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    How Big Services Lose Track of their IT Infrastructure

    December 9, 2015

    By Scott Adams

    Even with greater resources and more people depending on them, companies with large, complex IT infrastructures are more prone to service failures. Predictive analytics software can help to give these companies a competitive edge in quality IT service.

    It's easier to find what's blocking the drain in your kitchen sink than it is to fix an entire city's sewer system. The same principle applies to IT: all our individual devices and networks rely on huge IT systems, from Amazon to Facebook, and these systems are hardly immune to service interruptions — and when they do get backed up, things get messy.

    In fact, the complex and diverse nature of an infrastructure that spans across so many servers and environments makes them susceptible to sustained outages in a way that smaller, simpler systems may not be. While an IT expert might be able to diagnose and fix a smaller system, large companies require automation in the process to trace service failures to their source and fix them quickly.

    The Bigger the System, the Harder it Falls

    The biggest companies that serve the most customers are often most susceptible to IT service failures. When an issue occurred with one of Amazon’s servers in Virginia, for instance, serious disruptions of AWS cloud service were reported across the country, as Tech Republic reports. Consumers experienced downtime on extremely popular applications like Netflix, Tinder, and Airbnb. Some estimates placed the cost to Amazon at just about $1,100 each second, and the outage lasted nearly six hours, according to Buzzfeed.

    The crash provoked users’ surprise and outrage — after all, how could these household names of the tech sector experience such damaging outages? Enormous companies require massive networks, which often link physical servers, cloud storage, and operating systems. Many other companies rely on Amazon’s cloud storage rather than building their own infrastructure, as Tech Times enumerates.

    These services require extremely complex, highly interconnected networks, which are susceptible to failure precisely because of their complexity. When a problem does occur, tracing it back to its source becomes an exponentially more complicated task  rather than a clogged drain, the problem involves monitoring the pipes that stretch across an entire city.

    A Solution in Automation

    A service interruption on the scale of AWS or Facebook cannot be solved by gathering experts in a room, no matter how smart or how talented they are. The systems are simply too complex, and the business of assigning blame to a particular system or administrator can bring unsavory politics into the mix. So what can be done?

    Some experts place the responsibility for these issues on the shoulders of IT customers. Technology reporter Barb Darrow insists that “AWS users should make sure their workloads run across AWS regions to prevent future snafus.” Amazon's outage was concentrated in one region, at one server center in Virginia, and users can avoid service problems by first avoiding dependence on one center.

    But should the onus be on the customer when they’re the ones paying for the IT service? Isn't it the job of IT to avoid service problems? It might not be bad practice for users to take extra precautionary steps, but in the end, the IT provider must grapple with the increasing complexity and scale of the infrastructure they’ve been entrusted with maintaining.

    It may seem like IT service providers are trapped between a rock and a hard place, but TeamQuest software can bring your IT Service Optimization Maturity to a higher level. Automated correlation analysis gives you the ability to trace the source of a service interruption faster and easier than ever before.

    Stop Problems Before They Occur

    Automated Correlation Discovery Analysis is a feature of TeamQuest's Performance Software that stops IT problems at their source and suggests preventative measures so that they don’t happen again. TeamQuest prevents unnecessary slowdowns and shutdowns from hurting your company’s revenue and reputation. With the ability to quickly diagnose service failures and prevent extended interruptions, you’ll ensure that the complexity of your IT infrastructure never drains your service quality.

    (Main image credit: Wikimedia)