I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Mason, senior technology director of Milestone Technologies, about his company's selection of Sumo Logic and ServiceNow to provide strategic advice on their organization. Here's what he had to say.
Please introduce your organization.
Milestone Technologies, Inc., was established in 1997 and is a global full-service IT solutions provider. The company's headquarters are in Fremont, CA, and it has an international office in Dublin, Ireland.
Milestone helps its clients – currently 200 companies in 18 countries – create and operate their critical IT infrastructures. Their offerings range from the design and construction to the operation of this infrastructure, and can include strategic advisor services, customized solutions, and turn-key offerings. All performed at the highest level of efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.
What were you doing that required this type of technology?
Our customers were asking for something that would help them go through log data and identify what was happening in the infrastructure. They wanted the ability to review that data to learn what was going on and what to do about it. They wanted to be able to take action before something went wrong.
It was a common problem and is difficult to solve. There are many products available that claim to be able identify exceptions and problems. Some customers create their own scripts to do the same thing.
When an issue occurs repeatedly, you need to be able to automate the response. If an email is sent each and every time something happens, it can generate thousands of messages. You need a way to tag notices into groups such as known issues, something to watch, something to fix, or something to ignore.
What products did you consider before making a selection?
Originally we came into the analysis of front-end data. If a service was up or down, it would be possible to examine what was happening behind the scenes. We looked at a number of "top-down" corporate monitoring tools, open source tools, and a few other things.
Most of these tools really didn't address the need to quickly examine the log files, provide tools to put things into categories, and then allow us to address each one of the categories to learn if something was going on that required action. Sumo Logic is designed to address this issue. We can be proactive and address issues before they become problems.
One thing that Sumo addresses is when someone makes a change to an app, a service or a script outside of the normal change process. Sumo can pick that up very quickly and notify us.
Why did you select this product?
Sumo allows for real-time, proactive monitoring which allows my teams to go out and 1) research the potential issue, 2) identify the potential impact, and 3) and work with the business groups to reduce the possibility of an outage or failure. It's a great product and fills a hole that no other product, of which I'm aware, can address.
What tangible benefit have you received through the use of this product?
Sumo does the heavy lifting for us. It allows my teams to focus on providing better service to our customers.
What advice would you offer others who are facing similar circumstances?
Identify the true issue or driver you're trying to solve or figure out. Don't go down the traditional paths just because they've been used for a number of years. Use a holistic approach that allows the best use of your available resources. Leverage technology to eliminate or reduce the impact of supporting or maintaining your infrastructure and applications. You want smart people to do the analysis, but the technology should do the heavy lifting.
The traditional approach is having smart people manage the tools. In the end, staff spends their time managing tools. It's much better to use smart tools that help staff manage the environment than have a huge team, each managing a specific tool. A smaller team with the right tools can be more effective and less costly.