Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Flint Brenton, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Measuring Technical Debt | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #APM #Monitoring

If technical debt were like monetary debt, it would be hard to keep track of it unless you checked in manually

Measuring Technical Debt with Incident Management Data
By Christopher Tozzi

If technical debt were like monetary debt, it would be hard to keep track of it unless you checked in manually. The only way many people find out their checking account is running out of funds is by logging in and checking the balance - or, worse, having a check bounce or a debit card declined.

But measuring technical debt can be more automatic. That's because, unlike your bank account, your IT infrastructure can be monitored on an ongoing basis with specialized tools, and you can get notified on critical health metrics. In turn, you can use monitoring data to gain information about technical debt. In other words, you don't have to do a manual audit to know when something is going awry in your data center. You don't have to wait for a server to go down before learning about a problem. Incident Management tools provide that information for you. By extension, they also offer a way for you to take stock of your technical debt without having to measure things tediously by hand.

Here's how incident management can help you keep track of technical debt and correct it, with no additional investment on your part.

Defining Technical Debt

First, let me explain what I mean by technical debt. Technical debt refers to imperfections in software code or architecture that, over the long term, create inefficiencies or other problems. Even if the imperfection itself is small, it can accrue a lot of "interest" over time as its effects repeat themselves on a continual basis.

For example, a program whose code contains multiple versions of the same functions, rather than adopting a modular approach, could take a few milliseconds longer to run than a better written program. That's not a big deal if you execute it once. But if it's a server-side web application that runs thousands of times a day, the debt adds up quickly in the form of poor performance and wasted CPU time.

Technical debt has lots of potential causes. Sometimes, you might knowingly acquire technical debt because you need to implement something quickly, you don't have time to follow best practices, and you decide that the debt is worth the cost (at that time at least). Other times, even the nit-pickiest of admins is hard-pressed to avoid technical debt. Unless you could see into the future (for instance, you probably didn't know that a decade-old switch that you are still using today because you can't afford to upgrade, would not work well with modern firewall tools). In that case, technical debt is just par for the course of living in an imperfect world.

Tracking Technical Debt
While technical debt has many sources, the nice thing about using incident management to measure it is that this approach makes it easy to track the problems no matter what caused them. Again, instead of doing a time-consuming manual audit of your systems to search for inefficiencies, you can leverage your incident management data as a proxy for assessing the extent of technical debt and honing in on it.

To understand how, let's take a look at some examples of different types of incident management data that PagerDuty tracks, and what it can reveal about your technical debt.

For starters, take the raw number of alerts that your tools generate. This is a very basic metric, and it can be affected by a number of factors. But assuming that your incident management reporting systems are properly configured and that you make no major change to your infrastructure, there is likely to be a relationship between the size of your technical debt and the number of incidents that your tools report. That's because more debt means poorer performance, which in turn triggers alerts when response times or resource levels hit certain thresholds. So a steady month-over-month decrease in the occurrence of alerts could mean that your technical debt is declining because your code has become more efficient.

Mean time to resolution (MTTR) is another incident management metric that offers a view into your technical debt. One common cause of poor MTTR is code that is overly complex. For instance, to reuse the example from above, code that was hastily written and contains redundant functions will be hard for an admin to understand quickly. That means a longer resolution time in the event that he has to read and change that code in order to respond to an incident.

The rate of escalations in your incident management data is also a useful measure of technical debt. Escalations occur when the first responder to an incident is not able to solve the problem and has to call in extra help. Frequent escalations likely mean one of two things. First, your admins may not be good at their jobs, but if that's the case, you would already know about it well before you review your incident management data. The second main cause of escalations is code that is too complex to be handled easily by whoever responds to an incident. If that's the kind of code your admins are dealing with when they answer alerts, there's a good chance the code was poorly written and is a source of technical debt.

Finding the Source of Technical Debt
Beyond helping you trace general trends regarding your technical debt, incident management data is also handy for zeroing in on the source of a problem.

For example, if your MTTR for incidents related to a certain program is higher than your average MTTR, there's a good chance the program in question is generating technical debt. Similarly, if servers running one type of operating system account for a disproportionate number of alerts, there's probably a code or configuration flaw at play. That's a technical debt you can address.

The cool thing about using incident management data to locate and address technical debt is that it doesn't require any significant amount of additional work. You already have monitoring systems in place, along with (hopefully) a central operations and reporting hub like PagerDuty. Taking advantage of these resources to find and fix technical debt doesn't require additional tools or investment. It helps you proactively make your code and operations more efficient, using the software you already have in place.

The post Measuring Technical Debt With Incident Management Data appeared first on PagerDuty.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By PagerDuty Blog

PagerDuty’s operations performance platform helps companies increase reliability. By connecting people, systems and data in a single view, PagerDuty delivers visibility and actionable intelligence across global operations for effective incident resolution management. PagerDuty has over 100 platform partners, and is trusted by Fortune 500 companies and startups alike, including Microsoft, National Instruments, Electronic Arts, Adobe, Rackspace, Etsy, Square and Github.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...