Technology’s big tradeoff: complexity vs. conformity

Just in case you’ve been lucky enough to be running a fishing charter business in Micronesia for most of the last decade, technology has been growing to a point of increasing power and complexity.

For every new augmentation, enhancement and expansion that the technology trade seeks to roll out and have us ‘embrace’, there usually comes a more granular internal convolutedness that needs to be architected and engineered into place… and then subsequently managed.

The need to evolve IT while still staying within the boundaries of compliance and productive operational control is the complexity vs. conformity challenge of the decade to come. This is not just conformity and compliance to regulatory governance standards – although it is that too – this is all about bringing new technology into live production environments that organisations can actually steer and control.

Look around, observability is everywhere

Almost always generically labelled under the term ‘insights’, every major vendor worth its salt is now working hard to try and give us management controls for complex systems that run with as much Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) as possible.

Data behemoth Oracle spent the latter part of 2019 talking about its ‘autonomous database’ offering. This notion of the self-driving database takes many of the chores that a Database Administrator (DBA) might typically have to perform, to then hand defined actions over to software so that more tasks are executed automatically.

System patching, data replication or deduplication, upgrades, defragmentation and just plain old maintenance can all happen while the DBA is asleep, while they’re getting a soda or (perhaps more crucially) while they’re working to try and provide business users with higher-value services.

Roughly one year on from its major autonomous control play, the company has this month added the snappily named Oracle Cloud Observability and Management Platform to its wider Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) suite of services.

What’s actually inside this anti-complexity package are tools for logging analytics, database management, application performance monitoring, operations insights (there’s that word) as well as existing services such as notifications, streaming controls and Operating System (OS) management.

“We are combining decades of experience with OCI to provide end-to-end visibility for all layers of the IT stack. Whether customers’ apps are deployed on Oracle Cloud, [other Oracle dedicated public cloud branded services], on-premises, or in other public clouds, we are eliminating the complexity and reducing the risks and costs associated with today’s multi-tool approach to make the overall management process highly intuitive and cost-effective,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Sumo muscles up for the pipeline

What the complexity factor means for developers (Dev) trying to architect, engineer and deploy applications is something of an operational headache. Of course, we mean operations with a capital O as in the Operations half of DevOps. But where DevOps works effectively, it can provide enough insight (ouch, sorry) into system form and function to allow the team to move ahead.

Working at what it likes to call the ‘continuous intelligence’ end of the conformity and control spectrum is Sumo Logic. The company this year updated its Software Development Optimization (SDO) software to more broadly integrate and analyse data from multiple DevOps tools to give developers real-time insights into software development pipelines.

“Digital and cloud transformation requires the migration, modernisation and development of new workloads, all of which require modern management and analytics capabilities, while also being secure given the vast amount of growing threats. The challenge is these services that run as modern applications are highly complex and difficult to manage without real-time analytics to drive comprehensive observability for DevSecOps teams,” said Ramin Sayar, president and CEO of Sumo Logic.

Sayar wants to justify and validate his firm’s technology proposition in respect of the complexity that is clearly out there by insisting that organisations need a means to monitor, detect, isolate, diagnose, troubleshoot and remediate issues in real-time for these constantly changing and complex environments.

The Sumo Logic platform promises to provide software engineering organisations with the ability to benchmark and optimise their software development and delivery performance against industry standard DORA metrics to understand the health of their innovation cycles.

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