Last week, we announced the launch of ExtraHop Addy, our cloud-based machine learning service for wire data. A lot has already been written about Addy, which you can read here, here and here. But as someone who has been managing and leading IT departments for many years, I can say that what excites me most about Addy isn't the technology itself-though it is incredible-but its potential to transform what's possible for IT departments everywhere.
From Garage Band to Orchestra
To put it simply, ExtraHop Addy takes your average IT department from good to great, from minor league to world champions, from garage band to orchestra, without adding a bunch of resources.
If you look at your average 15-20 person IT department, you have one or two crazy smart technical people, five or six deep-dive experts on specific technologies, and then a smattering of competent but junior-level folks. The problem is, there just aren't enough stud-muffins to keep watching everything all the time in order to make dramatic leaps of logic—such as knowing that "the customer says they can't edit the document" really means "the server is down, or we're getting DDoS'd on our web server and that server is trying to access this database, which is causing it to slow down." Addy watches everything all the time for you, which allows you to get more value out of your junior-level people and improve the overall efficiency of what your team tries to do.
The Wheat/Chaff Exercise
Addy allows IT departments to separate the wheat from the chaff like nothing I've ever seen. There are not enough hours in the day for us to sort through and respond to all the things that are wrong, but with Addy you get to separate what you should care about from the millions of alerts you don't care about.
The dirty little secret of IT departments is, everything is broken all the time! Stuff needs patched, stuff needs upgraded, stuff needs additional services, there are new applications coming on board, people are doing integrations without necessarily understanding their impact, there's just so much going on. Addy allows you to use data to work smarter, not harder. And not in a make-believe, marketing-speak kind of way. Trust me, this is a functional, real-world solution.
Rein in the Tools
The more of these point-tools and point capabilities that are brought into an environment, the more complex troubleshooting is and the more challenging it is to make headway. When these tools are brought into any environment, there are always implications that are not always obvious without a tool like Addy. You have to have those machine-learning ears and eyes out there. Without it, I would never know that this new program I wasn't aware was even in my environment was causing a problem.
Addy knows what that new thing looks like and how it's supposed to be working. Otherwise, it's a tangled proliferation of tools that's dizzying and time-consuming to try to sort out using only human logic.
Ultimately, Addy allows me to punch above my weight. Not just doing more with less, but doing awesome with less.