Blogs

Introducing a New Way of IT Performance Troubleshooting: Guided Investigations

By Ryan Perkowski, Senior Product Manager

Prior to working at Virtual Instruments, I held various storage engineering positions within the banking industry.  I started as a junior storage administrator and ultimately became the head of storage operations at a large financial institution.  One of the things that stood out to me during that time was the varied number of problems my team had to tackle on a daily or weekly basis.  Sure, our vendors offered us training classes for all the gear that we had in our shop, but nothing could prepare us for the seemingly infinite number of things that could go wrong.  Each time we solved a problem, our team’s knowledge and experience grew.  This is true in any industry, in any company; the longer someone works at a job, the more experience they gain.

I decided to leave the enterprise space in 2010, and enter the vendor community.  It wasn’t a hard transition; I was working in the Professional Services organization and tasked with using the knowledge I had gained over the years to solve our customers problems.  Personally, it was fantastic.  I was still problem solving, but I no longer had to carry an on-call pager.  But over the next couple of years, a new pattern emerged.

All of our customers were fighting the same issues, literally.  I would write up an audit report that detailed how to resolve their problem, but I ended up writing the same steps over and over.  One of the unique things that VirtualWisdom gives our users is access to data they have never seen before.  Once you know how to use this data, the solution often becomes obvious.  Knowing how to use this data was gained through years of experience.  The irony is that each of our customers had to go through these growth pains to get their infrastructure healthy.

Once I joined the Product Management team at Virtual Instruments, I knew we could do better.  Our Professional Services team had compiled a playbook of how to solve the most common problems we encountered, using VirtualWisdom.  At first, we used this document internally to train our newest team members.  We started releasing this to our customers as the SAN Troubleshooting Guide.  This guide was a huge PDF filled with the knowledge we had built up over the years, but it was not the ideal solution we wanted.  That was until VirtualWisdom v5.4 introduced Investigations.

VirtualWisdom has always had the ability to alarm when user configurable thresholds are crossed.  This was great; we told users that there was a problem, but we never offered a solution to get the customer out of the situation.   In VirtualWisdom v5.4, we programmatically included resolution steps for our most common alarm conditions.  These resolution steps grew directly from our Troubleshooting Guides, and were expanded to include all of our new integration types (Software Defined Storage, NAS, Compute, Virtualization).  When an alarm fires, the case that is created now contains specific steps to diagnose and resolve the issue.  Think of it as guided problem resolution.

As a VirtualWisdom customer, you gain access to all the knowledge that I, and our Professional Services team have acquired that solve the industry’s most confusing and expensive infrastructure performance and health problems.  We are giving away this knowledge, at no additional charge, because it’s what we do.  Imagine your junior team member solving a complex problem like a seasoned pro, because the knowledge of how to solve it was at their fingertips.  Our customers are gaining more than a hundred years of IT problem solving experience, in an award-winning Infrastructure Performance Monitoring and Analytics platform that is determined to make your life easier.