Friday, March 1, 2013

Treating sequestration symptoms with local management

Avoiding the politics of the sequestration drama isn't easy, but here we'll try to just state some facts and discuss a few things that Uplogix can help out with. Change brings opportunity, and in a time of broad budget cuts there are probably many federal agencies that are going to look (hopefully) to technology to help keep things moving. Uplogix alone probably can't save the entire $85 billion, but we can help make a dent.

Ensuring people work on the challenging tasks

One of the key targets for cuts in the sequestration being widely discussed is furloughs for employees. Again, speaking apolitically, the basic fact is that with fewer people to do the work, less work gets done and/or quality levels decrease. Those folks left will need to work more efficiently.

Uplogix is a great solution in this situation because we help IT groups drastically reduce the time, expense and risk of manually maintaining IT infrastructure. Here are a couple examples:

Configuration changes

Government operations might slow down over the rest of the fiscal year, but, like in the enterprise world, expectations on networks will continue to increase. Maintaining those networks involves device configuration updates and patches on a regular basis. Uplogix can reliably automate hundreds of tedious, error-prone routine change and configuration management tasks that typically require an on-site technician, freeing existing technical resources for more advanced activities.

Mass configuration changes can be scheduled in the Uplogix Control Center and executed consistently by the Uplogix Local Managers as batches, rather than updating each router, switch or server one by one.

On the quality side of this example, if employees are furloughed, you might have people filling-in on roles that they are less familiar with. If Uplogix is involved in config updates, we enforce consistent operations by ensuring that change and configuration management tasks are done the right way, every time, minimizing human error and protecting availability.

Uplogix reduces unplanned downtime by providing a built-in safety net with SurgicalRollback™ to quickly recover and minimize the impact of failed configuration changes. Surgical Rollback™ combines fine grained configuration differencing with a unique “production confirmation” based approach to changes. Any change made is followed by a prompt for confirmation by the technician initiating the change. If no confirmation is received (e.g. if the change brought down the network and the technician’s access with it), the change is precisely rolled back.

The bottom line is that a smaller IT staff can spend more time on innovation and less on ongoing config maintenance.

Limiting "Windshield Time"

The last thing you want to do is waste the resources of a skilled IT admin by making them spend a bunch of time in a car going to remote sites.

When there are problems and the network goes down, Uplogix Local Management serves as an automated lifeline -- either restoring network connectivity, or by providing secure out-of-band access and a local “toolbox” for remote experts to speed troubleshooting without a truck roll.

By providing persistent connectivity to the devices you need to manage, our solutions enable you to:
  • Maintain management access and control over distributed locations, even when the network is down or degraded
  • Enforce security policies even during network outages to maintain compliance
  • Log all changes and the results of those changes, and inspect the logs in real-time for problems
  • Continuously monitor critical statistics and user interactions with managed devices via an always-on, serial connection

If you find yourself sequestered

Keep Uplogix in mind. We can drastically reduce the cost, complexity and risk of managing network infrastructure. As federal IT groups deal with their cuts, finding ways to deploy cost-saving automation will likely take on increased importance. 

So, if you are dealing with sequestration, remember the viewpoint of the great philosopher Kobe Bryant (yeah, of the LA Lakers) on tough times: "Everything negative – pressure, challenges – it's all an opportunity for me to rise."