Chris Crocco, ViaSat & Abbas Haider Ali, xMatters | AWS re:Invent 2018


Chris Crocco, Lead Solutions Engineer, ViaSat & Abbas Haider Ali, CTO, xMatters, sits down with John Walls & Justin Warren at AWS re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas, NV.

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Solving distributed systems’ incident-detection whodunit

Distributed information technology systems are becoming the norm, and they’re complicated to manage when running smoothly. When a problem jams the wheels, it can cause headaches for everyone on an IT team. How do they navigate the complex, winding system and fix the problem before it impacts the business?

A big problem seen in distributed systems is the collateral damage a single incident can cause all over, according to Abbas Haider Ali (pictured, right), chief technology officer at xMatters Inc., which offers an integration-driven collaboration platform. “It starts off small and can grow very quickly.”

The problem rolls in at point A, it rubs off on point B, suddenly point C is misbehaving, on and on. The entire developer operations team is scratching their heads looking for the off switch.

“How do you engage just the people who could actually fix the issue and then let everyone else who is impacted by it be informed but told to stand down so they don’t waste their cycles on resolving that?” he asked. It requires a tool that detects the problem quickly and minimizes or removes manual process and administrative overhead, he explained.

Ali and Chris Crocco (pictured, left), lead solutions engineer at Viasat Inc., spoke with John Walls (@JohnWalls21), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, and guest host Justin Warren (@jpwarren), chief analyst at PivotNine Pty Ltd, during AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas. They discussed incident management in distributed systems and DevOps chains. (* Disclosure below.)

Distributed-systems roving detective
Companies are building products and services with automation, tool chains, and continuous integration/continuous delivery. The CI/CD pipeline cuts the product or service loose at delivery, according to Ali.

“Once it’s out there, things inevitably will go wrong,” he said. That is where the xMatters service-availability platform comes in.

“It goes out, gathers a lot of the information that people would typically do by hand … delivers it to the right on-call person, and arms them with the action to move them through,” he said.

Viasat is a satellite-based technology and communication company that uses xMatters to monitor its distributed IT system. The tool is decentralized, and the users can plug it in where they need it, according to Crocco.

“We see a lot of this in the trend toward microservices. Instead of having vendor lock-in — this huge, one-stop shop for everything — you can pull and replace all of the smaller pieces in that chain without affecting your availability or your ability to respond to an event,” Crocco concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of AWS re:Invent. (* Disclosure: xMatters Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither xMatters nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)