AIOps.

Why do businesses need AIOps?

IT pros move more of their business-critical applications into virtualized environments. As a result, finding the root cause of application performance issues is more complicated than ever.  IT managers have to find problems in a complex web of VM applications, storage devices, network devices and services. These components that are connected in ways IT can’t always understand.

Often, the components a VMware or other virtual environment are interdependent and intertwined. When an IT manager moves a workload or makes a change to one component, they cause problems in several other components without their knowledge. If the components are in different so-called silos (network, infrastructure, application, storage, etc.), IT pros have even more trouble figuring out the actual cause of the problem.

Too Many Tools Required to Find Root Causes of Performance Issues

AIOPs Survey
SIOS AIOPS Survey

The process of correlating IT performance issues to its root cause is  difficult, if not impossible for IT leaders.  According to a recent SIOS report, 78 percent of IT professionals are using multiple tools to identify the cause of application performance issues in VMware. For example, they are using tools such as application monitoring, reporting and infrastructure analytics.

Often, when faced with an issue, IT assembles a team with representatives from each IT silo or area of expertise. Each team member uses his or her own diagnostic tools and looks at the problem their own silo-specific perspective. Next, the team members compare the results of their individual analyses identify common elements. Frequently, this process is highly manual. They look at changes in infrastructure that show up in several analyses in the same time frame. As a result, IT departments are wasting more and more of their budget on manual work and inaccurate trial-and-error inefficiencies.

To solve this problem and reduce wasted time, they are using an AIOPs approach. AIOps applies artificial intelligence (i.e., machine learning, deep learning) to automate problem-solving. The AIOPs trend is an important shift away from traditional threshold-based approaches that measure individual qualities (CPU utilization, latency, etc.) to a more holistic data-driven approach. Therefore, IT managers are using analytics tools to analyze data across the infrastructure silos in real-time. They are using advanced deep learning and machine learning analytics tools that learn the patterns of behavior between interdependent components over time.  As a result, they can automatically identify behaviors between components that may indicate a problem. More importantly, they automatically recommend the specific steps to resolve problems.

What’s Next for AIOps?

Virtual IT environments are creating an enormous volume of data and an unprecedented level of complexity. As a result, IT managers cannot manage these environments effectively with traditional, manual methods. Over the next few years, the IT profession will rapidly move from the traditional computer science approach to a modern “data science” AIOPs approach. For IT teams, this means embracing machine learning-based analytics solutions, and understanding how to use it to solve problems efficiently and effectively. Finally, executives need to work with their IT departments to identify to right AIOps platform for their business.

Read Part 1

Roadblocks to Optimizing Application Performance in VMware Environments – Part I

This is the first post in a two-part series highlighting challenges IT teams face in optimizing VMware performance. The original text of this series appeared in an article on Data Informed.

When virtual computing first became popular, it was primarily used for non-business critical applications in pre-production environments, while critical applications were kept on physical servers. However, IT has warmed up to virtualization, recognizing the many benefits (reduced cost, increased agility, etc.) and moving more business-critical and database applications into virtual environments. In a recent survey of 518 IT professionals we conducted, we found that 81 percent of respondents are now running their business-critical applications, including SQL Server, Oracle or SAP, in their VMware environments.

VMware Performance Becomes Critical as More Important Applications Virtualized

While there are numerous benefits, virtualized environments introduce a new set of challenges for IT professionals. For IT teams tasked with finding and resolving VMware performance issues, specifically those that can impact business-critical applications, many find they are hitting the same cumbersome roadblocks related to tools, time and strategy.

IT Pros Need Multiple Tools to Gain a Holistic View of their VMware Environments.

vmware_performance_monitoring_toolsAccording to the survey results, 78 percent of IT professionals are using multiple tools– including application monitoring, reporting and infrastructure analytics– to identify the cause
of VMware performance issues for important applications. Even further, ten percent of IT professionals are using more than seven tools to understand their VMs and the issues that affect VMware performance. Optimizing VMWare performance and availability is incredibly complex, and the dynamic nature of these environments require highly advanced tools to address even the most standard performance issues.

Relying on several reporting tools every time an issue arises just isn’t sustainable for most IT teams. This is partly due to the fact that solving application performance issues requires a view of multiple IT disciplines or “silos” such as application, network, storage and compute. In larger organizations, that means each time an issue arises, representatives from each discipline need to come together and compare their findings– and the analysis results from the application team’s tool may point to a somewhat different cause than the storage team or the network team’s tool. The current strategy of relying on multiple tools and teams to evaluate each silo leaves IT with the manual, trial and error task of finding all the relevant data, assembling it and analyzing it to figure out what went wrong and what changed to cause the problem.

Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we’ll discuss issues related to time and resources wasted in uncovering issues, as well as finding the root cause of VMware performance issues.

Read Roadblocks to Optimizing Application Performance VMware Environments – Part II

IT Analytics for VMware: 5 Ways to Learn More About What Machine Learning Based Analytics Can Do for You

1. See Machine Learning IT Analytics in Action: Visit the SIOS Booth #307 at the 2016 PASS Summit Conference October 25-28th at
Washington Convention Center, Seattle, WA. Experience the power of SIOS iQ Machine Learning IT Analytics through an interactive demonstration using a Hololens augmented
reality headset. Learn more.

IT analytics with SIOS iQ machine learning based analytics

 2.  Attend the PASS the Bacon Breakfast panel discussion at PASS Summit on Thurs, October 25 at 6:50 AM. Hear experts David Klee, Founder Heraflux Technologies, Denny Cherry, principle, DC&AC, SQL expert Geoff Hiten, and others discussing techniques for improving SQL performance in VMware environments. and Registration required: click here for tickets.

3.  Visit the SIOS booth at VMUG Boston on November 3 at the Boston Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02115. See SIOS iQ in action and enter to win our raffle. Learn more here.

4.  Attend our upcoming webinar: Save Big by Right Sizing Your SQL Server VMware Environment
October 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM ET, 10 AM PT
According to leading analysts, companies are overprovisioning VMware environments by as much as 80%, wasting tens of thousands of dollars annually in unnecessary server and storage acceleration hardware, VMware and application licenses, and capacity. Under-provisioning is equally problematic – causing performance issues and, putting failovers (and critical applications that rely on them) at risk. Join this webinar to learn simple techniques for ensuring you have the performance and capacity your business needs without over provisioning. Find out how to quickly determine how to strike the perfect balance to right size your VMware environment while optimizing SQL Server performance. Learn about new machine learning based analytics tools that can provide you with a clear breakdown of your current environment (vMem, vCPU, hosts, and more) and recommendations for a fully optimized environment with a detailed calculation of the savings.
Click here for more information and to register

5.  Attend All Things Open (October 25-27th) at Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, NC.
Hear SIOS CTO, Sergey Razin, Ph.D., present “Open Source: Transforming Machine Learning and AI” at 11:30 AM on October 26th. Learn more here

 

SIOS: Essential for Mission-Critical VMware Environments

jason-96Guest Blog: Jason Bloomberg, Intellyx

Virtualization has unquestionably become a critical and ubiquitous feature of the enterprise operational environment, and VMware clearly predominates. Enterprises rely upon their VMware technology to support mission-critical infrastructure, including the systems of record that run the business.

Avoiding VMware-related performance issues – especially when such issues may lead to downtime – has thus become a mission-critical priority. And yet, finding the root cause of application performance issues in VMware vSphere environments can be difficult and costly.

The interrelated nature of infrastructure and applications – particularly for systems of record like Microsoft SQL Server – can obscure the root cause of performance issues. As a result, SQL database administrators, VMware infrastructure managers, network managers and perhaps other domain experts have to collaborate to find the real cause and devise a solution.

Implementing a solution in such complex, distributed VMware installations, however, is itself difficult to achieve in practice. Such solutions often take an expert – but such experts can be hard to find, and many shops find themselves making do with less skilled VMware professionals.

In other cases, VMware shops turn to third-party consultants for the proper configuration. Even assuming the consultants do their job properly, once they hand over the environment to their customer then maintaining it once again requires skills that may be in scant supply.

For today’s enterprises that depend upon VMware, however, there are rarely any viable alternatives. Their environments continue to grow in size and complexity, and their businesses increasingly depend upon them as the mission-critical infrastructure they are.

SIOS: Addressing VMware Complexity

This growth in complexity combined with scarce expert VMware skills is the challenge that SIOS addresses with their SIOS iQ product. SIOS fills this gap in the existing VMware management tools used to address infrastructure problems in complex, dynamic virtualized environments.

SIOS continues to enhance the capabilities of SIOS iQ since launching the product in 2015, helping its customers understand complex IT operations and resolve issues in dynamic VMware environments.

SIOS focuses on the needs of IT Operations Managers and application administrators to address the root causes of performance problems, identify underused resources, and optimize configurations to help them get the most value from their virtualized environment.

SIOS was among the first in the industry to integrate machine learning into its infrastructure analytics as well as deep database performance analytics. It uses advanced machine learning to eliminate false positives and alert storms, thus providing customers with the information they need in an easy to use, graphical interface.

SIOS iQ can also provide instantaneous root cause analytics and recommendations with deep database performance monitoring and optimization. In essence, SIOS iQ is a system that is able to learn about an organization’s virtual infrastructure and how it operates on a day-to-day basis. It can identify anomalies before they become serious issues, thus the chance of false alarms without human intervention.

New Capabilities from SIOS iQ

SIOS is now announcing additional capabilities for predicting and forecasting performance and capacity utilization in complex VMware environments. In addition, SIOS iQ users can now more clearly define Microsoft SQL Server application-specific root causes of performance issues by leveraging SQL Sentry Performance Advisor.

SIOS iQ supports the integration and correlation of Performance Advisor’s custom and standard events out of the box. As a result, users can immediately know where a problem started and whether it is infrastructure or application-specific. Instead of spending time gathering and reviewing data or arguing between departments, users can now directly take action to correct the problem before it becomes critical.

SQL Server is among the most popular databases that run on the VMware platform, explaining why SIOS leveraged its partnership with SQL Sentry to implement SQL Server-specific performance analysis. In addition, SIOS is planning on supporting a variety of systems of record, as the diagram below illustrates.

SIOS iQ Application-Specific Performance Monitoring and Root Cause Analysis (Source: SIOS)

The new capabilities from SIOS iQ directly correlate observed performance anomalies with intelligent performance-related events from deep within the SQL Server platform. It is now possible to link from a SQL performance alert within SIOS iQ to SQL Sentry in context.

Furthermore, SQL Sentry users can create their own events with description and appropriate tags for correlation with SIOS iQ, thus correlating events from the applications down to the infrastructure.

In addition to its newly added support for SQL Server, SIOS iQ also filters for selective analysis across vSphere Clusters. SIOS iQ shows the environment by each cluster, enabling users to select which cluster to view in the SIOS Dashboard. As a result, they can observe all environments together or isolate the view to individual cluster – even to specific events taking place within the cluster.

The Intellyx Take

The more complex the VMware environment, the more important it becomes to have a platform like SIOS iQ in place – and many of today’s enterprise VMware deployments are extraordinarily complex.

The fact that many enterprise systems of record now run on VMware environments ups the stakes for VMware performance. Systems of record are mission critical – and as organizations become increasingly software-driven, digitally transformed enterprises, this mission criticality only becomes more central to the viability of the business itself.

Complexity, however, is the enemy of mission criticality. Whether it be gaps in high availability, misconfigured VM instances, or other issues with capacity, performance, or availability, the list of things that can go wrong continues to explode. And as is particularly true in virtualized operational environments, what can go wrong eventually will.

With SIOS iQ, SIOS is bringing together all the elements that make up a monitoring and root cause analysis platform that modern enterprises with such complex, important VMware investments require. And in spite of the challenges with VMware’s complexity, it’s not going anywhere any time soon – and neither is SIOS.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. SIOS is an Intellyx client. At the time of writing, none of the other organizations mentioned in this paper are Intellyx clients. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.

August 18, 2015: SIOS is Proud to Sponsor PASSMN’s August SQL Server User Group Meeting

SIOS is proud to sponsor the PASSMN’s August 18th SQL Server User Group meeting. If you are anywhere near St. Paul, MN, I highly recommend joining! Visit the PASSMN Calendar for the latest meeting details.

Register Now

August 18, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Location:
Microsoft (Suite 600)
3601 West 76th Street
Edina, MN 55437
Cost:
This is a free event – Food and Drinks will also be provided at no cost.

August 15, 2015: SIOS is Proud to be a Platinum Sponsor and Speak at SQLSaturday Omaha

Register Now for SQLSaturday Omaha
When: August 15, 2015
Where: UNO Mammel Hall, 6708 Pine Street, Omaha, NE 68106
Cost: $10 to cover the cost of lunch, the event itself is free

SIOS is proud to be a Platinum sponsor at SQLSaturday Omaha. Be sure to visit the SIOS table for your chance to learn more about our SAN and #SANLess solutions, enjoy some candy, and drop off your raffle ticket for your chance to enter our end of day $100 Amex raffle.

We will also be sponsoring a-one-of-a-kind lunch session all about enabling “Clusters Your Way.” As an added bonus you will also have a second chance to win $100 just by joining in.

There are a number of great tracks so be sure to plan your schedule well in advance (schedule).

August, 5 2015: SIOS Sponsors South Florida SQL Server User Group – Fort Lauderdale

SIOS is proud to sponsor the South Florida SQL Server User Group’s August 5th meeting in Fort Lauderdale. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend joining!

Register Now

August 5, 2015 at 6:00 PM
Location:
Microsoft (Map)
6750 North Andrews Ave. Suite #400
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Cost:
This is a free event – Food and Drinks will also be provided at no cost.

This groups meeting registration is managed through meetup.com. If you are not a member of the group, just click the join group button. This group is open and everyone is welcome. You will need to be a member of the group to see additional meeting and group details.

July 21, 2015: SIOS Is Proud To Sponsor IndyPASS — Indianapolis SQL Server User Group

SIOS is proud to sponsor IndyPASS’ July 21st SQL Server User Group Meetup in Indianapolis. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend joining. Production Support DBA, David Maxwell will be presenting “Turbo-Charged Transaction Logs.”

Register Now

July 21, 2015 at 5:30 PM

Location: Apparatus (Map) | 1401 North Meridian Street | Indianapolis, IN, 46202
Cost: This is a free event – Food and Drinks will also be provided at no cost.

Topic of the Evening: Turbo-Charged Transaction Logs
Presented by: David Maxwell (@dmmaxwell)

The transaction log is one of the most critical, yet often misunderstood components of SQL Server. From out of control log growth to very long startup times, problems with the transaction log can cause a lot of pain. In this session, we’ll look at how the transaction log works and how to optimize it’s performance. You’ll learn how to determine the right settings for maximum throughput, and what to do when things get out of control.

This groups meeting registration is managed through meetup.com. If you are not a member of the group, just click the join group button. This group is open and everyone is welcome. You will need to be a member of the group to see additional meeting and group details.

July 25, 2015: SIOS is Proud to Sponsor SQLSaturday Manchester

Register Now for SQLSaturday Manchester (UK)
June 25, 2015
Location: Mechanics Institute in Manchester | 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD, UK (Map)
Cost: There may be a small fee to cover the cost of lunch, the event itself is free. Please contact the organizers for more information.

SIOS is proud to sponsor at SQLSaturday Manchester. Be sure to visit the SIOS table for your chance to learn more about our SAN and #SANLess solutions, enjoy some candy, and drop off your raffle ticket for your chance to enter our end of day raffle. There are a number of great tracks, so be sure to plan your schedule well in advance (schedule).

If you are interested in additional training, SQLSaturday Manchester is holding Pre-Cons on the 24th of July. Pre-cons are paid events that include a full additional day of training from Microsoft, Redgate, and other industry leaders and experts. Pre-Con session details can be found at http://manchesterpass.ddns.net

July 16, 2015: SIOS is Proud to Sponsor the Denver SQL Server User Group

SIOS is proud to sponsor the Denver SQL Server User Group’s July 16th meeting in Denver. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend joining. The topic and and speaker are currently being confirmed. That information will be posted as soon as it is made available.

Registration/More Info:
DenverSQL Meetup Group Denver.SQLPASS.org

July 16, 2015 at 5:30 PM
Location:
Microsoft (Map)
7595 Technology Way, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80237
Cost:
This is a free event – Food and Drinks will also be provided at no cost.

This groups meeting registration is managed through meetup.com. If you are not a member of the group, just click the join group button. This group is open and everyone is welcome. You will need to be a member of the group to see additional meeting and group details.