1. Solution Value
Managing configuration changes in AWS, Azure, GCP, and other public clouds is complex and can negatively impact system availability, security, and compliance. It can also lead to unexpected increases in cost.
Lightlytics is the first cloud change intelligence platform. It provides comprehensive management of cloud configuration changes and is distinct in scope from related solutions like cloud infrastructure entitlement management, cloud-native application protection, and cloud cost optimization.
The Lightlytics solution allows all teams working with AWS environments to manage complexity and collaborate efficiently on a single platform. It enables technologists to identify the impact radius of incidents and perform rapid root cause analysis and quick remediation. It can also reduce costs in operational effort and redundant tool licensing.
2. Urgency and Risk
Managing complex AWS environments is a major pain point for many organizations. Cloud teams often lack sufficient visibility into running configurations, security vulnerabilities, and compliance problems, all of which can lurk deep inside their applications. A cloud change intelligence platform such as Lightlytics, along with an organized effort by IT teams to address these issues, is worth immediate consideration.
The Lightlytics platform is inherently low risk operationally because of its independent read-only architecture. The platform creates a deterministic model that runs independently of the systems being analyzed, so there are no changes made to the underlying systems that could be points of failure.
As a single point of collaboration, there is risk if the Lightlytics platform is used partially or inconsistently between teams. Stakeholder teams must intentionally make Lightlytics part of their workflow for cloud configuration changes and runtime troubleshooting or risk losing the value of the platform. Note that Lightlytics addresses team adoption through robust integrations with familiar communication platforms (like Slack) and it sends timely and relevant notifications to team members to encourage usage and adoption.
Enterprises adopting a cloud change intelligence solution can expect to achieve increased system availability, improved security and compliance, and reduced licensing and runtime costs.
Increased system availability: The business impact of a system outage is acute and must be fixed immediately, but it is not always apparent that a failure has occurred until after the impact is felt. Lightlytics provides rapid detection of failures anywhere within the system, which prevents cascading consequences and allows for a head start in remediation. It also helps identify the impact radius of events so that the full scope and root cause of problems can be identified. The collaborative nature of the platform allows multiple subject matter experts to approach the problem from different analytical perspectives simultaneously.
Improved security and compliance: Lightlytics aids the investigation and resolution of AWS security incidents. Increased visibility into the cloud environment and associated configurations allow proactive prevention of security of incidents and compliance problems. It also helps security professionals collaborate effectively with DevOps and engineering teams.
Cost reduction: Lightlytics’s capabilities overlap those of cloud-native tools and third-party software, driving reductions in overall licensing costs. Optimization in runtime costs can be achieved due to enhanced visibility of configuration changes, unused resources, traffic utilization, and other cloud resources. Overall operational effort can be reduced due to increased team efficiency and productivity.
4. Best Practices
The Lightlytics platform presents a low barrier to entry for onboarding teams, but organizations must commit to a plan for how the tool will be used and ensure it is used consistently by stakeholders within AWS environments. Cloud change intelligence is a new function for IT, fulfilled by various teams that are already focused on other aspects of operating in the cloud environment.
All relevant teams must use the platform consistently as a single point of collaboration. These teams should be identified and establish a common scope for how Lightlytics’s capabilities will be used and where other vendors or native AWS tools might fulfill the capabilities.
5. Organizational Impact
A cloud change intelligence solution can have a broad impact on technical stakeholders in the organization. Team members in the following roles can expect to engage in a deployment:
- DevOps: Developers and build engineers will find many of Lightlytics’s capabilities useful during the development stage and for troubleshooting during runtime.
- Site reliability engineers: SREs can use Lightlytics to guide the development of more reliable systems.
- System operations/infrastructure support: Alerts and analytics provide real time insight into operational metrics and events.
- Security: Security professionals will find Lightlytics valuable, both operationally and as a source of information and context during security investigations.
- Networking: Lightlytics provides a cohesive logical view into the system topology.
- Regulatory compliance: Analyze configurations for impact to customer data or other sensitive information.
- Change management: Change managers can gain heightened visibility into configuration changes and may consider incorporating Lightlytics into change review processes.
Team members in the above roles who are already familiar with AWS environments can use the tool with a minimal learning curve. Basic information on how to login and begin using the tool, along with internal points of contact, should be published on a company wiki or knowledge base. Lightlytics has excellent integration with platforms such as Slack and GitHub, so keeping the knowledge base close to these points of integration (such as a dedicated Slack channel) may aid adoption and minimize the skills burden.
Lightlytics runs as SaaS and is licensed by computational resources used. Any number of users or systems may be integrated. Not having to worry about per-user costs helps to promote the adoption of the tool as a collaborative platform across a wide scope of teams and roles. Lightlytics covers egress network costs. The risk of vendor lock is low due to the passive “CloudTwin” architecture that Lightlytics uses. The tool could be decommissioned immediately without any impact to an organization’s systems other than the impact to work streams that have become reliant on the tool’s analytical capabilities.
A return on the investment should be seen within the first few months due to reductions in operational effort and increased team efficiencies. Lightlytics may shed light on ways to optimize AWS cloud usage to achieve lower cloud runtime costs. Decreases in costly deployment delays, outages, and security events, as well as the ability to predict the cost impact of proposed changes should have an indirect but significant positive impact on the bottom line.
6. Solution Timeline
An organization’s size and pace will impact the time to start and see value from Lightlytics. From a technical standpoint, setting up the tool is a matter of creating access authorization and letting Lightlytics calculate the model results. This can happen in less than 30 minutes. Small organizations with a single system that are used to moving quickly could easily be up and running in a day.
Lightlytics creates incremental value as adoption expands across systems and teams. Its utility as a troubleshooting or investigative aid increases exponentially as more team members with a broader scope of perspectives and subject matter expertise use it.
Plan, Test, Deploy
While the physical deployment and implementation of Lightlytics is nearly effortless, larger enterprises may consider a staged rollout as they approach the rollout holistically.
Plan: Identify a team to champion the rollout and configure Lightlytics for usage. This may include establishing identity and access management credentials, working out internal processes for security and architecture review, and dealing with technical considerations such as networking, firewalls, and web filters, if applicable. Establish a knowledge base and internal communication channels.
Test: Pilot the usage of Lightlytics with various cross-functional teams. As they identify and refine best practices for the organization, these lessons can be documented and championed during the final rollout.
Deploy: Invite teams to start using the tool after consulting the internal knowledge base. The team responsible for planning remains available for questions, but support transitions to a collective effort. The usage of Lightlytics may become formally included in change control boards, network operation center or incident commands, architecture and security reviews, and other relevant corporate processes.
Lightlytics currently supports AWS exclusively. Its methodology would apply equally well to any cloud provider, and it is presently working on adding support for Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. After support is added for Azure and GCP, Lightlytics intends to continue expanding support for other cloud platforms.
7. Report Methodology
This GigaOm CXO Decision Brief analyzes a specific technology and related solution to provide executive decision-makers with the information they need to drive successful IT strategies that align with the business. The report focuses on large impact zones often overlooked in technical research, yielding enhanced insight and mitigating risk. We work closely with vendors to identify the value and benefits of specific solutions and to lay out best practices that enable organizations to drive a successful decision process.
8. About Matt Jallo
Matt has over twenty years of professional experience in information technology as a computer programmer, software architect, and leader. An expert in Cloud, Infrastructure and Management, as well as DevOps, he’s been an Enterprise Architect at American Airlines, has established disaster recovery systems for critical national infrastructure, oversaw integration during the merger of US Airways with American Airlines, and developed web-based applications to help small businesses succeed in e-commerce while an engineer at GoDaddy.com. He can help improve enterprise software delivery, optimize systems for large scale, modernize or integrate software systems and infrastructure, and provide disaster recovery.
9. About GigaOm
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