B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 4 months ago

Defining Observability and Enabling Insightful Decisions with Steve Bek


Observability has become a popular descriptor, but what does it mean and why does it matter? Further, how can you leverage observability throughout your operations? 

Application Performance Management (APM) is only part of the puzzle—IBM Instana takes a unique approach that answers common pain points in application management. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Steve Bek , IBM Instana sales leader - Americas at IBM , about: 

- Defining authentic observability 

- How Instana hones in on root causes

- Instana use cases and success stories 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by IBM. IBM is a leading hybrid multi cloud solutions company accelerating the creation, development and manufacturing of the industry's most advanced information technology for companies around the world. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, shelby skirt talk, and our guest today is Steve Ibm Instanta, sales leader for the America's at IBM. Steve, welcome. Thanks for having me, shelby. Well, today we are talking about the concept of observe ability and IBM Instanta. But first, Steve, what do you mean when we say observe ability? Observe Ability, thanks for asking. So what I would say is it's almost starting to become an overused term, almost even industry jargon, and I would even add into that that if you were to look at an Internet search on observe ability, anybody who's ever had a monetary solution is now calling their solution of an observe ability solution. And so what some people say is kind of like it's really going to be the next generation of a P m. A P M is really your application performance management, and I can get into that a little bit later, or an enhancement of a p m. What I would say that it's kind of true observe ability requires APM to do to monitoring, but an APM solution isn't automatically an observe ability solution. And so kind of a generic textbook type answer to observe ability would be it's going to be the practice of instrumenting your services and applications to accurately collect not only what the problems are, the errors are in your environment, but also to tell you why. So that's kind of your generic textbook answer of what observe ability is. Yeah, so...

...let's then differentiation and really identified then. So observe ability is different than just monitoring or the legacy a P M s. It is, I guess, if if you were to to pinpoint, what is the thing, what is the key to observe ability that makes it different than these these older systems? Okay, and so the way I would answer that is to kind of start with a p M. I mentioned apm earlier. A P M was simplistic way to monitor our applications in a very simplistic architecture. The applications ran on servers in virtual machines. It was legacy monitoring, where it's similar to observe ability is they actually use an agent to actually do the monitoring of the metrics. So the application, what the way it works was for an APM solution, was in an administrator had to determine what technology they wanted to monitor. The administered, that same administrator would have to actually determine what metrics they would have to monitor. The administrator would also have to determine at that point how often it would actually have to monitor those metrics. They would also have to manually create thresholds just to generate alarms. From there they would actually have to correlate the data in their dashboards, because it wasn't done automatically and it almost always never got to root cause analysis and if it did, it was a tremendous manual process. So it was always going to be an administrative nightmare. And so this is where IMS observe ability solution Instanta, really came in. The INSTANTA founders were very experienced in APM and they understood the complexities of APM and how hard it was to set up, and so they wanted to design a solution that was simple to use, simple to stand up and had tremendous amounts of automation. And so that's where INSTANTA comes in. And so what it does? It gives us stability to elect metrics at one second granularity.

That's unique in the industry. We're also going to collect every single trace of every request across your environment without sampling, again unique in the industry. We're gonna tie in your log messages as well as being able to profile every process across your environment. We're gonna bring this all together in context and allow you to make insightful, immediate decisions on any problem that arises inside your environment. And so getting to kind of the ease of use in the agents of Instantam. And so the way Instana works is with that single agent that Instana uses, similar to what a P M but instanta used. Instanta, we automate everything. The agent will determine the technology it's going to have to monitor, is going to determine the metrics that you're gonna have to collect. You'RE gonna immediately, at one second granularity, start collecting that data and you're gonna immediately set threat told crossing events. What it does also from that standpoint, it automatically discovers the environment around you. So all the data points the services, the service and points the dependencies relationships. It's automatically going to continuously discover that and update that in a map inside of Instanna. Instanna automatically generates drafts and charts that are easy to use and what you'll find is that you're not going to have to send your customers or your administrators, your line of business owners to a school to actually be able to use the product. So instanna does that all out of the box, trying to get away from the administrative nightmare that a p m was right, right. So in those specifics you mentioned that IBM. INSTANNA doesn't sample but actually collects all the data. Why is that better? So if you can imagine e commerce and the e commerce world where you have customers actually logging onto your web, web applications and they're trying...

...to pay their bills, the difference between one seconds in ten seconds or one seconds in fifteen minutes of the customer pressing to submit to pay a bill or buy, you know another product could be tremendous. It's it's becomes a cost. It comes very costly to the application owner. So getting all the data almost in streaming, gives you the best part of accuracy. I would also say to you know, one second granularity and that sampling also helps. I would call it the the your developers, your devops, or kind of even that C I C D pipeline, where and C I C D is your continuous integration and continuous development. As our customers are kind of going to this cloud native they're experiencing a faster development cycle and as they're pushing that code out there, having one second granularity tells the developer that their code works immediately and they don't have to guess. So if it doesn't work, they can roll it back very easily. So, if I'm understanding it right, it and I guess I'm going to make a comparison to a doctor and a patient. A doctor would need to know all of the symptoms that you are experiencing, not just a quick sample or two. Is that right? And that why? Is that such a difference maker then? So what I would say is, and thank you for asking a question, is being able to have all the data available makes you allows you to make insightful decisions. So it takes two guess work out of it. If so, if a doctor isn't going to guess based on a symptom here and then guess it because they saw another symptom over there ten seconds later, you've seen it. As the data comes in. It takes the guesswork out of it. It actually and for our standpoint, to tying it back to instanaw, we it allows us to correlate, you know, all the transactions and it allows us to dig down and pinpoint into the true problem. Instead of focusing on symptoms, we can actually focus on the trigger event or the root costs of the problem. So what industries, then, would something like this be most successful? And I guess,...

...if if we could talk about some industries and examples and expand on that a little bit, sure, sure so, I think any well, so I would say if this product of solutions, as observability is going to be good for almost any industry, right, because every industry has applications. Where it's particularly good is going to be kind of around that financial sector because of e commerce and you're seeing more and more of their customers actually, you know, buying or paying bills online, or the retail industry where customers are buying things online, like a Dick Sporting goods, or you know the big Walmarts, where you have big applications and you're seeing more and more purchases being done online. And so what ends up happening is the business for those companies, the e commerce is actually now online instead of actually people going to the retail stores themselves. So anybody who has an application where the application is the business, where the application is a business. So I guess, if we're to drill that point home a little bit, then who is IBM instead of for? And I guess if if you're a partner or a reseller, who am I selling this to? Great Question, and so the folks that you would sell this to. And initially this is going to sign obvious, but you know necessary. But it's going to be the application owner. Application owner it wants to ensure that he or she's got great performance of the application that there they own, that they're responsible for. They also want to ensure that any monitoring tool that they're going to use in their environment does not affect the performance of that application. And I would say that your application manager or owner is absolutely a decision maker. Other folks are's gonna be really rounding your operations world. So I t operations devops, your S R S, which is your site reliability engineers. Those teams really want to be able to fix problems, get to root cause as quickly as possible do it as easy as possible. They know they've got to on a data they're gonna have to sift through.

So any kind of solution like an Instanta that can plandpoint the nature of the problem through root cause is going to help them. And then I would say the final most important people to talk to would be kind of your line of business owners, the executives, and they take a little different turn of it, though. So they're focused mainly, though, on costs and dollars and cents. They want to save money, so they want to ensure that the applications that they're running are giving their customer good satisfaction and so, yeah, that they're giving good satisfaction to their customers. They don't want to lose any customers, they don't want to lose any dollars and cents and they want to ensure that if there is an outage that it doesn't affect their bottom line. So those will be your three big people to sell to your application owners, your operations, which is kind of I t operations, step ups, site reliability engineers and then finally, kind of your line of business owners. Would you be able to give us any use cases or or any I guess customer are success stories that you've had with IBM and Stata? Yep, so use cases and and kind of even our go to market really is gonna be the first one. Obvious. If if you run into a situation where you're hearing application modernization, which is true, that's pretty straightforward. Instana was born on the cloud, so built with micro services and containers, it supports over three hundred different technologies. Uh, it's going to be a logical answer for any customer that's looking at application modernization other places, particularly for IBM, is going to be around kind of the legacy IBM monitoring solutions, around the middleware integration products. So you'll see uh M que, data power, application connect, enterprise DB two, all these web spare application server, all these kind of middleware legacy applications. So, even while the world is going towards this cloud native and doing digital transformation. They still have a lot of legacy products and then, and it's as a wonderful fit for that I mentioned earlier, kind...

...of C I C D Pipelines and where this is a good use case is really and to understand that, and I should say is us a C SC d pipeline, is really going to be the developer making changes to their code and then automating the process to push that code out into their production or pre production environments. What they'll end up using is solutions like an urban code to automate that process push the code out there. They'll probably use a product like rational to actually doing testing. But the gap that they've got is generally around monitoring, and so Instanta, with its ability to collect metrics at one second granularity, helps them determine if the code that they're pushing out works or not in relatively quickly means in the final use case that I would mention, that's big at IBM Um, and IBM is kind of like the big rilla in the mainframe space. Is We've seen our customers. So the way it works normally is mainframe organizations are very siloed off of operations. The I T operations, and I would actually call it the distributed side of the house. And so when when you get an application that runs from your distributed your I t operations through your main frame, is generally one side is pointing at the other side. Hey, it's broke over there the main frame. The main frame guys are pointing finger back at your distributed side and hey's broke up there. Where Instanta does is it allows you to trace your web application, your customer facing application, through your distributed environment all the way through your mainframe, so you can pinpoint where the problems are. A great example for us that for us, will be kind of a story. We've got around mobile the main frame, and so it's a mobile web interface, customer facing interface, where the system of records sits on the main frame itself and it goes through several different hops transactions through your distributed all the way through to your mainframe, and then we're able to pinpoint where the problems are. So it's a great story. Those are some of the use cases that we have. If I needed...

...to get into kind of similar winds, I'll give you two wins really quickly, and one of them was a large federal government agency and what we were able to do is, and they had a competitor of ours, a big competitor of ours, and what we're able to do is actually give a presentation and demonstration. The customer loved the tool, but they said, Hey, we've got this, we've got this other tool, competitory of yours, and we wouldn't want to rip and replace. So we suggested, Hey, just give us the opportunity to have one workflow, do one application monitoring, and they kind of agreed. And so what I'd say is that first deal that we did with them was only eleven thousand dollars. So it was it was really small, but they liked what they saw so much that seventy days later they bought another eighty five thousand dollars and licenses. They liked what they saw. Nine months later they bought another nine and seventy five tho dollars and licenses. Two years later we're almost at two million dollars. So it's a two million dollar customer that started off on just one application that we're actually trying to monitoring. So just getting our foot in the dorm. The second use case actually kind of goes back to our second wind goes back to a couple of our different use cases and it was a case where the customer actually came to us and they said, hey, you know what, we've got M Q. We want to buy additional a P M licenses, and so we said Hey, that's great, we've got a tool, we've got Instanta to monitor your Mq and you know what, Instanta to actually replace IBM S A P M solution. We go in, we do to demonstrate we'd go do the proof of concept. While the proof of concept is going on, we hear the customers say, Hey, you know what, we want to do kind of a mainframe modernization. So we just like we have a solution there too. It's Instanta for all the reason I mentioned earlier. Distributed through mainframe. We can give you that tracing capability across the two different environments. They bought off on it. That was at one point seven five million dollar deal that we've got. So those are the two wins. Definitely different. Once started...

...off very small, but multiple different use cases there. So to clarify, is instant a standalone product or or is it an add on to a larger technology stack? Wonderful Question. So in Stana can be sold, and it is largely sold as a stand alone product, very capable of collecting a very diverse set of metrics and different technologies. But what we're seeing is many of our customers are looking at at a bigger vision and that bigger vision is really going to be around Ai ops, and Ai ops is gonna give them kind of machine learning and analytics and, by the way, in Stana gives them machine learning and analytics too. But they want to want to be able to give machine learning, analytics, automation, but getting to being predictive and being proactive with the alarms that are actually coming in. Our customers are trying to do more with less if they can, and so there's a journey that they're on for a I ups and so in Stana fits in at that kind of collection layer. So it's a logical entry point for anybody going through to going through an AI OPS journey. Well. So as we start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? I know that's broad, but if you're a tipin point where maybe this space is going in the next year, what do you think so I do believe all of our customers on a digital transformation journey, going through application modernization. I think that that the horses out at the barn there. I think everybody is going to do it. So there's gonna be more and more focused there. I do think that that does provide some challenges for our customers and and I can think of three of them right off the top of my head. And one of them is going to be, you know, around kind of technical complexity. With a kind of a movement towards digital transformation, there is going to be more data points that our end users and customers are going to have to be able to monitor. There's gonna be complexity and correlation is gonna be harder to do,...

...and so they're gonna need a solution that's gonna be able to keep up with those changes in their environment. But I also think too, we're seeing with digital transformation is an increased increased development and velocity, which means that are our customers are going to be developing faster on the applications that they're offering their customers and the old world they might make a change two or three times a year, maybe four times a year, and what we're seeing now today is that our customers are changing because of the velocity to change that they're changing every week, every day even, and so they have to have a solution that's going to keep up with all the changes that are happening in their environment. And then, I would say that final bit is an organizational evolution, and what that means is there's going to be more and more focused on the developers and how they're delivering code in their environments and how good the code is. And so what they're gonna see is a focus on the tools that the developers are using to monitor the code push that they're making. And so instead of, I t operations only looking and have an a p M solutions that can only monitor, they're going to have to leverage observe ability solutions that the developers are starting to use. So at a complexity, technical complexity, increased velocity of your development and then organizational changes, is where are I see the industry going, and only a solution like Instana is going to be able to keep up with all the challenges and changes as in their environments that they're having. So for listeners, Steve, who want to find out more about what we talked about today. How can they reach out? Yeah, so I would say we should start off with reaching out to your Ingram Micro Rep Taylor, about a lotto or, if you wanted to dig down into instant a little bit more, go out to your IBM instant a website where we'll have pricing as well as your ability to actually kick the tires on a solution. Excellent. Well, I really do appreciate all of your time and your insight. Thanks so much, Steve. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me and thank...

...you for listeners, for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you liked this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby Scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by IBM. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and angram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton. To not miss an episode, subscribe today to your favorite podcast platform.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (482)