TeamQuest Corporation

Global IT Management Survey Finds IT Efficiency Lacking

We have just announced the results of their Global IT Management survey with indicators on how IT processes are maturing in corporations around the globe. Over four hundred IT professionals from 10 countries participated in the study conducted by Kelton Research.

Efficiency in IT systems was the top concern. IT optimization and data center performance were seen as critically important to solving a range of issues including capacity management for big data, cloud outages and workplace productivity.

95% of IT managers said the success of their data centers relied on both proper performance analytics and IT optimization with close to half reporting their data center is “extremely reliant” on these. However, less than one in four managers (22%) describes their IT organization as able to predict the timing and/or consequences of a forecasted scenario; and as able to identify the action steps to remedy it.

93% of respondents indicate that proper IT optimization and performance analysis would improve IT efficiency. 73% think their organizations overall IT risk would decrease with these in place. Nearly three in four (74%) IT managers who use IT optimization and/or proper performance analysis report that improved IT efficiency has benefited their company. Reduced outages (62%), better productivity (61%) and fewer resources spent on unexpected issues (53%) were among the advantages cited.

Key Takeaways:

On average IT managers deal with eight unexpected IT issues per week each requiring seven staff members to resolve.

  1. Amongst the most common IT issues are network slowdowns or outages (42%), poor performing applications (37%), availability issues (37%), equipment failures (36%), and unanticipated change requests (34%)

Virtual machine management continues to have struggles:

  1. 83% of IT managers said their organization lacks proper virtual machine management
  2. 74% of IT managers believe IT risk would shrink if they had proper virtual management
  3. 90% of IT managers believe that without the proper planning, virtual machine management is risky

Better capacity planning could prevent Cloud outages:

  1. 63% of IT managers have experienced cloud outages and 65% of those believe it could have been prevented
  2. Nearly half (49%) believe that improper capacity planning was to blame

Proper IT optimization or performance analysis would improve efficiency across the organization:

  1. 89% of managers say it would improve overall business productivity
  2. 88% said it would improve workforce productivity
  3. 87% said it would improve workforce productivity

“IT professionals around the globe seem to agree that their data centers are more reliant on IT optimization tools, proper capacity planning and the ability to use analytics. Not only are they proving to have a significant impact throughout the enterprise, delivering on everything from preventing cloud outages to improving overall business productivity, but they are also allowing IT the time they need to focus on improvements rather than incidents, ” said Per Bauer, TeamQuest Director of Global Services.

The TeamQuest Global IT Management survey was conducted between October 29, 2014, and November 16, 2014, among 419 IT managers or higher in 10 different countries who work in companies with 1,000 + employees.

Keep Black Friday Bright

It’s the holiday season and your customers just want what’s promised – an enjoyable customer experience.

That means:

  1. No servers crashing
  2. No buggy applications
  3. No error messages
  4. No unresponsive web pages

The hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping extravaganza is bound to catch some businesses by surprise, but that doesn’t have to be you. The National Retail Federation projects that Americans will spend more than $600 billion during the holiday season. And I’m sure your business wants to capture as much of that as possible.

Are you ready for the onslaught of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond?Optimize IT services and data center for Black Friday

At TeamQuest, we suggest a basic five-step process that can help you make Black Friday bright and ensure your 2015 doesn’t go dark. It’s called IT Service Optimization and its built around:

  • Understand business objectives
  • Prioritize services and assessing risk levels
  • Establish service levels
  • Plan and provisioning services
  • Manage service performance

Understanding Business Objectives 

The first step in creating a service is to fully understand the business requirements. What is the business trying to accomplish? To answer that, IT professionals must have perspective and knowledge of the strategic goals of the business within the organization. Sometimes their goals have yet to be documented, making the job more difficult, but even more necessary. Understanding the priority of business goals enables IT to align with those priorities and determine where time and resources are best focused.

Review processes to be sure that they accomplish meaningful work in a sensible and efficient manner. Conduct this analysis before automating a process. In other words, it does no good to automate an inefficient process. For example, a major computer vendor implemented a Sales Force Automation (SFA) system1, but after spending $8 million on implementation, the company saw a decline in sales. Turns out they had automated a bad process and were making mistakes more efficiently.

We’ll share the remaining ITSO steps in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

If you can’t wait, visit our ITSO solutions.


New! Predictive Analytics for IBM Tivoli and More

Optimize Your IT for the Future using TeamQuest Predictor and Tivoli Monitoring

The best way to deal with a business disaster caused by a failure of IT is to avoid it in the first place. And the best way to ensure future business success, is by optimizing IT. You want optimally-configured infrastructure that is ready and able to handle new applications and infrastructure along with tomorrow’s business workloads. You need predictive analytics.

To make accurate predictive analytics easy, you’ll want TeamQuest Predictor. TeamQuest Predictor is a tool that uses baseline performance measurements to create a mathematical model of queuing. It is much more accurate than less sophisticated techniques, but very fast and, with TeamQuest Predictor, quite simple.

TeamQuest Predictor can be used to determine what will happen if your IT environment or incoming workload changes. For example, it can tell you what response time to expect if your marketing program is wildly successful or if you consolidate servers. Or it can help you find the least expensive configuration needed to meet service levels.

To create its prediction models TeamQuest Predictor needs baseline measurements. Starting with this release, TeamQuest Predictor can work with TeamQuest Surveyor to obtain baseline measurements from IBM Tivoli Monitoring. This brings fast and easy predictive analytics to organizations with Tivoli, without requiring them to install additional agents for obtaining baseline measurements.

Future editions of TeamQuest Predictor’s new capability for Tivoli Monitoring will include additional automation for hands-free predictions based on trends detected using Tivoli data.

Incorporate PowerVM CEC Configuration Data into IT Analytics

Also new with this release is the ability to collect IBM PowerVM CEC configuration data so that it can be combined with performance data for more comprehensive LPAR analysis and reporting by either TeamQuest Analyzer or TeamQuest Surveyor.

Diagnose Response Time Problems Rapidly and Easily

This release also includes reporting enhancements for TeamQuest Surveyor, such as simplified service-to-storage drill-down analysis and new interactive graphical displays.

And Much More!

TeamQuest regularly enhances its software, providing multiple updates to various per year. This particular release contains many additional improvements for each of the products in the IT Service Optimization suite:

  1. TeamQuest Analyzer
  2. TeamQuest CMIS (Capacity Management Information System)
  3. TeamQuest Predictor
  4. TeamQuest Surveyor

Click here for more information.

IT Optimized…Business Future Assured

IT Optimized…Business Future Assured. Continuously operate at the intersection of IT efficiency and business performance. Prevent future problems by predictively focusing on what really matters.

You CAN rapidly optimize your IT environment by continuously, automatically, and predictively connecting technology and business metrics – past present and future – across the entire IT environment. Don’t take our word for it – click here to hear how organizations are doing it.

Here is what you’ll see:

  1. Verizon Wireless ensures a smooth iPhone launch
  2. Safeway presents IT data in business terms
  3. Enterprise drives success with automated forecasting
  4. Pink Elephant’s George Spalding details the benefits of predictive analytics for the Software Defined Data Center

Memo to CFO: Innovate more, brake less

Recently a group of CFOs met in Paris to share their thoughts around the changing demands placed upon them.

One attendee focused on the perception that CFOs are seen as “no” people who anticipate and identify problems and raise red flags. This brought about a comparison between CFOs and high performance race cars.

A seasoned CFO in attendance said many CFOs simply hit the brakes of their proverbial high performance race cars when they see a few bumps in the road, slowing what may have been perceived as progress, growth and the success of the company. This is about risk management. As one CFO pointed out, the brakes are there to allow the race car to achieve and maintain very high speeds. As a CFO, do you go around the bumps at full speed, slow down a bit to avoid the bumps, slow down to gently go over the bumps so you don’t wreck the expensive car (you get the picture)?

I’ve simplified it, but how can a CFO innovate without slowing down progress?

Suggestion: Identify risk (obvious), provide creative alternatives, open up brainstorming, and reach innovative solutions that limit and manage risk while allowing business objectives to be accomplished.

I know. It’s not that simple, but this is a good starting point and well worth the effort. After all, the CFO has virtually equal responsibility for the success of the company as the CEO, albeit without much of the glory.

If you’d like to know more of what your CFO peers discussed, check out this 5-page summary (You Don’t Have to Be Superman to be a CFO – But it Would Help).


Can the uncontrollable be controlled?

Human beings are distinct from the rest of the living beings in a very unique way. Every human being wants to have every thing that any other human being has in possession. There are definite exceptions to this characterization, like the people who will dedicate their lives in feeding the poor or helping others at the cost of their own life. At the same time, almost every human being wants to spend the rest of their lives vacationing. Either a human being has to control the temptation or in this surrounding of activity for productivity, one will need to control the others to have it all in one’s possession. This resulted into  kings and nobles and barons and billionaires and presidents, prime ministers, law makers etc. Presidents, Prime ministers and law makers claim that they are serving the people.

I wonder how many of the lawmakers, presidents, ministers and secretaries will be in a cluster, labelled public servant, if a clustering algorithm is executed for all of them with data about their involvement in scandalous deals, voting records, fund raising parties, extramarital affairs etc. What if Bayesian principle is applied on the voting records and bills passed by them to verify the probability of true public benefit of those bills or benefit of campaign donors and lobbyists? This will show how many of the self-proclaimed servants truly want to serve or want to control others to have it all. I just gave a new application for Big data analytics in the political science.

Cloud computing and virtualization seems to be out of control. The blogospheres, linkeinians, twitteratzies are inundated with advice, warnings, suggestions, guidance, wisdom, caution regarding the benefit and challenge of cloud computing and virtualization. In this crowd, one person is still relevant and his name is Dr.Neil J Gunther.

In 1993, Dr.Gunther proposed a model, called super-serial scalability law (SSL), and in 2006 he proposed a similar model, Universal Scalability Law (USL) that allowed control of scalability by controlling the concurrent load. Cloud computing had not yet become the reality of every day routine. Many businesses were maturing in adapting virtualization in the datacenters. Between 1993 and 2008 businesses were mostly running their applications on big servers (smaller than main frames) with many CPUs running many applications, controlled by an operating system installed in the server box. SSL or USL could not handle the many application situation but it could and still can deal with many concurrent instances of same application very well.

Concurrent loads vs scalability

A simple best practice suggestion for virtualized systems is to have multiple VMs of same configuration with single VCPU in a host instead of one VM with several VCPUs and to run only one application in each VM. Applications that were developed for execution in physical machines with many CPUs are moved to VMs with several VCPUs for the lack of better management idea. Mostly the number of VCPUs match the number of CPUs of the physical system, which was hosting the application.

Many articles will suggest to “appropriately” configure the VMs to give them “enough” resources to run the application “safely” and thus do overprovisioning efficiently in the virtualized systems for smooth operation of datacenters. Most of those articles and blogs do not explain what is an “appropriate” configuration or how much is “enough” resources or what defines “safe” operation of the data center.

If many VMs with same configuration and single VCPU is deployed in a single host and each VM is running a single application, then it is a situation that can be handled by SSL or USL. Safe operation of datacenter means no incident like the disaster with “”. Configuration of VMs will depend on the number of VMs sharing the host resources. A high priority VM will need a higher “share” value if it has to share resources with many lower priority VMs. That raises the question of how many VMs can run in a host concurrently before the host is saturated? What if the host will need to run in over saturated mode when some other host fails? The graphs in the figure can shed some light.

In the figure, the boxes are measured data points of a system running a database. The horizontal axis shows the number of concurrent connections handled by the database and the vertical axis shows the scalability. The scalability is computed as the ratio of throughput or transaction rate for n connections or T(n) and throughput for 1 connection or T(1). The solid line is a prediction of scalability by SSL based on historical data or load test data up to 30 concurrent connections. The dash and dot line is a prediction of scalability by USL based on historical data or load test data up to 30 connections. These two lines show a distinct point of maximum scalability. The measured data shows that maximum scalability occurs for 43 concurrent connections. This means that the throughput will degrade for more than 43 concurrent connections. The predicted maximum concurrency by SSL is very close to the measured value but USL prediction is not so well. This shows that a working estimate of how many VMs can run until the host saturates can be found using SSL or USL.

Prediction of the system behavior in the post saturation phase is not handled well by either SSL or USL. The predicted scalability by SSL and USL are much lower than the measured test data. System can be in over saturation phase if automatic vMotion is allowed in a virtualized computing environment even if not for long. Do we want to have control over the over saturation phase or do we want to ignore?

If we want to control the over saturation phase then we need to do better than SSL or USL. Here comes the improvement of SSL. It is called Asymptotically Improved Super-serial Scalability Law or AISSL, in short. The dotted line passing through the boxes, representing measured data points, is the predicted model by AISSL. If you are an efficiency freak, who wants to squeeze the maximum out of a host, then you might get into the oversaturation phase more often than other dovish commanders of the datacenters. With AISSL, you can be a hawkish efficiency freak datacenter commander with confidence. This is almost as good as it gets.

This brand new modeling technology will be presented during session 252 of Performance and Capcity 2014 on November 3, 2014 in Atlanta, GA, USA. If you are the hawk, who is efficiency freak,  then I would like to see you in Atlanta on November 3rd and together we will soar high above the doves.


IT Delivering on the Big Data Promise

Big data isn’t new. There’s just more of it and it’s getting harder and harder to figure out how best to use it. I’d like to share a few thoughts about big data and what I learned from a talk about how Formula One racing teams use big data.

Let’s put today’s data in perspective. One study estimated that by 2024, the world’s enterprise servers will annually process the digital equivalent of a stack of books extending more than 4.37 light-years to Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system in the Milky Way Galaxy. That’s a lot of data to analyze.

According to Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular, “Big data is a way to preserve context that is missing in the refined structured data stores — this means a balance between intentionally “dirty” data and data cleaned from unnecessary digital exhaust, sampling or no sampling. A capability to combine multiple data sources creates new expectations for consistent quality; for example, to accurately account for differences in granularity, velocity of changes, lifespan, perishability and dependencies of participating datasets. Convergence of social, mobile, cloud and big data technologies presents new requirements — getting the right information to the consumer quickly, ensuring reliability of external data you don’t have control over, validating the relationships among data elements, looking for data synergies and gaps, creating provenance of the data you provide to others, spotting skewed and biased data.”

While I don’t have THE solution, I do have one suggestion. Find a way to analyze the disparate data coursing through your environment and give it meaning – business context.

For example, focus on the right information by asking what’s important to the business. In “The Data Driven Business of Winning” Managing Director of CMS Motor Sports Ltd. Mark Gallagher, shared how Formula One teams successfully analyze data to ensure the safety of drivers and win races.

Gallagher explained how a team of data engineers, analyzing reams of information in real time, can help make strategic decisions for the business during the race. “In 2014 Formula One, any one of these data engineers can call a halt to the race if they see a fundamental problem developing with the system like a catastrophic failure around the corner.”

It comes down to the data engineers looking for anomalies. “99% of the information we get, everything is fine,” Gallagher said. “We’re looking for the data that tells us there’s a problem or that tells us there’s an opportunity.”

TeamQuest Director of Market Development Dave Wagner likens this right data approach to a Moneyball concept he’s discussed in a recent webinar.

Much like the Formula One example above, Wagner believes IT must understand what’s important to the business in order to be successful and be able to deliver accurate, strategic advice – sometimes in a matter of seconds.

Teams can be successful if they’re able to look at the right data in combination with powerful analytics, according to Wagner. In fact he likens it to the equation:

Good data + powerful analytics = better results

Just ask Formula One about the power of good data and analytics. A Formula One driver’s steering wheel is basically a laptop, providing him with the data needed to make the best decision available. Drivers can scroll through a 10-point menu – while driving – and adjust parameters that affect the performance of the vehicle. This happens because the driver is able to get to the right data when needed to get a desired outcome.

Lots of data is collected by IT, which shares data that’s important to the customer (business), and together they use that data to gain an advantage and be successful in the marketplace.

That’s a nice checkered flag ending and a nice way to end the day.


3 Ideas to Show Immediate Value from Capacity Planning Activities

What usually happens when IT talks capacity planning to the business? Eyes roll, interest drops, and the c-suite changes the subject. Some of the problem is due to a language barrier. Think response time versus utilization. Another issue is capacity planning has no value in the eyes of its beholder – your business customers. HSBC head of capacity planning Tim Collins suggests a few “hidden value adds” that IT can use to show immediate value from capacity planning activities. They’re even listed in a way to catch the attention of your business customers.

Outage Avoidance

Proactive analysis of performance data can help identify issues such as filling file systems, memory leaks, and looping processes. If these can be done far enough in advance (e.g., 14 days+), then the issue can be fixed with a planned change, rather than reactive support.

Cost Avoidance

The capacity planning team can identify where existing capacity is available on already provisioned hardware if they are involved in solution design and hardware provisioning. This can save considerable costs on both hardware and software.

Reduced software costs

Capacity Planning would be in the ideal position to advise when platforms need to be updated, and can calculate the optimum layout of virtual servers. This can save proprietary software costs (e.g. RDBMS, WebSphere, etc.), and also reduce/eliminate the need for extended support on existing hardware platforms. In addition, direct savings on COTS package cost by reducing the number of servers / CPUs in the environment would be available.

Give these three tips a try in your environment and share some of your tips, too.


IT Service Optimization Summit Preview – Paris

Tomorrow marks the beginning of our second #ITSO14 event for the year. This time in Paris. Be sure to follow along if you aren’t able to attend. Here’s what you can expect on Tuesday and Wednesday.

13 May – Tuesday
This is a day focused on IT efficiency and cost optimization:

  1. Mark Gallagher of Formula One on Technology driven business performance
  2. Executive peers from various companies on how to leverage IT efficiency and quality of service to drive business growth
  3. A panel discussion on ‘what makes a great CIO – keeping the lights on, or driving business growth.
  4. Networking opportunities with business and IT executives that face the same challenges you face
  5. Enjoy a relaxing dinner with great food and interesting conversations

14 May – Tuesday
This is a day of inspiration and break-out sessions:

  1. James Staten of Forrester Research on ‘Just because it´s in the cloud doesn´t make it cheaper’
  2. Industry peers from various companies sharing techniques for keeping IT infrastructure running smoothly and efficiently
  3. Networking opportunities with data centre peers
  4. Break-out sessions, each providing in-depth knowledge on how to manage performance and capacity in daily IT operations.
  5. Panel discussion with industry analyst, TeamQuest executives and data centre peers

ITSO Summit: Day 2

Today’s track is all about response time, throughput, and latency while finding the cross section of IT efficiency and business productivity. Take a look at the agenda.

We have speakers ranging from LCDR Rorke Denver, Navy Seal to Safeway to TeamQuest Engineers and Global Services to storage pro Intellimagic to Volkswagen to Enterprise Holdings. Yesterday was all about the business. Today will still be on that same note, but we will be digging in deeper to the “why” and “how” of optimizing IT.

Don’t forget to follow along – here’s how to stay in touch.

Here is a video that encapsulates what ITSO Summit is all about. Enjoy!


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