Businesses may have the most sophisticated apps, but the application itself and the infrastructure running it can let them down. Every business has experienced this – and this lack of performance has a cost attached. A survey in 2020 across 22 nations found that the hourly cost of downtime for high-priority applications was $67,651 per hour. The cost of downtime for normal applications came to $61,642 per hour. Of the businesses polled, 95 percent said they experienced unexpected downtime. One popular mitigation strategy is to use highly available cloud infrastructure. However, this still does not guarantee that an application will not run at a sub-optimal level. There are many reasons for sluggish application performance and quick issue identification and resolution can prevent business loss while ensuring that user experience and satisfaction are not affected.
Most businesses spend millions of dollars in monitoring their applications. Entire armies of agents spend endless hours, 24X7, going over troubleshooting checklists, pinging URLs, logging issues and updating monitoring reports and doing infra level activity .
However, here is what typically happens: A user of, say, Salesforce, cannot access their account resulting in the user logging a ticket which can take hours to resolve. The resolution may require an L2 or an L3 engineer to intervene. Or CPU usage of a server may be high, slowing down applications. By the time the problem is flagged and an engineer kills a few processes on the server, hours of productive time can be lost. The solution lies in automating the process and using pro-active application monitoring, basic root cause analysis, auto remediation, and reporting.
ITC Infotech created a solution, called Watch Dog, for a multi-national beverage client to pro-actively monitor over 100 URLs to ensure application uptime was maintained and user experience did not deteriorate.
Watch Dog has several outstanding features:
- It can be utilized to keep an eye on tickets created by end-users and act on them. The bot picks up the service request from the ticketing tool and starts performing actions based on defined keywords. It can, for example, assign infrastructure to a new user, provision compute power at a data center through machine-readable definition files or resolve outages. Auto remediation of tickets results in saving MTTR and improves infrastructure and application up time.
- It can perform advanced activities such as disk clean up and software package push.
- It can re-start processes and do basic checks, identify root cause of the problem and, as mentioned earlier, trigger auto remediation processes
What has happened is Magical : The application monitoring and performance management system went from reactive to proactive within 6 week (time taken to implement the solution) The bots have been integrated with Power BI. This allows the business to generate daily, weekly and monthly reports. In addition, the business leadership has access to an intelligent and interactive dashboard for real time updates and visualizations. End result: This is a technology driven process that is not people-dependent; it is attrition and shrinkage proof; it eliminates the need for complex knowledge transfer when people change; the business can run tighter with more frequent 24X7 checks on its applications.
ITC Infotech designed Watch Dog to go beyond automated and intelligent application monitoring and performance management. The bots can simulate users actions or paths on a site, application, software and even hardware then monitor their performance (functionality, availability, and response time). The bots can test applications 24X7 or test new applications before going live. This is a handy capability which can be combined with passive monitoring to provide visibility on application health during off peak hours when transaction volumes are low.
Application health is of primary important today, as business become technology dependent. Pro-active and automated application monitoring has become a basic business need. Using automation, businesses can get a handle on root cause analysis and trend lines enabling faster resolution and improving user satisfaction.
The ITC Infotech solution meets all the criteria for a modern, automated, application management system. It is also highly scalable. This is a major advantage as businesses keep adding new applications all the time. All that needs to be done is add URLs to the master list and an automation tool takes over. There is no third-party software to purchase, install and maintain. Or agent hiring, training and retention, to worry about. The solution can also be integrated with logs and analytics tools (like Splunk) to execute a variety of processes when required.
While the engagement with the beverage client was onsite, technology exists to deliver and roll out the solution in a remote, zero-touch model. Application monitoring and maintenance has never been as simple, inexpensive, fail-proof or easy to acquire.
Lead Consultant, Automation
Senior Project Manager, Infra
GM & Head, Automation