Interview: Bernd Harzog, CEO of OpsDataStore

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harzog2I recently caught up with Bernd Harzog, CEO of OpsDataStore and former Gartner analyst. OpsDataStore recently launched out of stealth to provide a big data back-end for all IT management data. The interview touches on the recent launch of OpsDataStore, and the urgent need for big data intelligence in IT operations.

Daniel – Managing Editor, insideBIGDATA

insideBIGDATA: Why do enterprises still suffer from numerous service outages even with massive investments in frameworks from legacy vendors?

Bernd Harzog: Enterprise IT has been dealt a bad hand when it comes to IT operations management. For decades, IT organizations have been under immense pressure to deliver service quality across heterogeneous stacks and platforms, yet they haven’t been provided with the tools to do so. On a daily basis, they deal with outdated legacy management frameworks, unrelated point tools, homegrown solutions and other piecemeal approaches. How did we get here? In the mid-90’s, legacy vendors promised customers that one product could manage the entire environment. While this promise seemed reasonable at the time, legacy vendors underestimated the pace of innovation and were propelled into what I call “Blind Dinosaur” status. Like real dinosaurs, legacy vendors failed to adapt and change to their environment. The result? Customers who stayed the course with legacy solutions have been stuck with products that cannot support a modern IT environment. Today’s enterprises rely on Agile Development, DevOps, dynamic infrastructure (data center virtualization) and cloud – IT must adapt to support these new approaches and technologies.

insideBIGDATA: Why do customers have trouble preventing IT operations issues or solving problems quickly?

Bernd Harzog: Today’s enterprises are suffering under the weight of IT management and monitoring tool proliferation. Customers have reacted to the failure of legacy management frameworks by implementing many different best-of-breed tools. In fact, I recently spoke to a customer that had 300 different monitoring tools, each with its own database. The customer doesn’t have an effective way to tie the data from these systems together. Adding to the complexity, each tool has a different owner. When there is a problem, the customer has to get 300 (or 30) people in a room with their laptops to figure out how to solve the problem. This war room approach to solving IT issues is time-consuming and ineffective; it’s akin to throwing money out the window.

insideBIGDATA: What can a central repository for all IT data can enable for today’s enterprises?

Bernd Harzog: A central repository is essential, but it is only of value if all of the data is related to the topologies that comprise the application systems that customers care about. Enterprises need data spanning their entire IT operations environment – application performance management, analytics, automation, financial management, service management and more. The pace of innovation today and in the future means that no single vendor will be able to keep up and manage all of tools across these categories. That’s why we launched OpsDataStore. By bringing together data from these management software vendors into an intelligent solution, enterprises will have the power to quickly get to the root cause of the problem.

insideBIGDATA: How can vendors work together to overcome the IT management data challenge for customers?

Bernd Harzog: Our goal is to make all vendor data more valuable to enterprises. Vendors can actively participate in this effort by joining our open ecosystem. We correlate all vendor data from the ecosystem together in order to provide insights to enterprises that were never before possible. For example, most IT Operations staff have no idea how their applications are performing, even though they get yelled at about this problem on a regular basis. With more data at their fingertips, customers can address this age-old problem and drive better service.

insideBIGDATA: What was the primary need you saw in the market as an analyst and consultant that led you to launch OpsDataStore?

Bernd Harzog: Despite the fact that the most sophisticated customers in the world have invested millions of dollars in tools or homegrown solutions, enterprises still experience an overwhelming number of incidents that interrupt the business. And due to the complexity of their IT environments, it takes them too long to resolve these incidents. Through my work as an analyst and consultant, I concluded that if any single vendor could solve this problem, one of them would have done so by now. Since all attempts on the part of single vendors had failed, I concluded that only an ecosystem of the best management software vendors backed by a common big data back end could solve this problem and change the current paradigm in IT management. We are bringing big data intelligence to IT operations.


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