Artificial intelligence for IT operations
Nastel’s AutoPilot is the most powerful solution available for determining and linking transaction performance to your business performance. In real-time.
An AIOps platform should bring three capabilities to the enterprise:
1. Automate routine practices
Routine practices include user requests as well as non-critical IT system alerts. For example, AIOps can enable a help desk system to process and fulfill a user request to provision a resource automatically. AIOps platforms can also evaluate an alert and determine that it does not require action because the relevant metrics and supporting data available are within normal parameters.
2. Recognize serious issues faster and with greater accuracy than humans
IT professionals might address a known malware event on a noncritical system, but ignore an unusual download or process starting on a critical server because they are not watching for this threat. AIOps addresses this scenario differently, prioritizing the event on the critical system as a possible attack or infection because the behavior is out of the norm, and deprioritizing the known malware event by running an antimalware function.
3. Streamline the interactions between data center groups and teams.
AIOps provides each functional IT group with relevant data and perspectives. Without AI-enabled operations, teams must share, parse and process information by meeting or manually sending around data. AIOps should learn what analysis and monitoring data to show each group or team from the large pool of resource metrics.
AIOps uses a conglomeration of various AI strategies, including data output, aggregation, analytics, algorithms, automation and orchestration, machine learning and visualization. Most of these technologies are reasonably well-defined and mature.
AIOps data comes from log files, metrics and monitoring tools, helpdesk ticketing systems and other sources. Big data technologies aggregate and organize all of the systems’ output into a useful form. Analytics techniques can interpret the raw information to create new data and metadata. Analytics reduces noise, which is unneeded or spurious data and also spots trends and patterns that enable the tool to identify and isolate problems, predict capacity demand and handle other events.
Analytics also requires algorithms to codify the organization’s IT expertise, business policies and goals. Algorithms allow an AIOps platform to deliver the most desirable actions or outcomes — algorithms are how the IT personnel prioritize security-related events and teach application performance decisions to the platform. The algorithms form the foundation for machine learning, wherein the platform establishes a baseline of normal behaviors and activities, and can then evolve or create new algorithms as data from the environment changes over time.
Automation is a key underlying technology to make AIOps tools take action. Automated functions occur when triggered by the outcomes of analytics and machine learning. For example, a tool’s predictive analytics and ML determine that an application needs more storage, then it initiates an automated process to implement additional storage in increments consistent with algorithmic rules.
Finally, visualization tools deliver human-readable dashboards, reports, graphics and other output so users follow changes and events in the environment. With these visualizations, humans can take action on information that requires decision-making capabilities beyond those of the AIOps software.
- See Your Business Performance – real-time message and transaction flow visualization provides instant awareness of any emerging performance issues that can negatively impact your business.
- Cut Costs By Reducing Incidents – slash the frequency, duration, and impact of incidents with real-time monitoring and automated trending that eliminates false alarms and detects issues before users notice them.
- Understand How Transaction Flows Affect Your Business in Real-Time – discover and track transactions, “stitching” or correlating them together in real-time across distributed systems, mainframes and corporate firewalls.
- Rapid Root-Cause Analysis – when problems do occur, instantly uncover the root-cause of problems with tracking that provides the visibility and detail necessary to begin immediate remediation.
- A high-performance Complex Event Processing (CEP) engine correlates transactional and operational data to answer “what happened” and “why it happened” questions when problems occur.
- Determines root-cause for problems with drilldown to the offending component, SQL query, method call, or message payload.
- Stitches end-to-end transactions together across Web and legacy tiers: Web Services, Java, .NET, MQ and CICS.
- Ability to map transaction topology to business processes and evaluate compliance of execution vs. business objectives.
- User-defined, rule-based policies for real-time monitoring and automatic notification of abnormal behaviors or conditions.
- Tracks failed, in-flight, completed,and missed transactions.
- Follows complex transactions spanning many hops, where they split and morph.
- Generates reports about transaction activity on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
- Collects, aggregates, filters and correlates metrics and events from infrastructure systems with data from external sources such as RSS, news feeds, and email messages. It can transmit alerts over private Twitter networks.
- Ability to track long-running asynchronous transactions even when the parent has terminated.
- Real-time measurement of transaction volume, in-flight transactions, violations, violation rate, failures, failure rate, latency, duration (total, maximum, avg.), and more.
- Extracts message payload (e.g., important attributes such as transaction value and correlation IDs) to stitch transaction components together into a coherent whole.
- Can track and store 100 percent of transactions 100 percent of the time without additional external tools like Dynatrace+Splunk, AppDynamics+Splunk, etc.
- Automatically discovers applications and system components, transaction flow and application interdependencies.
- Stores all of the performance-related information in a searchable SQL database.
- Discovers transactions without manual mapping or path definitions (e.g., BMC).
- Audit trail for everything including message payload, http headers, and SQL queries.
- API available using REST as well as Java.
Nastel’s® AutoPilot® for AIOps provides charting and reports that show the continuous performance of transactions as they run. In addition, real-time queries can be invoked to see historical performance.
Example of AutoPilot transaction topology view showing relationships, queues, and simple statistics
The Importance of Mastering Your Transaction Flow
Because transactions range from simple synchronous message exchanges between point-to-point application connections to much more complex asynchronous communications, a sophisticated tracking and monitoring solution is required.
In the latter instance, long-running, multi-step asynchronous transactions transit your IT infrastructure and sometimes cross one or more corporate firewalls. They frequently involve a broker routing the messages associated with a single transaction to many discrete destinations (DBs, servers, apps, mainframes, etc.). And because a message broker is involved, these complex transactions defy standard tracking and analysis via tagging or statistical sampling techniques.
Nastel’s® AutoPilot® for AIOps stitches together complete end-to-end transactions by examining method calls and individual message payload contents, correlating them and presenting intuitive visualizations of any pending or existing breaches in expected behavior and performance.
Example of a financial transaction failure involving SWIFT messages and the Calypso Trading System
(red color bars flag problem areas for the user)
With today’s extreme emphasis on customer experience, fast problem resolution is more critical than ever before. A 360-degree awareness of the IT processing events underlying every transaction, plus the ability to instantly pinpoint, diagnose, and repair issues before end users sense any service degradation, is absolutely essential.
With Nastel’s® AutoPilot® for AIOps, view your world of transactions with clarity, across your entire infrastructure, in real-time. With automatic discovery, flagging, and tracking of flows as they traverse your IT infrastructure, Nastel’s® AutoPilot® provides the real-time visibility IT pros need to track messages and transactions wherever they go—across distributed systems, mainframes, and beyond firewalls.
This deep transaction visibility, down to the method level and the exact contents of individual message payloads, is what enables fast problem resolution.
If you are interested in additional, in-depth material on transaction tracking topics, we suggest the following from the Nastel Library: