Answer any question about your IT infrastructure in under 15 seconds...

Answer any question about your IT infrastructure in under 15 seconds:

Where is my 'EC2 instance'?

even if you are not the 'AWS expert'

InsightNow! by DataArm

In our experience helping organizations around the world,
the DevOps and Agile culture
created more work and additional complexity for IT operations; teams of as little as two engineers now have to manage as many as 250,000 "things":
Cloud and virtualization providers

Stop feeling you are always catching up with work (and documentation)!

We can save you HOURS, on many complex activities you perform every day...

Let your new hires be productive their first day on the job

We can make your new IT engineers feel confident about your "tech stack" by the end of their first day on the job, and start to be productive as soon as you give them a user and password.

Does that sound valuable? We certainly think it is better than the average two-week "archaeology-onboarding" process used by most organizations:

Is this the History Channel or what?

It is frustrating for the new engineers when you tell them: "Take the next two weeks to read through our documentation, it will be an excellent way to understand the history of our technology."

Really? The "history"? You KNOW its mostly a bunch of out-dated network diagrams and half-finished documents that have little gems of knowledge scattered around.

Put yourself in their shoes for a second:

  • They are excited.

  • They are also in shock because they made a huge decision that impacts many aspects in their lives

  • And they are in a high-risk situation because you could let them go at any time during the initial "evaluation period."

They don't want to play the "archaeologist" and learn about dead projects and the things that went wrong; they want to know what you are using NOW! So they can prove themselves to you.

This moment is the worst time ever to ask them to sit and read for two weeks; it is a morale killer.

Salt on a fresh wound

It is also frustrating for you, because every time you have a new hire, you feel guilty because not all your docs are up-to-date as you would like, and it's understandable, you are too busy doing real work; there is no time left to update those Visio diagrams.

It feels like rubbing salt on a fresh wound.

Pride

Here is the alternative:

  • Have a computer (automatically) generate, index an update all those network diagrams, documents and connections for you in a way that is searchable, exploration-friendly, both visual and data-driven

  • Give it to your new hires, starting with a "big picture" view, and tell them: "Everything you need to know is here, and it is all up-to-date"

Sounds out of this world? It's not!, It's real, we built the system that does all of that and more: InsightNow!

All you need to do is provide a few read-only credentials and you will never, ever feel guilty again because your docs are not up-to-date.

Instead, you will be proud to show your modern, automated, up-to-date, searchable and exploration-friendly documentation to your new hires. And they will be so much relieved from day one!

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!

Find the location of a MAC address in under 15 seconds

In a data center, office, or IoT environment it is frequently necessary to find a network-enabled device by its physical address.

We can bring this process down from 2 HRS+ to 15 seconds for anybody in your team, even if it's their first day on the job and they have never taken any networking training.

Does that sound valuable? We sure think it does!

Needle in a haystack that changes constantly

This process usually takes hours and requires a solid understanding of network technology, enough access rights to log into management devices, and of course, you have to remember the different syntax implemented by the various vendors you may have.

We've seen the need for this in different situations, like tracking down a printer in the middle of a manufacturing company with 250+ switches or responding to a security breach notice about a rogue device swapping MAC addresses from under an unused desk.

Who you gonna call?

The usual process goes like this:

  • You start by contacting your network team, network contractor, or somebody with network training that has access to the admin interface on the routers, switches, access points and other network gear.

  • Your network engineer will open a session to one of those devices, escalate to gain admin rights, and start hunting down through the output of console commands.

  • If you are on a Juniper-based infrastructure, some of the commands your engineer will use (and need to remember the syntax for) are: show ethernet-switching table, show bridge mac-table, show arp, etc.

  • If on Cisco, the commands are of course different: traceroute, show arp, show mac address-table address, etc.

This process will quickly get more complicated, frustrating and lengthy if you have several independently managed networks, different vendors (or even different versions from the same vendor that don't support the same commands).

Unexpected places

Here is the alternative:

Open up InsightNow!'s dashboard in your web browser, type the MAC address down and wait a few seconds until we find any occurrence throughout your infrastructure.

And we will find it for you, anywhere it is!, including:

  • VMWare or other virtualization platforms (it may be the MAC address of an interface for a server that is currently shut down, or even an SRM template)

  • Your documentation portal (maybe somebody already documented that they are using this particular MAC address for some specific purpose)

You certainly can't do that from within your network managed devices!

Never, ever again take longer than 15 seconds to find anything, anywhere in your Infrastructure

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!

Let your outsourced NOC engineers asses the impact of an issue and know who to call in under 15 seconds

We can bring the time it takes an outsourced NOC engineer to understand the impact of a monitoring alert and escalate it to the right engineer in your organization to 15 seconds (down from 30 minutes or more).

Does that sound valuable? We sure think it does!

The gray line

It is a common, cost-effective practice to have a third-party company provide the engineers that respond to IT monitoring problems, the case of the outsourced NOC operation (or even technical helpdesk).

It is a gray line between saving money from running a 24x7 operation in-house, and managing the relationship so your users, clients and your own engineers are happy.

Lawyer-speak

One of the most challenging things you will find when working in such an arrangement is keeping that "runbook" for your NOC engineers up-to-date. If you are not careful, it will also quickly become a lawyer-speak document with lots of "if you don't do this I will do this to you" and "if you don't give me this I won't be liable for what happens next."

That is not very helpful for the NOC engineer trying to solve a problem, isn't it?

Put yourself in their shoes for a second:

  • They are smart and technically proficient, but maybe on the dawn of their careers from a developing country (perhaps your language is not their mother tongue)

  • They have almost no familiarity with your organization, only that run-book and a log of past tickets and stories from co-workers

  • They are working against the clock; it is a stressful situation: Hold the ball for too long, SLA breach! Hold it for too little: complaints about not providing value

  • Even if they do everything right, they still need to wake up your more senior engineer, explain the problem and assign the responsibility to solve the issue, at 3 AM, and believe me, very few people are kind to you at 3 AM

Not as easy after all!

Updating the runbook?

What's the alternative?

Have the run-book automatically up-to-date, and dynamically show your NOC the impact of the problem, along with the relationships and dependencies in your infrastructure, so they don't need to waste time cutting through the noise and logging to your various systems to get all the pieces of the puzzle.

Allow them to do the work that is most valuable for you:

  • Be already awake!

  • Validate that the issue is real (using their technical expertise), to stop false positives from getting to you

  • Visually inspect the rest of your infrastructure and monitoring screens and dashboards for unexpected problems

  • Escalate the issue until they find somebody who's going to solve it

  • Stay on top of the communication channels, keep all the stakeholders updated until the problem is solved

You can forget about long "training sessions" for new NOC engineers, and never, ever hear the NOC manager calling you about parts of the runbook that you have to update.

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!

Understand the impact of a couple hundred different alerts in under 15 seconds

We can bring the time it takes you to understand the impact of a couple of hundred different monitoring alerts to less than 15 seconds (down from 45 minutes or more), even if it's your first day on the job.

Does that sound valuable? We sure think it does!

Noise reduction filters

There are many great tools out there that already help you to reduce noise, like PagerDuty, OpsGenie, VictorOps, etc.

They are all excellent tools, well worth the cost, but they are limited to the little information that they receive from you during a short period, so all they can offer is the aggregation of problems with the same information, or "deduplication."

Consider a simple scenario like this:

  • You have one or more monitoring systems integrated with either of the tools above.

  • You have a business service "THE page" with one dependency to "my-w.url" that is a CNAME (or alias) to "odd-name.url" and it is resolving to the "1.2.3.4" address (all operated by Jim), like this:

  • (Jim)-[OWNS]->(THE page)-[DEPENDS]->(my-w.url) -[CNAME]-> (odd-name.url) -[IP]-> (1.2.3.4)

What will happen if a monitoring system detects a ping timeout to 1.2.3.4? You will have an alert like "1.2.3.4 is not responding", you may be able to automate a reverse resolution to "odd-name.url," but no simple step will give you back "Jim"

What if now the "https://my-w.url/some-business-unit" page is down? Well, you get a different notification.

And what about an error with the MX (mail) records for "my-w.url"? (yet a separate notification).

Suddenly it becomes evident that noise filtering by deduplication is only the first step.

An "expert" working for you

What is the alternative?

You need a system that KNOWS of the relationship between the business and technical elements above, so regardless of the number, content, duplication of, or source of the alerts, they are all aggregated based on the impact to your business.

With InsightNow! you will get within seconds a much better, valuable message like this: "'THE page' service is impacted by 150 events affecting my-w.url, odd-name.url, 1.2.3.4, etc. Talk to Jim in engineering".

You can have this "smart" aggregation performed automatically for you; we can even integrate with your favorite tool above to assign the problem to Jim, the engineer that knows everything about the system. All without moving a finger!

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!

Create a list of all used IP addresses in both cloud and virtualization platforms in under 15 seconds

We can bring the time it takes to create a cross-platform report to less than 15 seconds (down from a couple hours).

Does that sound valuable? We sure think it does!

Mixing up the beans and the rice

You may have different teams specializing in cloud infrastructure and on-premise systems.

You are however still responsible for the same, security, high-availability and regulatory requirements, regardless of how you are spinning them up.

Let's start the chronometer:

  • Log into AWS console (do you have 2-factor authentication)?

  • Click through and grab the IPs from the description of every instance

Too repetitive, let's treat Infrastructure as Code!:

Grab some read-only reporting credentials and code some Python/boto script to iterate through the resources.

How long did that take?

  • Now log into your VMWare's vCenter console (get a coffee, because that takes a while...)

  • Click through the datacenters, folders or search filters and get the data

This process is becoming a tedious task, let's write up another script, wait, which API are you going to use, REST? SOAPish?

All right, you get the idea, now repeat for the other cloud providers you have, physical servers, other virtualization platforms, etc.

Now merge, parse, normalize, edit and put it all in an Excel spreadsheet...

This request is a lot of busy, unnecessary work; it's just distracting you from the really important stuff you should be looking at.

Oh wait, two-weeks later the requestor is finally looking at the report, you a get a Slack message: Could you update the report? We are going to review it in 30 minutes...

There must be a better way!

Good luck with that!

Some people take the radical approach to standardize on a single infrastructure vendor, a single monitoring tool and a single "reporting" tool. Remember Henry Ford's "You can have any color as long as it is black"? Yeah, that only works for so long...

What's the alternative?

Spreadsheet, we are breaking up

InsightNow! Automates all that ETL work for you, and gives you a single, up-to-date dashboard, API and SQL-like interfaces that you can use to explore, search and easily generate any sort of cross-platform diagram or (spreadsheet/JSON/CSV) report you need

Forget about requests to create reports, give your users and managers access to the dashboard; they will love the ability to click one button and have an up-to-date report!

And you will not ever, ever again need to worry about merging data into a spreadsheet to create a report about your infrastructure.

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!

Document the infrastructure for every service in under 15 seconds

We can automatically create a Visio-like diagram for every single business service you have, in under 15 seconds, down from, mmmm... a few weeks?

Does that sound valuable? We sure think it does!

The art and beauty of a canvas

We all have a love/hate relationship with Visio (or any other diagramming tool like LucidCharts, Dia, Gliffy, etc.):

On one side, we all naturally understand the value of a picture that explains everything, that is why we use whiteboards and napkins to design systems, then architects go a step further and create this beautiful diagrams that describe how things should look like (in a perfect world).

On the other side, when the system is live in production, there is no mechanism to keep that diagram up-to-date (yes, you could "connect" them to a database, or a spreadsheet, or poke your eyes, it's just as useful...).

But deep down we know the diagram is the better tool for communicating and documenting, so we keep them around, and suffer their limitations:

  • Outdated: Because updating them takes so long, and it's so frustrating for a non-artist

  • Static: You can't "drill down" or group things to accomodate the interest of the viewer, so you generally end up with a layout that is not quite useful, or too much information crammed in the same place

  • Not searchable: The text inside them is a bitmap, so you can't really "find" the diagram if what you have is only a piece of information, so you end up with duplicate diagrams in different places, each a bit less outdated than the other

It's like trying to use a canvas and brush to film a movie...

What's the alternative?

Use an IMAX video camera

InsightNow! Creates those beautiful network diagrams, automatically, and it keeps them up-to-date, always, without you having to move a finger.

And it does that in a way where every piece of data is searchable, explorable and live, so your network engineer can look at VLANs and switches, while your DBAs can look at databases and URLs and your architects at the "stacks" of technology for every service.

All from a single dashboard, without ever, ever again, spending a second to "update" any diagram (unless of course you like painting...)

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!

Give your Security team a list of all infrastructure components within a certain network VLAN in under 15 seconds

We can bring the time it takes you to create a report of all IP addresses in a given VLAN (regardless of they being from Virtual, Physical, container or Cloud infrastructure) down to under 15 seconds (instead of, mmm..., 6 HRS?).

Does that sound valuable? We sure think it does!

Faster than the lion?

Cybersecurity is a must nowadays; it's also a never-ending story, every day there is news about a hacked company, leaked personal and sensitive information, etc., etc.

I like to take a view on security like the story of the two hunters in Africa running away from a lion, how do you survive? Well, you indeed can't run faster than the lion, but you can run more quickly than the other guy....

You will be attacked, and you will be hacked, if whatever you are protecting is valuable enough for the attacker to commit the time and resources, and your defenses are lower than your competition.

Your only defense is to react faster than your competition.

CVE to patch sprint

There is a sort of disconnect between operations and security teams: More security typically means more upkeep work, and unfortunately, many security teams have no access to production infrastructure, so their recommendations are sometimes "too onerous," the process typically goes like this:

  • Cybersecurity knows of a list of the latest vulnerabilities; they schedule a scan, find vulnerable listening sockets and dump the list of alerts from their tools into a ticket to the IT Operations team.

  • IT Ops looks at the ticket and has to weed through false positives, discover the owner for each service and assign the report to them

  • The owner looks at that and has to negotiate a maintenance window for an update

It's a long process, and if anything takes longer than usual, you may be left as the one running in front of the lion...

What's the alternative?

Why can't we be friends?

Remove yourself from the process, let your security engineers asses the impact themselves, share with them all the information you have, so they can go straight to the business owner, engineer owner and pursue the fix for the vulnerabilities based on your exposure.

InsightNow! allows your security team to connect their scanning and analysis tools with an API so instead of telling you: "here is the list of problems, some may be false positives," they can tell you "solve this problem today, the rest can wait until tomorrow."

Move faster than your competition, without ever, ever again having to create reports for your Cybersecurity team; I bet they will also love the idea of being able to give better, more accurate advice because no Cybersecurity engineer wants to be on the news as the one that was "hacked."

We are very excited about InsightNow! Because we have used it to solve complex problems for different organizations around the world, problems that nobody thought could be solved, like this one. Get in touch with us; you will not believe your eyes!