Companies can’t afford downtime. Employees need access to their applications and data 24/7, and so do other business applications, manufacturing and logistics management systems, and security monitoring centers. Anyone who thinks that the brute force effort of their hard-working IT administrators is enough to prevent system downtime just isn’t facing reality.
Traditional systems administrators and their admin tools can’t keep up with the complexity inherent in any modern enterprise. A recent survey of the Oracle Applications Users Group has found that despite significant progress in systems management automation, many customers still report that more than 80% of IT issues are first discovered and reported by users. The number of applications is spiraling up, while data increases at an even more rapid rate. The boundaries between systems are growing more complex, especially with cloud-based and hybrid-cloud architectures.
That reality is why Oracle, after analyzing a survey of its industry-leading customers, recently predicted that by 2020, more than 80% of application infrastructure operations will be managed autonomously. Autonomously is an important word here: It means not only doing mundane day-to-day tasks including monitoring, tuning, troubleshooting, and applying fixes automatically, but also detecting and rapidly resolving issues. Even when it comes to the most complex problems, machines can simplify the analysis—sifting through the millions of possibilities to present simpler scenarios, to which people then can apply their expertise and judgment of what action to take.
Oracle asked, through a third-party survey of its users groups, about the kind of activities that IT system administrators do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis—things such as password resets, system reboots, software patches, and the like. Oracle expects that IT teams will soon reduce by several orders of magnitude the number of situations like those that need manual intervention. If an organization typically has 20,000 human-managed interventions per year, humans will need to touch only 20. The rest will be handled through systems that can apply automation combined with machine learning, which can analyze patterns and react faster than human admins to enable preventive maintenance, performance optimization, and problem resolution. By using autonomous IT management systems, such as Oracle Management Cloud, companies should see better uptime, application performance, and security, and more cost-efficient use of resources.
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Such autonomous systems certainly will change the role of IT administrators. Instead of routine monitoring and firefighting, they will focus on solving the toughest problems, collaborating with business units to seize opportunities, and planning for the next generation of technological innovation.
This prediction—that by 2020 more than 80% of application and infrastructure operations will be resolved autonomously—is one of 10 developed through a research collaboration between Oracle and many of its customers focusing on the evolution of the during the next two years. Here are the rest, all estimated to occur by 2020:
More than 50% of all enterprise data will be managed autonomously.
Security will move from job 10 to job 1.
Cloud providers will add on-premises controls—or miss out on mission-critical workloads.
Regulated industries will migrate to the cloud en masse.
The lion’s share of new applications will be built with microservices architectures.
AI will cement its place in the enterprise.
The majority of customer support interactions will be conducted by chatbots.
IoT will evolve from individual components to an integrated platform.
Blockchain will be the disruptive standard in modern commerce.
Read the full report at “Cloud Predictions 2018.”
Alan Zeichick is principal analyst at Camden Associates, a tech consultancy in Phoenix.