How to Exorcise the Modern Horrors of IT

Your average IT team faces as many shadowy monsters as a camper in a horror movie. Our expert gives you some tools to battle back against them.

Written by Sascha Giese
Published on Oct. 25, 2023
How to Exorcise the Modern Horrors of IT
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The Halloween season is full of many terrors of the night, from ghost stories and horror films to haunted houses.

When it comes to IT professionals, however, their environments are already filled with plenty of things that go bump in the night to lose sleep over — from the looming specter of outages to the unknowable mysteries of the database black box to the fear of being overtaken by ceaseless hordes of IT service management requests. 

These fears are not unfounded, as they can deeply affect organizations. Recent research from SolarWinds found that IT outages can cost companies an average of $13.7 million. This is serious enough to make any team’s blood run cold, but being frozen in fear isn’t an option for today’s enterprises. 

Teams need to keep up service level requirements, while budgets often remain stagnant. This Halloween, however, a number of solutions can exorcize any evil spirits lurking in the shadowy corners of the modern IT department and help make sure your teams feel treated, not tricked. 

3 Tools to Battle IT Horrors

  • Observability.
  • Database management.
  • IT service management.

More From Sascha GieseHow Combining Observability With Edge Computing Ensures Greater Productivity

 

Observability Drives Out the Ghosts of IT

“We ask only to be reassured about the noises in the cellar and the window that should not have been open.”

— T.S. Eliot, “The Family Reunion”

Most of us have heard of friendly ghosts like Casper, Slimer, and Nearly-Headless Nick. But the wraiths haunting today’s IT teams, threatening to wreak havoc on complex and distributed IT environments like a poltergeist with a grudge, are less chummy and more tangible threats. These can include latency, data anomalies, and misconfigurations with the power to send your whole ecosystem into the great beyond.

Often, the modern IT environment is like a haunted house, filled with invisible apparitions that can avoid detection, emerge when least expected, and lay waste to an entire system. They aren’t restricted to one day of the year, either. Every day is Halloween for IT teams as they try to balance ongoing digital transformation, the move to the cloud, hybrid IT environments, and an increasingly distributed workforce. 

These overlapping demands have created the ideal space for ghosts to lay in wait and strike when the time is right. Sometimes, even tools like observability solutions, which shine a light into the darkest, most obscure outskirts of the digital landscape, aren’t a magic bullet. Sometimes, the spirits that haunt IT departments are stronger and able to evade the light. 

We now have our own supernatural secret weapon that is taking observability to the next level: AI. Called AIOps in IT, we are able to use it to supercharge observability so it can find and drive out these spirits, even without our help. AIOps, like the PKE Meter in Ghostbusters, allows teams to find and eliminate threats before they can harm the IT system.

Picture it: You find yourself lost in the dark of a haunted house, with seemingly no escape and no clue what could be lurking. Suddenly, all the lights flip on and you can see that all the ghouls have been driven out. Not so scary anymore, is it? This is like observability with AIOps. By using AIOps, observability is able to automatically grant you more visibility and fix problems before they even arise.

 

Database Management: Facing the Unknown

Clive Barker’s 1987 supernatural horror film Hellraiser features a puzzle box whose mysteries can summon demonic beings that drive those seeking to solve it insane. Although the beings themselves are horrifying, the true horror lies in the mystery of what could possibly be contained within. In the IT environment, we have our own device whose unknown mysteries can strike fear in us: the database

Databases are the most difficult ecosystems to understand. Not only are there different types of databases that serve different purposes, but they include various types of data, making their complexity almost unknown. Most organizations view these databases as a sort of puzzle box. The complexities that occur within the box are often a mystery and unknown, meaning many organizations lack proper visibility into them. 

The lack of visibility into the database can be enough to drive fear into IT teams from the unknown mysteries that lay within. This can cause real disruptions to services. In fact, at least 70 percent of application performance problems can be traced to issues at the data layer.

Fortunately, database management combined with observability solutions can help unearth the hidden secrets of the database, provide long-awaited insights that eradicate those fears. A database observability solution can help increase performance by providing full, unified visibility and query-level workload monitoring across all centralized, distributed, cloud-based, and on-premises databases. This can help organizations enhance their ability to understand database implications as new code is deployed, use real-time troubleshooting of database performance issues, and isolate unusual behavior and potential issues within the database. This allows teams to quickly turn the unknowable database into a key part of the IT ecosystem that teams can understand, oversee, and master. 

 

ITSM: Defending Against a Horde of Service Requests

“As zombies begin to outnumber humans, thats when you have to cut all emotional ties ...You have to focus on your own survival.”

Zombieland (2009)

Zombies have remained one of the most iconic horror monsters, from their origins in Haitian folklore to serving as a metaphor for consumerism in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead to achieving massive popularity through The Walking Dead. The fear of being overtaken by a seemingly unending, unceasing hoard is a tried-and-true horror staple. For IT teams, this horde is the ticket requesting service that can often flood and overwhelm even the most advanced teams. With advanced IT Service Management powered by AI, however, teams have a secret weapon in fighting the hordes of requests they receive. 

With ongoing digital transformation, application modernization, and the move to the cloud, the complexity of the modern IT environment has rapidly increased. Though these developments have provided teams with the ability to accomplish incredible things, this razor can cut both ways. Alongside the benefits, there has also been a rise in the issues that end-users face, increasing tickets that teams need to handle. This means that many IT professionals face down hordes of tickets, often addressing issues that can be fixed by users themselves. Teams are spending less time on innovating and improving services and more time on fixing simple issues. 

An IT Service Management solution, powered by AI, such as the one released by my company SolarWinds earlier this year, helps users to fix easier-to-solve issues. The AI virtual agent provides answers and aids in troubleshooting. This provides IT teams with the tools to fight the unending horde of requests and cuts down on tickets that can quickly overwhelm pros. 

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More Treats, Fewer Tricks

Although the Halloween season brings all sorts of frights and other horrors lurking in the dark, IT teams should have no fear of ghouls haunting their environments. Pros have more tools at their disposal than ever before to fight off these malicious entities that threaten their environment. By deploying observability, database management and ITSM, teams can rest easy that their fears no longer pose a threat. 

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