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Dealing with outages -- are we ready?

Randy Clark, CMO of UC4 Software | July 26, 2012
The powerful storms that recently hit the mid-Atlantic region caused electrical outages that in turn disrupted Amazon's EC2 services. The impact to the consumers and businesses that depend on the Amazon cloud have been well chronicled.

If the businesses dependent on Amazon had these capabilities, they would drastically reduce the outages they experienced. Orchestrating business workflows and associated data across applications and infrastructure is easier said than done. However, it can, and is, being done by many enterprises to assure service levels.

Being able to "roll-back" failed system updates to previous working versions, spotting process failures before they create an unrecoverable backlog, and the ability to run a workflow on newly provisioned environments is the type of higher-level process automation that abstracts inevitable outages from the user or business experience.

As enterprises get more serious about higher-level process automation, they will spend more time abstracting their processes from specific infrastructures and application environments. This abstraction is not only key to quickly managing an outage, it's also key to efficiently dealing with the growing IT complexity created by today's hyper-competitive business environment.

Whether IT is ready or not, the business is doing whatever it takes to respond to changing market and customer demands by pushing IT to develop new applications at a faster pace and deploy them quickly (on highly virtualized infrastructure). Add that up and you get a lack of organization, infrastructure sprawl, and more fluidity as to where applications actually run, resulting in IT complexity and skyrocketing application-to-infrastructure dependencies.

It's at this point where the need for process abstraction and automation becomes acute. Because these interdependencies, which represent potential breakage points, are beyond human ability alone to manage. IT organizations are now forced to deal with these new realities while Cloud, Big Data, DevOps and ITaaS pressures get added to the mix in the name of providing more business agility. With all these moving parts, something needs to be stable and act as the IT backbone. It's increasingly obvious that it's the process and process control.

The days of designing the process to accommodate the shortcomings of infrastructure are over. Enterprises must abstract, insulate and protect their business processes from the applications and infrastructures that support them. The need for improved IT process automation is rising as the services and brand impact of on-line outages grows.

UC4 Software is the world's largest independent IT Process Automation software company. UC4 automates tens of millions of operations a day for over 2,000 customers worldwide. Rethink IT automation at


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