Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Kalyan Ramanathan, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Finding Harmony Between Business & Applications & Infrastructure Teams

In summary, no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan

In many companies, the business leadership team, the application team and the infrastructure team are all different entities. And while they are all very dependent on each other in many ways, often organizational goals and alignment can be very different for each team.

For example, business leaders want maximum business results with minimum cost or investment. As a result, this often applies pressure on IT to squeeze more and more out while continually trying to reduce costs. Application teams generally care primarily about the applications, which are directly linked to the business results, but are also very dependent on the infrastructure team. The infrastructure is often at the bottom of the heap, critical for application success, but primarily viewed by business leaders as a "cost center" where the business value provided can be hard to directly link to individual expenses (until something breaks, that is).

However, while there are some natural drivers for conflict between the teams, there should be an even stronger motivation for joint success. That said, the ability to get past the friction points to really find harmony between these groups often takes a concerted effort to design an approach that works for everyone and results in the maximum business results for the right level of investment.

By starting out with that goal in mind, there are three "easy" steps that can help make sure that these groups work together for mutual success:

Step 1: Plan Together
While this seems obvious, it often doesn't happen as different management chains and budgets can result in disjointed goals and plans. Working across teams in the budget and planning phases can be critical to making sure there are common goals and metrics and that those goals align with available resources.

The ability to agree on tradeoffs up front can optimize existing resources across teams and ensure everyone buys in. Obviously the service level agreement (SLA) is the most common form of agreement across teams and can represent a great approach for reaching a common goal, especially if it is done holistically as part of an overall discussion for aligning staffing and resources with business objectives.

Step 2: Share a Common View of Reality
The most common use case is that applications and infrastructure teams have either no management solution or siloed management tools that don't span across domains. As a result, each team has a different view of what is happening that often aren't aligned with each other and don't provide a common view of the IT environment. When a problem arises that affects business results, this lack of shared visibility often translates into more effort to prove that it is not a problem in each teams' domain more so than an effort to jointly find and fix the problem. By having a management tool that integrates across domains, both the application and the infrastructure teams can have a common view of reality. Products, such as SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor and Virtualization Manager, can provide visibility across domains to better coordinate changes and plan for capacity requirements that help prevent problems while significantly improving mean time to repair when a problem does occur.

Step 3: Plan for When Things Go Wrong
Given how much impact critical application failures and downtime can have on a business' financial success, you would think that incident planning would be more common. And while many IT teams do have backup and failover plans, few actually test them. But that only addresses the contingency for a problem on the IT side. Often, the business leadership team could have alternate plans for when significant problems occur. Application, infrastructure and business leadership teams should work together to plan for incidences where backup approaches for communicating with key customers (e.g. a phone tree to call if a website or application is down), temporary alternative order processing approaches and partners who can take over while a system is being repaired are jointly defined. While perhaps not ideal, having these alternatives preplanned and available can turn an outage from a disaster into a mere inconvenience.

In summary, no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan. That old adage clearly applies to the concept of business leadership, application and infrastructure teams working together. A few relatively easy steps taken can help make sure these teams work together to prevent problems and at the same time ensure they are ready to minimize the impacts if a problem does occur.

More Stories By Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson is Director of Systems Management Business at SolarWinds.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...