Community Blog
Get the latest updates on the Splunk Community, including member experiences, product education, events, and more!

Webinar Recap | Revolutionizing IT Operations: The Transformative Power of AI and ML in Enhancing Observability

LesediK
Splunk Employee
Splunk Employee

The Transformative Power of AI and ML in Enhancing Observability

 

In the realm of IT operations, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is revolutionizing the way organizations maintain observability over their systems. Observability practices are enhanced by AI and ML to predict and prevent incidents before they occur, leading to significant improvements in reliability, availability, and customer experience.

These technologies are applied across varying maturity stages, from gaining basic visibility to employing advanced predictive models that preempt potential issues. 1 The financial implications of downtime are profound, with each hour potentially costing organizations an average of $365,000, thus underscoring the critical need for efficient operational practices. This blog explores the transformative impact of AI and ML on observability within IT environments, demonstrating the benefits through various use cases and highlighting the substantial return on investment for organizations that adopt these practices.

Harnessing AI and ML for Enhanced Observability

 

Organizations increasingly recognize the benefits of observability in enhancing reliability, availability and customer experience. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) into observability practices offers predictive capabilities, allowing for the anticipation and prevention of incidents before they occur. AI and ML are applied in three maturity stages for observability: from basic visibility without AI to proactive AI that establishes baselines for normal operations, and finally, to advanced predictive models that can preempt potential issues based on historical data.

One of the roles of AI in observability is to provide a deeper understanding of 'normal' operational patterns and to direct attention to anomalies that require immediate action. This approach is instrumental in resolving issues faster, reducing downtime impact, and instilling confidence in maintaining customer-facing and internal services.

 

LesediK_6-1712266637239.png

 

The complexity of modern technology stacks makes it challenging to discern operational health, a dilemma that AI and ML help to address by centralizing visibility and offering actionable insights. Features that support this include dynamic baselining, predictive modeling, and improving detection accuracy. These capabilities are encapsulated in a variety of products designed to simplify the adoption of AI and ML for organizations, regardless of their current maturity stage in observability.

Understanding AIOps and Its Practical Applications

 

AIOps is the application of AI and  machine learning to operations. This includes anomaly detection, alert noise reduction, probable root cause, automation and remediation, and proactive prevention.. The importance of AIOps stems from its ability to predict and prevent potential IT issues before they impact customers, which is crucial for maintaining high availability and reliability of IT services.

AIOps has a range of use cases, demonstrating its benefits across various scenarios. For instance, it aids in swiftly resolving downtime, enhancing detection efficiency, and reducing manual processing efforts. A practical example includes an organization that shifted from static to dynamic thresholding to improve alert accuracy, as static thresholds were either overwhelming during peak hours or missing anomalies during off hours.

This shift led to massive improvements in detection efficiency.

The monetary benefits of AIOps adoption are significant. Moreover, downtime not only incurs financial losses but also damages reputation, sometimes causing customers to switch to competitors. AIOps steps in as a vital tool to navigate the complexities of modern IT environments, providing a predictive approach to maintaining service performance and preventing issues.

It achieves this by collecting data, defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), establishing baselines for typical performance, and building predictive models to anticipate and mitigate potential issues.

 

LesediK_7-1712266637279.png

While the implementation of AIOps may seem challenging, tools and products are available to facilitate the transition, allowing organizations to start with simple use cases and gradually progress to more complex applications. Overall, AIOps offers a path to proactive IT operations management, enabling organizations to stay ahead of potential service performance issues and drive better business outcomes.

The Challenge of Observability in the Age of Big Data

 

In today's digital landscape, organizations are grappling with the immense volumes of data generated by their IT environments. This surge in data presents a significant challenge in maintaining observability over their systems. As data volumes expand, the task of monitoring and managing the performance of IT services becomes increasingly complex. One of the critical issues faced in this scenario is the phenomenon of 'alert storms,' where the sheer quantity of alerts overwhelms the IT teams, making it difficult to pinpoint and troubleshoot performance issues effectively.

The recent Splunk AI for Observability webinar revealed that organizations are indeed in the midst of what could be described as the 'perfect storm' of challenges, with many participants acknowledging struggles with growing data volumes, alert storms, and troubleshooting. Among these, too many alerts stood out as a particularly prominent issue, as it can obscure the root causes of performance degradation, leading to extended downtime and a scramble to restore services.

The economic impact of such downtime is staggering. A survey published in the 'Digital Resilience Pays Off' report highlighted that, on average, each hour of downtime can cost organizations up to $365,000, not to mention the potential reputational damage that can arise from poor customer experiences.

To combat these issues, organizations are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their observability practices. AI is leveraged to predict or prevent incidents before they occur, and customers are segmented into three maturity stages based on their use of AI. The most advanced customers employ predictive models that can foresee and mitigate negative outcomes, whereas the less mature ones are yet to harness AI's full potential.

In conclusion, the path to overcoming the challenges posed by growing data volumes lies in the strategic application of AI.

The Evolution and Impact of AI and ML 

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have become integral components of Splunk products, offering significant advantages in detecting service performance issues. The integration of these technologies within Splunk's suite has a rich history, with nearly a decade of implementation. The profound impact of AI and ML is evident in the ability to predict or prevent incidents before they happen, enhancing the observability of systems.

Organizations leveraging AI and ML in Splunk's offerings report substantial benefits, such as accelerated problem resolution and enhanced reliability of customer-facing and internal services. The evidence supporting the return on investment for those adopting observability practices is compelling, with statistics showing that each hour of downtime can cost an average of $365,000, highlighting the critical nature of maintaining operational efficiency.

Successful AI and ML implementations have led to increased detection efficiency, reduced manual processing, and the identification of previously unknown scenarios within service performance. These advancements have been showcased through customer stories, such as the IG Group's transition from static thresholds to dynamic baselining, which has drastically improved detection efficiency. Another example is AIB's use of Splunk products to facilitate triage processes, leading to the discovery of an issue caused by unusual snowfall in Ireland.

Lastly, StubHub's use of baseline models helped control application errors and uncover hidden issues. To streamline the adoption of AI and ML, Splunk ensures its products are accessible and supportive of users at any stage of their AI and ML journey, from simple use cases to complex predictive model deployments. The Splunk App for Anomaly Detection exemplifies this commitment, automating the detection of anomalies in key metrics and KPIs, thereby demonstrating Splunk's dedication to enhancing service performance through advanced technology.

Enhancing Operational Efficiency with Anomaly Detection 

 

The introduction of the Splunk App for Anomaly Detection marks a significant advancement in operational efficiency for organizations leveraging Splunk’s AI capabilities. A demonstration of this app in action reveals its capacity to effortlessly operationalize anomaly detectors for actionable alerting, thus simplifying the traditionally complex and technical process of anomaly detection.

By automating the configuration for specific metrics or KPIs, the app streamlines the machine learning process to detect anomalies at ingest time, effectively removing barriers such as the need for complex SPL, statistical knowledge, and parameter tuning.

The benefits of implementing anomaly detection are substantial and multifaceted. The demonstration highlights how this technology enables organizations to detect both isolated point anomalies and sustained anomaly intervals, accompanied by confidence scores to gauge the significance of the detected anomalies. Moreover, the app facilitates efficient detection by alerting users when anomalies with high confidence scores are found, and provides the SPL query generated by the app for further use within Splunk.

Operational efficiency is further enhanced when anomaly detection is paired with predictive AI capabilities. Organizations can predict potential incidents before they occur, mitigating downtime and improving service reliability. This predictive approach is demonstrated by the Anomaly app's ability to identify anomalous behavior and to recommend appropriate actions in real-time, thus preventing potential service disruptions.

 

LesediK_0-1712678420766.png

 

In conclusion, the Splunk App for Anomaly Detection exemplifies the intersection of AI and operational efficiency, providing a powerful tool for organizations to proactively manage and maintain the performance of their systems and services.

Understanding Splunk's AI Principles and the AI Assistant

 

Splunk integrates AI into its observability suite, offering domain-specific AI capabilities that enhance the efficiency of AI-driven processes. The involvement of humans remains crucial, ensuring that AI assists rather than replaces human decision-making. A notable innovation is the introduction of the Splunk AI Assistant for SPL, which simplifies the creation of SPL queries and their understanding.

This assistant, currently in public preview, promises to unlock the full potential of SPL-powered Splunk products. Statistics underline the importance of AI in observability, demonstrating how AI applications in Splunk significantly reduce downtime costs, which can average $365,000 per hour. With complex technology stacks, AI helps organizations predict and prevent incidents, using models to forewarn about potential issues and enabling quick resolution.

The AI-driven capabilities are designed to be open and extensible, allowing users to customize models or employ their own, maintaining Splunk's versatile problem-solving essence. The Splunk AI Assistant aims to be a scalable aid across the ecosystem, with future enhancements like an AI assistant for observability cloud and an improved adaptive thresholding experience.

In essence, Splunk's AI principles and the AI Assistant offer a comprehensive, user-friendly AI integration that fosters proactive, informed, and efficient observability practices.

Enhancing Security and Observability with AI and Unified Platforms

 

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into observability practices significantly accelerates the ability to detect, investigate, and respond to incidents. AI's role in enhancing security and observability is pivotal, particularly in predicting or preventing incidents before they occur. Organizations are adopting AI to gain insights on what normal performance looks like in their environments and to detect deviations that may indicate emerging issues.

With the growth of data volumes and the complexity of technology stacks, AI becomes an indispensable tool in managing alert storms and troubleshooting performance issues. A survey by Splunk has found that each hour of downtime can cost organizations an average of $365,000, underscoring the financial impact of operational disruptions beyond the reputational damage it may cause to customer-facing services.

The comprehensive nature of the Splunk platform caters to this need, with its decade-long incorporation of AI and machine learning to support a wide range of use cases. Furthermore, the importance of a unified platform cannot be overstated. Splunk's unified platform serves as a cohesive foundation for SecOps, ITOps, and DevOps teams, providing solutions that are tailored to their specific requirements while reaping the benefits of a holistic approach.

This unified approach ensures that these teams can operate more efficiently, with better visibility and tools for rapid response, thereby reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR) and mitigating the risk of service performance issues.

AIOps: A Mature Approach to Observability

 

In the increasingly complex IT landscape, AIOps emerges as a mature approach to observability, playing a pivotal role in enhancing incident response and operational efficiency. This approach is fostered by the need to predict or prevent incidents before they occur, leading to continuous improvement and predictive analytics capabilities within IT operations.

The integration of AIOps has demonstrated a significant impact, particularly in the realm of incident management. Organizations that embrace AIOps have observed a faster resolution of problems, resulting in improved availability and reliability of services. Notably, customers leveraging AIOps have reported the ability to fix issues more swiftly and confidently maintain customer-facing and internal services.

A mature AIOps strategy encompasses various stages of implementation, ranging from basic visibility into IT environments to advanced predictive models. These models can anticipate potential negative outcomes based on historical data, enabling preemptive remediation efforts. The statistical evidence supporting AIOps is compelling, with reports indicating that each hour of downtime can cost an average of $365,000, highlighting the financial incentives to adopt such strategies.

Moreover, AIOps facilitates the identification of previously unknown scenarios, thereby driving innovation and informed decision-making. The journey toward AIOps maturity not only increases detection efficiency but also reduces manual processing and uncovers new insights, all of which contribute to the overarching goal of achieving digital resilience and operational excellence.

 

LesediK_9-1712266637327.png

 

In conclusion, the integration of AI and ML into observability practices is recognized as a transformative force in IT operations. It is demonstrated that these technologies significantly enhance the ability to predict and prevent incidents, leading to improved service reliability and customer experience. The financial benefits are underscored by the high cost associated with downtime, encouraging organizations to adopt AI and ML to maintain operational efficiency.

Through various use cases, the effectiveness of AI-driven solutions in addressing complex technology stack challenges is illustrated, showing a substantial return on investment. A mature approach to observability, encompassing AIOps, is presented as essential for ongoing improvement and innovation within organizations. It is concluded that AI and ML are indispensable in the contemporary digital landscape for driving business resilience and efficiency.

 1 From Digital Resilience Pays Of (p.7) by  Splunk © 2023 Splunk Inc. 

Get Updates on the Splunk Community!

Enter the Splunk Community Dashboard Challenge for Your Chance to Win!

The Splunk Community Dashboard Challenge is underway! This is your chance to showcase your skills in creating ...

.conf24 | Session Scheduler is Live!!

.conf24 is happening June 11 - 14 in Las Vegas, and we are thrilled to announce that the conference catalog ...

Introducing the Splunk Community Dashboard Challenge!

Welcome to Splunk Community Dashboard Challenge! This is your chance to showcase your skills in creating ...