Achieving Maximum Uptime Isn’t Glamorous: Testing, Planning, Security Help Ensure Ops Success

Anyone who reads and follows the tech media knows that technology world is changing rapidly.  The tech media offers a constant barrage of articles about exciting new apps, groundbreaking cloud strategies, efficiencies being realized that were nearly unimaginable just five years ago, and all kinds of thrilling new tools to leverage.  This kind of coverage isn’t new. I’ve been overseeing technology operations for 30 years and there has ALWAYS been excitement on the horizon.

But when it comes to business success, the most important part of the tech world far less enthralling.  I’m talking about your operations.  Dev-ops is hard, but critical to the success of any digital operation.   The ops world isn’t glamorous and is frequently a grind.  But planning, testing, monitoring, and old fashioned hard-work have helped us to avoid problems while fueling Moreover Technologies multi-year  50%+ annualized growth.  That kind of growth isn’t boring.

Rhythmic Technologies’ pragmatic approach has helped Moreover Technologies migrate from a disappointing experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to instead use AWS strategically as part of a hybrid solution.   Rhythmic helped achieve redundancy and proactive monitoring enabling Moreover to achieve 99.999% uptime – near flawless over seven years under their watchful eyes.   They understand that technological advance is important, but focus on proven, low-risk technology and a commitment to process and testing to pinpoint issues before they occur.

I’m amazed at the number of companies offering a technology service or product with websites that are slow and underperforming.  Allow me to share my experience as a technology executive with what I think are the most important factors that lead you to a fast, reliable, secure website.

Don’t trust anybody:  If you’re responsible for the security and uptime of your technology and web operations, you shouldn’t trust anybody until that trust is well-earned.

  • Don’t trust developers with infrastructure, their creativity and drive is critical to other areas of your business, but most developers are not as interested in operations, leading to critical mistakes and oversights.
  • Don’t trust vendors until you verify from their performance for you that they know what they’re doing. No matter how attractive they looked before you started doing business with them, make sure their equipment works, their people know what they’re doing, and they are driven to enable your success.   Most are lacking in all three areas.
  • Don’t trust the outside world. Security must be preeminent. Act like there is an army of people trying to attack you, because there is whether you know it or not.  In addition to my concerns with availability and speed, I was always aware that AWS is a hacker’s dream target, which is yet another reason we no longer rely on them as a primary solution.   For many reasons, my experience is that “Throw it in AWS” is rarely the best answer.  Not controlling your security is one of those reason.  But no matter what providers you use, it is imperative to stay on top of the latest security threats and how to be as protected as you possibly can from those threats.

Keys to Success:  Having read this far you know that my first key to success is having necessary trust issues.  What are some others?

  1. Understand what virtualizes well. The professionals at Rhythmic help us determine what systems WILL run best and most cost effectively virtualized versus dedicated hardware, and where distributed systems WILL play a key role.  Moving data, compressing data, and optimizing various applications can be tricky business.  De-virtualizing our search engine when we left AWS for Moreover was an important step and a big improvement for us.
  2. Monitor EVERYTHING. Yes, monitoring and testing can be boring and mundane, but it is critical to problem avoidance and you must .  Test, monitor, test, monitor, and then test and monitor some more.
  3. Proactively avoid infrastructure issues. Problems with hardware vendors, software providers, and others will ALWAYS happen. But when you properly structure your operations to avoid infrastructure issues you not only optimize uptime and create a secure environment, but you have the time and bandwidth to deal with the other issues that will always rear their head.

If the uptime and security of your website and technology operations are critical to your success, I would suggest that you give key consideration and ample effort to finding the right partners to help you manage your infrastructure.  The mindset I’ve shared in this article is shared by the professionals at Rhythmic Technologies.  Our infrastructure design and performance is a key element to Moreover’s customer satisfaction. The Rhythmic team has been a big reason for that.  They have performed impeccably and have earned our complete trust.