How to keep IT complexity from giving you the post-holiday blues


How to keep IT complexity from giving you the post-holiday blues

Among your warm holiday memories probably lurks the recollection of searching through a strand of lights to find the one that takes down the entire string.  Through the years, most of us have either seen this play out, or experienced that frustration firsthand.

Not too dissimilar can be the frustration, tedium and time required for even  the savviest of today’s IT professionals to unravel issues in a complex IT infrastructure.  Oftentimes, it’s a search for just  that one glitch, that single solitary issue, which has put the entire system in peril. 

That’s because today’s technology infrastructures --  and federal IT infrastructure is no different --  have a heavy reliance on application stacks.  These stacks are made up of layers that work in concert to run critical components supporting application delivery. The problem is that one faulty layer can adversely impact the entire operation -- just like that one bad Christmas light.

Rather than fish blindly around for answers, start with a holistic look at the problem.  Quick resolution requires taking a step back and considering how to make the sum of the parts add up to a super-charged and highly efficient IT organization. 

So where does one begin to tackle this complex and evolving IT infrastructure and all of its potential issues?  Let’s take a closer look.

The complexity of today’s IT infrastructure means that the days of manually “hunting and pecking” for problems are long gone.  Finding the problems within the network, or an application stack, can be extraordinarily complex, yet also highly necessary.  It requires obtaining a holistic view of the entire stack – constantly monitoring the parts – to either identify issues more effectively for quickened resolution, or even fix problems before they arise.

End-to-end monitoring of the IT infrastructure is essential.  There are platforms available to do just that -- solutions with the sole focus of ensuring critical monitoring.  Therefore, it is critical that federal IT teams consider deploying solutions that provide:

  • Complete application performance monitoring.
  • A performance view across the hybrid environment, including on-premises, virtualized and cloud components.
  • Consolidated metrics.
  • Alerts that allow for faster identification and resolution of issues.

Having the right tools in place is essential to ensure the overall success and efficient operation of the IT organization.

Many hands make for lighter work

Today’s issues are complex and require top-skilled professionals.  To ensure that your team is ready to tackle those critical issues head-on, set them up for success from the outset.  Establish cross-departmental collaborative processes so that every team member is involved in identifying problems and working toward solutions.  This collaborative approach will avoid silos within a team and ensure that the organization is stronger and better prepared to confront issues as they arise.

Empowerment -- although it’s become a bit of a buzzword of late -- can work wonders to enhance an IT team’s performance.  Ensure that not only is the team functioning as a whole and collaborating to ensure issues are quickly resolved but that every team member feels a sense of ownership in the outcome.  Empower IT teams to make decisions and let them know that each member plays a critical role in keeping the infrastructure up and running. 

Bring back the holiday cheer!

The IT department’s spirits need not be dampened by a darkened string of lights!  That is, not if proper processes are put into place to ensure the team is collaborating and taking a holistic approach to an agency’s complex IT infrastructure.  Provide them with proper processes, empowerment and the essential tools to monitor the network, and they’ll be in the spirit all through the year. 

About the Author

Joel Dolisy is the CIO at SolarWinds.


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