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AppDynamics Talks Optimized Self-healing with Full-stack Observability, Auto-remediation 

Written By Ari Stowe
Oct 26, 2023

From an IT perspective, technologists generally agree that the ability to monitor and have visibility into the IT stack across every one of their applications is essential with the now-permanent remote and hybrid work models.  

It also stems from the fact that digital transformation and IT growth has accelerated by seven years since the pandemic in 2020, analysts say. 

The most modern, on-demand customer needs push the importance of observability and remediation, and drive IT to get a handle on the applications and technology their organization supports every day, if not 24/7.  

Gregg Ostrowski, Executive CTO, AppDynamics, sat down with Resolve to talk about achieving a fully optimized, self-healing IT environment with automation. Here are your in-depth details and insights from the conversation: 

Trends in IT and Application Landscapes  

Heightening pressures from inside — and outside — organizations have created an era of exploration, as so many technological advancements have come from an unplanned event that caused the entire world to pause. They had to explore because there was zero sense of knowing what to do, and proactively discovering new trends became critical for overcoming challenges. The back-breaking pressure from it all, at the end of the day, pumped the breaks on IT’s ability to keep pace with countless changes in a short period of time.  

The application landscape, once simple, has reached a whole new level of complexity. From recent evolution, and considering the target of using technology to drive business outcomes and better user experiences, the application space is now very difficult to manage.  

Historically, the structure pretty much stayed the same, and so it was relatively easy to monitor and observe. The adoption of cloud services are very prolific these days, and the advantages of the cloud have emerged – it’s about building scale and speed to match the development of your applications, meaning development teams are adopting a DevOps strategy that iterates very quickly to address needs in the app space.   

On the technical level, IT is taking monolithic applications and moving them to the cloud, scoring the now-available scalability and speed. They’re also moving to a micro-service strategy going down the path of containerization.  

The challenge here? Right when IT builds a monolithic app, they break it apart to become a modernized architecture. The containers fire up when the users start connecting to the application. So, when IT examines the elements of complexity, they start learning from a single entity or location. Then, they’re running multi-cloud and on-premises cloud, as the applications will continue to run with connectivity to the backend.  

An overarching point of view reveals a trending challenge of having things there for only one point in time. Ultimately, the transformation that’s been happening is the applications performing at a much faster rate, as well as giving development teams the ability to quickly build out new services and capabilities with an app.  

Customer Needs Reshape Everything 

There’s also a change in the process itself – being able to deliver according to customer needs. IT must support ever-growing customer bases on demand.  

RELATED: Starting the XLA Journey: A Next-level Perspective for Enhanced Experiences 

Fun fact: Whenever an application or service has an outage, the consumer typically blames the brand.  

The value here, from an IT perspective, is clear. An automated help desk, for instance, keeps people happy because they don’t want to proactively make that phone call. And most likely, they won’t.  

How is the end user interacting with the application, and is the app performing in a way that drives the right outcomes? The key is if organizations fail to appease the customer, they can bet on losing that customer, which includes adding new features and maintaining performance over time.  

The current landscape and elements of full-stack observability is business-critical and IT needs to see everything that’s going on from the application point of view. Because of the sprawl of the IT landscape, the overwhelming incoming of data doesn’t stop, and neither does the struggle to cut through the noise. IT teams face great difficulty in identifying a root cause.  

Observability also connects IT teams in different silos, and those silos are becoming greater due to migration to the cloud. For instance, DevOps teams focus on building the next-generation applications while Install App teams work on the monolithic apps.  

The ideal of full-stack observability today must meet the context of the business to provide an understanding of how technology impacts it. Without visibility, negative consequences for the business will likely occur.  

Leveraging Observability to Understand Your Environment  

Observability, defined: Considering the elements of sprawling architecture and sprawling application landscape, running from on-premises and in the cloud, the idea of observability is the ability to see everything that’s going on and connecting all the components of IT as it flows through the path.  

When IT has an overall flow where everything is interconnected, observability helps IT obtain a sense of how they’re connected, where to apply isolation and figure out where the problem is coming from. The key element, when IT uses observability, is the detection of things that IT wasn’t necessarily looking for. From the monitoring perspective, for instance, IT will define a set of parameters for setting baselines and thresholds for a certain degree of deviation, and then they can start triggering alerts within their domain.  

Observability requires IT to look at things from an AI point of view to gain automated visibility within the overarching flow. For the business context, this focuses on user uptick, risk, and revenue, as user experience is critical – one of the most valuable currencies a company has today.  

RELATED: SRE Redefines IT Operations as Architect of Sustainable Systems 

Auto-Remediation with Intelligent Automation  

Full-stack observability enables organizations to prioritize issues according to business and experience impact, and then apply remediation actions accordingly for more effective handling of issues. The focus on the business context seems to grow each day, from service management and business outcomes to the applications themselves.  

Technology is a business driver, having transitioned from being a cost center some time ago. Business leaders are becoming more reliant on IT, as fixing things and fixing them fast is the name of the game. 

READ MORE: Accelerated Remediations: How to Maximize AIOps Investments in Network Operations 

Resolve Actions can integrate with observability platforms, such as AppDynamics, to close the loop between observability and auto-remediation.  

Automation is powerful when it comes to speed to remediation, with two container-based examples here: 

  • When users get a notification that a container is no longer available, or a service isn’t running, an app threshold sends an alert to the tool. Resolve can leverage automation to restart the container, build another container, and anything else needed in terms of support.   
  • Using automations for remediation also allows IT to proactively dive deep into troubleshooting. Maybe IT thinks they know the resolution for the absence of containers to support a checkout process, and so they can start restoring or restarting services. But if additional information comes in from an observability platform that indicates an application is unresponsive, IT can continue to run automations, perform troubleshooting tasks, and then return that information to the appropriate technicians. 

Learn more about how intelligent IT automation can help your organization achieve a fully optimized, self-healing environment, and meet the expectations of the business as well as the customer by getting in touch with Resolve

About the author, Ari Stowe:

About the author, Ari Stowe:

VP, Product

As VP, Product, Ari Stowe leads Resolve's product organization. He is a resourceful product management professional and highly driven individual, continuously looking to further his skills and knowledge through constant learning. Ari's primary role as a Senior Product Director has allowed him the opportunity to navigate emerging technologies and drive innovation across multiple product lines. Along with his passion for product management, Ari has a strong passion for mentoring others. He takes great pride in seeing others succeed and in reaching their full potential.