Tap dancing for the boss: That's how Michael Lee Sherwood described it, as he did a little shuffle step, playing...
the role of an IT manager stalling for time with his boss while a support team grapples behind the scenes with a systems problem of unknown origin.
That is where new AI-for-IT-operations software comes in, according to Sherwood, who is director of technology and innovation for the city of Las Vegas.
There's less patience with the tap dance these days, as even government moves at a faster pace, and top business managers don't accept the old standby status report: "We're working on it." Sherwood and his crew are using AI-based monitoring software to cut to the chase in one of America's biggest convention and holiday destinations.
Today, it is an increasingly instrumented Las Vegas, one that feeds IoT information on the status of buses, traffic congestion, vehicle collisions and more into the city's IT systems. Failures at any link in the chain have to be identified immediately, Sherwood said.
Betting on a smart city
As part of the Las Vegas government's smart city initiative, Sherwood and his team have turned to FixStream Inc.'s namesake artificial intelligence for IT operations, or AIOps, platform to better map data on IoT and other IT services to Oracle ERP business processes.
Michael Lee Sherwooddirector of technology and innovation for the city of Las Vegas
"Executives want to know the answer now. They don't want to hear, 'We have a team looking into it,'" Sherwood said. "Their tolerance for listening to me on that is going from, 'I have a day to fix problems,' to, 'I have a minute to fix problems.'"
AIOps is a category of software that uses AI and machine learning technology to support IT operations analytics processes. Sherwood said Las Vegas' implementation of FixStream's AI-for-IT-operations software has been going on for two years. The platform collects log and other operations data from a variety of systems and identifies the connections between applications and business events.
That way, it builds a history, continually updated, that gives a full view of the multilayered effect of IT operations. It is there where the AI in AI monitoring comes into play.
Beyond the margin
As it continues to run, FixStream correlates IT ops data with the business events, using its AI algorithms to uncover patterns that are within or outside accepted margins and to identify anomalies.
The activity is presented in a highly visual format that shows the pulse of operations at any given time, Sherwood said. A next step for the city is to hook up FixStream with the ServiceNow intelligent IT automation software that it also uses.
For Sherwood, the purpose of the FixStream AIOps platform is to reduce the time it takes Las Vegas to identify system problems and assign fixes and to make sure triage meetings to pinpoint system problems are brief and efficient.
Right place, right time
Having the right information at the right time is critical for the smart city of today and tomorrow, Sherwood emphasized. His remarks came as part of a FixStream session on using AI to predict business applications issues at the Collaborate 18 Oracle user conference in Las Vegas.
"When something goes wrong, to have a system that tells us where we have to go to fix a problem is helpful," he said. "Systems need to work in harmony. So, we need to get the right people quickly to start diagnosing problems."
There are other signs of activity in applying machine learning and AI-for-IT-operations tools. This week, Splunk made its Insights for Infrastructure software generally available to better help administrators correlate metrics and logs.
Moves toward AI for IT operations on the part of FixStream, Splunk and others aim to quickly highlight looming and actual bottlenecks in systems. That could reduce the need for any IT manager to do a two-step dance while waiting to find the source of a systems problem.