Posted on March 26, 2018 by staff

How to ensure your business avoids a ‘plane crash’


Monitoring systems allows companies to become more agile and avoid disasters, says SignalFx chief marketing officer Tom Butta.

SignalFx offers cloud monitoring tools to help customers make sense of this new world by providing observability, alerting and triage and troubleshooting.

“If a plane were to crash everyone wants to go to the black box and find out the cause but unfortunately the plane has already crashed,” he told BusinessCloud.

“Wouldn’t it be great if you had extreme visibility into things happening as the plane is flying so you can instrument change on the fly to avoid problems as they happen?

“The world we’re operating in is in real time and until recently tech hadn’t caught up – well, now it has.”

Businesses must use the tech to bring their systems together and save money in a changing world, says the company’s CTO Arijit Mukherji.

A former engineering manager at Facebook, Mukherji believes that the movement towards micro services and the cloud adds complexity to businesses as environments become more diverse with more teams to manage.

“It gives you an overall view of things,” he said.

“Sometimes, especially when it’s a large company and you have various different teams, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have an overview of where you’re at.

“Large centralised systems where you can send things from all your different services are invaluable.

“We had a customer called Acquia, which is a major SaaS company on the east coast of America. They deployed us and found they had a million dollars in infrastructure spend that was rarely being used.

“They were able to remove it but the fact it took us to go and find it sort of explains the problem.

“It’s all a little bit chaotic right now and a tool like SignalFx, especially one that scales and lets you look at different aspects of your system in one place, brings a level of visibility that’s difficult to get otherwise.”

Mukherji worked at Facebook a decade ago when the social media platform was undergoing a digital transformation.

He has taken lessons from the tech giant and built SignalFx to help the other companies out there that may not have the time or resources of a major corporation.

“Facebook was going through explosive growth ten years ago and their motto is move fast and break things,” he said.

“The way you do that is to empower developers with certain types of services and monitoring and say ‘go and be productive’.”

However, the key to keeping up with the competition as cloud technology continues to flourish is to ensure the rest of the business can keep up.

“You can’t just deploy cloud and keep everything else the same – retooling the business is a requirement because the pace of innovation is really accelerating and those not able to keep up are falling by the wayside,” he said.

“Blockbuster wasn’t able to perceive what was coming with Netflix and move fast enough.”

The other thing Mukherji often sees when companies deploy a monitoring tool like SignalFx is that they start having centres of excellence within their business.

“They have a team that says that monitoring is important and starts to promote best practice within the organisation,” he said.

“That team owns the relationship with us and internally becomes the face of monitoring.

“They say ‘having seen the benefits and power of the tool we know where we want to be and we will educate different teams to get on with the programme and understand what they have at their fingertips’.”

Regardless of business size, it’s vital to make sure that companies have the right tools for the job that are best of breed and tailored to the company’s needs.

“The system should be scalable, it should be timely and there should be a way to look at everything holistically,” said Mukherji.

“You don’t have to have everything on day one but you do need to have a clear strategy around where you want to go because our view is good quality monitoring is an enabler for a business rather than a cost centre.”