Gartner predicts that businesses will apply analytics and automation to IT operations by 30%. One way to achieve this is to streamline IT operations by adopting ITOps. 1
IT operations is a term that has been around but gained popularity over the years (See Google Trends Graph above 2). Yet, business leaders and IT teams might confuse it with other related concepts such as DevOps or MLOps.
Therefore, tis article covers ITOps inside out, explaining applications, benefits, real-world examples, and why it matters in today’s fast-paced, tech-driven landscape. The article aims to help IT professionals for seamless implementation by providing best practices.
what is ITOps?
ITOps focuses on the operational aspect of an IT infrastructure, including actions and decisions made by the operations team responsible for maintaining the technological backbone. IT operations involve acquiring, designing, deploying, configuring, and upkeeping equipment and services, such as system hardware, storage, routers, software, network and cloud infrastructure. This way, ITOps ensures a consistent and high-performing IT environment.
Some ITOps real-life examples include:
Network infrastructure activities:
- Configuring and overseeing all internal and external IT communications.
- Managing telecommunication lines and firewall ports for secure external connections.
- Enabling authorized remote access.
- Monitoring network performance and security, potentially through a Network Operations Center (NOC).
Server and device management:
- Configuring and maintaining servers for infrastructure and applications.
- Managing storage to meet application needs.
- Setting up and authorizing email and file servers.
- Handling company-approved PCs and mobile devices.
Computer operations and help desk:
- Operating data centers.
- Running help/service desks.
- Managing user profiles.
- Alerting users during major incidents.
- Implementing regular backups for data recovery.
- Collaborating with vendors and contractors.
- Procuring and financing hardware, software, and applications.
- Project management.
Why does ITOps matter?
ITOps has gained importance over time due to
- Cloud-native technologies: Modern cloud systems simplify tasks such as deploying applications and provisioning hardware. However, hybrid and multi-cloud environments often introduce complexity and challenges.
- Evolving challenges: ITOps teams continually face challenges maintaining operational stability as organizations expand and undertake new initiatives.
- Impact on customer experience: Weak or subpar IT operational processes can directly impact the quality of business services and the overall customer experience. According to Gartner, IT teams corresponding to customers’ needs can outperform by 20%.3
9 ITOPs benefits
ITOps can help
- Ensure business continuity: ITOps are responsible for maintaining the availability and reliability of IT systems and services. Downtime or disruptions can result in significant financial losses and damage an organization’s reputation.
- Optimize IT resources: ITOps teams optimize resource utilization, ensuring that infrastructure and technology investments are cost-effective and aligned with business goals.
- Provide security and compliance: ITOps play a vital role in securing IT systems and ensuring compliance with data protection and industry regulations. This is especially critical in the era of increasing cyber threats.
- Enhance Efficiency: By streamlining IT processes and automating routine tasks, ITOps can improve efficiency, reduce manual errors, and free up IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives.
- Support innovation: Stable and reliable IT operations create a solid foundation for innovation. When day-to-day operations run smoothly, organizations can invest more time and resources in developing new technologies and services.
- Improve customer experience: As mentioned, the quality of IT services directly impacts the customer experience. A well-managed IT environment leads to better-performing applications, faster response times, and improved user satisfaction.
- Help manage cost: ITOps help control IT costs by optimizing resource usage, identifying opportunities for cost reduction, and preventing over-provisioning of resources.
- Enable adapting to change: ITOps are essential for managing change effectively in a dynamic business environment. They can scale infrastructure up or down, migrate to new technologies, and ensure that IT evolves alongside the business.
- Mitigate risk: ITOps teams monitor and manage risks associated with IT systems. This includes identifying vulnerabilities, implementing security measures, and developing disaster recovery plans.
6 ITOps applications/ use cases
Some of the ITOps use cases include:
ITOps executes mission-critical functions, including:
- Data protection through backups
- System recovery after interruptions
- Fine-tuning server configurations
- Resource allocation for uninterrupted service delivery.
The ITOps team oversees the organization’s IT infrastructure, including computing and networking hardware linked with software applications. This covers hybrid cloud environments, cloud-based applications, network security, facility management, and hardware curation.
ITOps helps document hardware configurations and solution dependencies while implementing tailored configurations to enhance infrastructure and service performance.
ITOps orchestrates infrastructure transformation, scrutinizing changes, integrating software patches, and introducing new hardware and software for enhanced operational efficiency.
ITOps teams safeguard disaster recovery plans through meticulous planning, simulations, and rehearsal. The commitment aims to fortify against downtime and revenue loss.
Governance of ITOps
ITOps observes infrastructure performance and security, evaluates security postures, defines operational metrics, scrutinizes processes and services, and ensures software license compliance.
Other methodologies: ITOPs vs DEVOps
Business leaders may find it challenging to navigate and integrate these various IT and software development concepts like DevOps, AIOps, MLOps and LLMOPs as:
- Overlap of terminology
- Evolving landscape
- Differing objectives
- Integration complexity
- Vendor offerings
To overcome this issue, we explore each concept in a comparison table here:
|ITOS (IT Operations)
|Traditional IT operations and infrastructure management.
|Maintenance, security, and stability of IT systems.
|Ensure reliable IT services for the organization.
|DEVOPS (Development & Operations)
|Bridging the gap between development and operations teams.
|Collaboration, automation, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD).
|Accelerate software delivery and improve collaboration.
|AIOPS (AI Operations)
|Applying AI and machine learning to IT operations.
|Anomaly detection, predictive analytics, and automation of IT tasks.
|Enhance IT operations’ efficiency and proactively prevent issues.
|MLOPS (ML Operations)
|Managing machine learning model development and deployment.
|Model training, deployment, monitoring, and lifecycle management.
|Streamline and automate machine learning workflows.
|LLMOPS (LLM Operations)
|Specialized field within MLOps for large language models (like GPT-3).
|Managing the training, deployment, and fine-tuning of large language models.
|Ensure the efficient and responsible use of large language models in applications.
For more detailed comparisons, check out:
ITOps tools encompass a wide range of solutions used for managing and maintaining an organization’s IT infrastructure and operations. Some common categories of ITOps tools include:
IT automation tools
IT automation is a specific approach or toolset within ITOps to streamline IT operations by reducing manual efforts through the use of automation scripts, tools, or platforms.
- Configuration management tools: Configuration management tools like Puppet and Ansible automate the provisioning and configuration of servers and applications, ensuring consistency and reducing manual errors.
- Backup and recovery tools: Backup solutions like Veeam and Commvault are crucial for data protection and disaster recovery planning. They automate the backup process and enable swift data recovery.
- Patch management tools: These tools automate the process of applying software patches and updates to servers and workstations, ensuring security and stability.
Discover more about IT automation tools, use cases and best practices to learn how to apply them in your business.
Infrastructure management tools
- Network management tools: These tools help monitor and manage network devices, diagnose connectivity issues, and ensure network performance and security. Examples include Cisco Network Assistant and SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.
- Server management tools: Server management tools assist in configuring, monitoring, and maintaining server hardware and software. Examples include Microsoft System Center and VMware vSphere.
- Virtualization and cloud management tools: Tools like VMware vCenter and AWS Management Console help manage virtualized and cloud-based resources, optimizing resource utilization and scalability.
Monitoring and alerting
- Monitoring and alerting tools: These tools continuously monitor servers, applications, and network components, providing real-time alerts when issues arise. Prominent examples include Nagios, Zabbix, and Prometheus.
- Performance monitoring tools: Tools like New Relic and Dynatrace offer comprehensive insights into application performance, helping teams identify and resolve bottlenecks.
- Log Management and Analysis Tools: Tools like Splunk and ELK Stack collect and analyze log data from various sources to detect anomalies and troubleshoot issues.
Security and compliance
- Security and compliance tools: Security tools focus on protecting IT systems from cyber threats and ensuring compliance with security standards. Tools like Symantec Endpoint Protection and Nessus help in this regard.
- Endpoint management tools: These tools assist in managing and securing endpoints (computers, mobile devices) within an organization. Examples include Microsoft Intune and IBM BigFix.
IT service management
- IT service management (ITSM) tools: ITSM tools such as ServiceNow and BMC Remedy streamline service requests, incident management, and problem resolution, improving IT service delivery.
- Help desk and ticketing systems: Help desk tools like Zendesk and Jira Service Desk facilitate incident reporting, tracking, and resolution, enhancing user support.
- Asset management tools: Asset management solutions like SolarWinds Asset Management help track and manage hardware and software assets across the organization.
- Remote desktop and access tools: Tools like TeamViewer and Remote Desktop Services allow administrators to access and manage remote systems securely.
4 Effective strategies for successful ITOps implementation
Incorporating ITOps into an organization necessitates the adoption of several fundamental practices that should be duly acknowledged:
Embrace Technological Advancements:
- Understanding modern IT technologies is crucial, including cloud computing, data center innovations, security solutions, and automation tools.
- Keeping a proactive approach is also helpful to stay updated with emerging IT trends.
- Therefore, ITOps teams should embrace new tools and technologies in their infrastructure.
Prioritize business needs:
- ITOps professionals must respond to organizational needs and rely on a product-centric framework. A successful ITOps team would hold both technical skills and good understanding of business objectives.
Integrate IT automation:
- IT operations manager must keep an eye on IT automation opportunities, particularly in data management.
- Investing in IT automation can bring substantial rewards to organizations.
- For example, automation speeds up real-time data processing and reduces the risk of human errors.
- Automated monitoring improves visibility, leading to faster issue resolution and better IT performance.
Establish key performance metrics:
- ITOps teams should define key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress. KPIs help evaluate the team’s productivity and efficiency in automated IT environments.
- IT operation manager must align performance metrics with organizational priorities and regularly track these metrics to make necessary adjustments for consistent optimal performance.
Explore more on LLMOps, AIOps and other concepts related to IT Ops through our comprehensive articles and objective benchmarks such as:
- Mchug, Brain (June 21, 2023). “Gartner’s IT Automation Trends for 2023.“ ActiveBatch. Revisited September 4, 2023.
- “ITOps trends.” Google Trends. Revisited September 4, 2023.
- Mchug, Brain (June 21, 2023). “Gartner’s IT Automation Trends for 2023.“ ActiveBatch. Revisited September 4, 2023.