One of the roles in my IT career was managing a large IT Operations Management platform. This was probably the most challenging role I have had in IT, as I quickly found out it was a thankless job. The majority of this role was focused on providing forecasting, log management, alert management, problem management, and service-level management. These tasks
all rolled up to what I called "The Thankless Engineer." This was not because the job wasn't important, but because it needed to satisfy many different technology silos. IT Operations Management needs to satisfy not only the operations teams, but also needs to meet the requirements and workflows of infrastructure, security, and application teams. This becomes very tricky business when trying to satisfy multiple IT silos' workflows. This role becomes even more of a pain when ops and apps team start receiving false positive alerts, as we all know how much fun it is to be paged in the middle of the night for a non-issue. The biggest issue I see with traditional IT Operations Management, is that it tends to fall on a general operations group to set requirements and needs. This method doesn't always allow a lot of insight into the needs\requirements of infrastructure and application owners.
So is it possible to take such a "thankless" role and convert it into a role that provides "business value"? Does "cloud" change the way we need to think about operations management? Does this thingy called "Devops" change operations management? I would say "yes" to all of these trends and we need to change quickly in how we think about IT Operations Management or we are going to fail to innovate. Efficiency and agility are two key traits that companies need, so they are able to drive innovation. IT Operations Management is a key part of allowing companies to deliver services to their organization and to their customers.
When changing the IT Operations Management process there are a few concepts that I think we should practice, so we can move from "thankless" to "IT Superhero:"
- Utilize operation-aware tools for application teams
- Provide application teams insight into the infrastructure
- Provide infrastructure teams insight into applications
- Utilize tools that are heterogeneous between private\public cloud infrastructures
- Utilize application analytics to gain insight into to end-user experience
- One tool does not rule all
I would love to hear from the community on what patterns they think need to change in IT Operations Management and any thoughts you have on "The Thankless Engineer".