Building a Better Data Center

BrandPost By Kurt Hildebrand
Aug 24, 2015
Data Center

The Importance of Root Cause Analysis in IT Optimization


It’s a jungle out there. And by “out there” we mean your enterprise IT. And by “jungle” we mean the huge number of technologies like ABAP, Java, and .NET that handle your business processes on multiple system components. Of course these service-enabled, distributed, heterogeneous systems can be accessed on all those BYOD via many different channels. One of the great challenges all this causes is finding out why performance is degrading. In short, have you ever tried to find one root (cause) in a jungle?

In order to identify the root cause of incidents, IT needs to use a systematic, top-down approach to isolate the erroneous component and subsequently resolve the issue. Unfortunately, even though the most common causes are network related, admins frequently look for data from things like servers, security, application design/health, and end client systems or users – which have nothing to do with networking.

Remember the words of Sherlock Holmes: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” In the search for root causes you need to have tools that go beyond network element views tools so you can quickly rule out everything that is not the problem.

That doesn’t mean using every tool out there. Do that and you will have more data than you can use from too many sources to be certain of. A report by Enterprise Management Associates found that the larger the business the more tools it is likely to use, even though that doesn’t improve reporting. Where businesses with fewer than 1000 employees use three to five tools, most of those with more than 5000 employees use six or more, with 25% using 16 or more tools!

As the report says, “More tools mean process inefficiencies since most function independently and don’t share data directly. Also, each tool must be individually installed, configured, and maintained.” IT managers need to consolidate and integrate tools as much as possible so your staff can spend less time maintaining the tools and more time managing the network.

One thing we all know is that technology doesn’t stand still. Just consider the growing interest in software-defined networking. Whether it’s SDN or something else, your network is going to change and your monitoring and management tools need to be flexible enough to handle that. Although those tools may need add-ons you need to make sure you won’t have to replace them or wind up with SDN as a separate thing needing its own management tools.

Thanks to new developments like cloud, SDN, and big data, the IT jungle is getting denser every day. Whether your efforts turn into a well-planned safari or a battle for survival depends on how hard it is for you to find the root cause of the problems you face. The best gear you can pack is a consolidated set of management solutions which works across different data sets, supports new technologies, and delivers information for service-related outcomes. To find out more about what you can do to improve your network management systems click here.