Complexity and Operational Risk
Thursday, 15 December, 2011 Leave a comment
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An interesting thing about complex systems is how easily "stories" from one domain can be understood and applied, to good effect, in others! "Thinking in systems" may be the first step in process from exaptation to adaptation…and survival.
The reason bars place bouncers at the door is because it’s easier and less riskier to prevent entry than to root out later
No one ever said choosing a career in IT was going to be easy, but no one said it had to be so hard you’d be banging your head on the desk, either. One of the reasons IT practitioners end up with large, red welts on their foreheads is because data centres tend to become more, not less, complex and along with complexity comes operational risk. Security, performance, availability. These three inseparable issues often stem not from vulnerabilities or poorly written applications but merely from the complexity of data centre network architectures needed to support the varying needs of both the business and IT.
Unfortunately it is often the case that as emerging technologies creep (and sometimes run headfirst) into the data centre the network is overlooked as a potential source of risk in supporting these new technologies. Traditionally, network readiness has entailed some load testing to ensure adequate bandwidth to support a new application, but rarely is it the case that we take a look at the actual architecture of the network and its services to determine if it is able to support new applications and initiatives. It’s the old “this is the way we do this” mantra that often ends up being the source of operational failure.
COMPLEXITY MEANS MULTIPLE POINTS of FAILURE…
As recycling is generally good for everyone(!?) I will seize this opportunity to link to a previous article (from November 2010):
The basic problem is the larger and more expensive an IT project is, the more likely it is to fail. You can do a lot of analysis as to why that is. You can say maybe we’re not using the right methodology, or communications is failing, or any number of things. But ultimately the only variable that appears to correlate closely with failure is complexity.