As an IT manager you would have often heard from your line manager or user ask “Let’s drill down to find the root cause.”? As dreaded a question as it may seem, it is really the most important answer to understand IT outages. IT infrastructure availability is highly dependent on isolating problems, so the deciding variable in a problem can be fixed without putting the entire system at a halt. This is where RCA can be of tremendous help.

Administrators end up spending over 65% of their time in isolating problems. If RCA is deployed systematically and with the help of the right tools, this number can be reduced to its fraction. This is critically important because the freed up time will help the administrator’s device and execute solutions, instead of just focusing on problems.

Why is RCA Important?

RCA also plays a critical role in managing Service-Level Agreements that exist between the IT team and the business users. Understanding the parameters of the problem and how it is in line with the SLA can become a more efficient process with RCA. Eventually, this can lead to higher availability of IT Infrastructure.

IT systems can become vulnerable because of several reasons – server crashes, memory drains, power fluctuations, corrupted backups & original files, and so on. Even one of these problems can individually bring the system to a halt, and collectively they can wreak havoc. RCA can help the entire IT team diagnose the problem by isolating the particular components and issues that have caused the escalation, and this increases their efficacy to fix the problem in lesser time.

When you are facing downtime, your entire focus is getting the system running as soon as possible. You may run a patch to achieve this, and if it works, you might even get appreciation from your colleagues. That said, this does not mean that the systemic error has been solved. Next time, the same problem may recur with more considerable prowess, and the patch may not work since you have not established a root-cause problem that you should be targeting.

Why is Root Cause Analysis Challenging?

RCA, as a logical system, is known to all experienced system administrators. Every single lead engineer must have heard about the term. Even non-technical managers understand it at a principle level. Even then, it isn’t easy to execute an effective RCA exercise.

Most IT teams can understand the causal forces behind a specific problem. But finding the root-cause where the problem originated is more complicated than that. Companies have huge Data, application, departments and a lot more things happening, and integrating them is a task. But, with Network Monitoring System it can be made smooth and simplified

How Can You Simplify Your RCA Process?

  1. Begin with Achieving Effective Correlation for RCA.
    In simple terms Correlation is when there is a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things. But it is not as easy as it looks in real life. A lot of times symptoms get manifested somewhere else very far from the actual root cause.
    Correlation of events involves data collection in both – logs and metrics format. It identifies relationship or interdependencies associated with them and help identify which resource is deviating from its usual behavior pattern and remediate before an incident occurs. However Using multiple monitoring systems and dashboards create silos and doesn’t let you understand the relationship between network metric, system logs, application performance and flow data. Detecting performance bottleneck and suspicious behaviors anomaly requires correlating all the parameters.
  2. Get the Right Alert at the Right Time.
    You might consider analyzing the alerts. But, practically every system can send alerts. That said, there is usually no context built around the alerts. An alert of high CPU usage at 02:00 AM would be useless if received at 08:00 AM. If you are unable to the snapshots of the system error message in real-time or historically, finding the root-cause would become a more puzzling process.
    Having a system that can send automated alerts whenever a threshold is broken will help your team minimize or even eradicate the probable damage caused by the problem.
  3. Drill-down to N-Level to Get the Right Context and Minimize Downtime.
    Understanding transactions between key nodes can be a critical data source for performing effective RCA. All systems can generate alerts, but a platform that helps you understand the issue to the transaction level. This way, you can use the alerts in the right context to troubleshoot the problem quickly.

Why Is It So Important?

As businesses become more digitalized, their reliance on always-running IT infrastructure has grown. A few hours of downtime in the system can cause severe delays in crucial business decisions and work processes. Recurring issues can cause strategic damage to the business.

Here is why it has become critically important to have Next Generation modern Network Monitoring System:

  1. Data Flow Has Outpaced Human-Tracking Capabilities. Several alerts are being sent by the systems now. As the IT infrastructure grows, the number and variants of these alerts will also increase. It has become nearly impossible for ITSM teams to track and trace all the alerts. Machine-Learning technology that can establish a real-time correlation between issues has become the need for the hour.
  2. Static Infrastructure was Not Designed to Produce Effective RCA Results. Most firms are still running legacy IT systems. These systems are not optimized for tracking and tracing issues. Hence, the rudimentary manual correlation establishing processes for RCA will not yield the desired results. It’s the basic rule of modeling – garbage in, garbage out. Since the data available to assess these situations is not sufficiently compelling, it cannot direct the IT teams in the right direction.
  3. Dashboards and Tools that Operate in Silos Make the Process More Difficult. The conventional IT Ops, where dashboards, tools, and system monitors are scattered across the board, is inefficient. Getting strategic insights on network failure for risk assessment or proactive measures is like traveling to the moon with a rocket that has its engine, thrust, and systems disintegrated and stored in different cities.

Motadata’s Network Monitoring System with advanced correlation capabilities solves all these problems in a wink. It simplifies the responsibility of your IT Service Desk to unravel the source of the problem and help them move rapidly towards designing and implementing a solution.

In Conclusion

Having multiple dashboards and tools will only make the RCA process more complicated. The only way to take care of this issue before it turns into a systemic problem is by having an integrated tool with powerful correlation features. Once the RCA exercise has been conducted using the Motadata platform, finding the solution becomes a linear process. After solving the problem, your team can go back to work and track alerts to mitigate the future recurrence of the same problem.