How IT operations products can simplify the challenges of digital transformation

Published 19th August 2019 in Blogs

In this blog, Camilla Powell, Product Manager, gives us an insight into the IT operations products UKCloud now supports. Virtual machines, containers and storage commonly form the core platform for an application but there are so many other pieces to the jigsaw such as monitoring, security, management and backup that collectively form the complete solution. 

Can you provide some examples of IT operations products?

We have a number of IT operations products in the portfolio now: I work closely with CyberScore, a cyber vulnerability scanning tool from XQ Cyber; Moogsoft, a platform for AIOps, and AppDynamics from Cisco, an application performance monitoring and business intelligence tool.

What benefits do these new products bring?

In the past, we’ve been very IaaS focussed, and have delivered great multi-cloud platforms in that space. More recently, we’ve broadened out so we can offer our customers solutions to more than just the question of the underlying platform. So that’s in the cyber security space, in the data lifecycle space and in the monitoring and operations space. This means we’re having new types of conversations with our customers which we hadn’t been able to do previously.

Moogsoft looks interesting, combing Artificial Intelligence and operations, how does it work?

Moogsoft is one product that we’ve seen bring genuine change and benefits for us at UKCloud. What Moogsoft does is bring Artificial Intelligence (AI) to operations to make the job of running an IT ecosystem much easier.  IT has become more and more complex over the years, and if something goes wrong operators need to make sense of the sea of information to get to the root cause; this is where AI can really ease this process.

Moogsoft uses noise reduction intelligence to make sense of all that data by correlating together information from disparate systems and realising when things are occurring out of normal operations, giving operators actionable “situations”. It’s like the difference between walking through a busy market with all the different stall holders heckling to get your attention, to instead having a clear, quiet space with one guide telling you quite simply where you need to go. We’ve rolled out Moogsoft on our internal systems at UKCloud and it’s made massive improvements to our operations, so we genuinely would like to see our customers realise the same benefits.

We all know unfortunately threats posed in the cyber space continue to increase, are there any products you recommend here?

In the cyber space, we have a product, Cyberscore, that solves the challenge of being able to quantify your cyber risk, and having quantified that risk, identify how you can improve your cyber risk posture.

Research shows that even though three quarters of businesses recognise that cyber security is a high priority, less than a third of them have a formal cyber security policy. So, it’s another example of where customers are looking for solutions – in this case how to make their organisation robust in the face of commodity cybercrime – and, with Cyberscore, UKCloud is able to meet this challenge.

Can customers suggest products or ideas to the UKCloud products team?

Absolutely, ideas can come from us in the Products team, but also come from other parts of the business, from our customers, or from our partners. In fact, if anyone has any ideas or feedback to give to UKCloud we really encourage them to get onto our new Community site to let us know. We then sift through the items at the ideas stage and go through a process to validate those ideas, weed them down so that in successive stages of the product lifecycle we’re progressing the ones that can demonstrably make a difference to our customers and ensure they are solving IT challenges.

Along the way we may choose to do a technical evaluation or spike, run a proof of concept, or even trial with a single or multiple customer, it all depends on what it is. For some things we actively look for customer input, so recently we’ve been conducting user testing for our new UKCloud Portal designs. We visited customers with prototypes and observed them completing some set tasks and whether the new designs worked or not. The results of those tests then feedback into the designs. We’re still looking for feedback on the Portal, so post your comments on the Community site.

Closing thoughts on the IT operations products?

One of the most important things to highlight is how the IT operations products fit into the three ways that UKCloud can help you – first is about choice and options. We’ve previously given choice in the IaaS space, and now we are bringing that choice further up the technology stack into software.

The second, is higher assurance and secure connectivity – now we’re bringing IT operations products into that space, so for example if you are on a government network or on our Elevated security domain but want an intelligent operations product, we can now make that happen. Finally, our multi-cloud experts are bringing in software products, providing more tools to help customers make transformation happen.

Our expert author

Camilla Powell

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