7 steps to Self-healing IT Infrastructure

It was back in 2011 when Facebook introduced its Auto Remediation service or FBAR. The goal was simple: Having an arm that automatically executes code in the case software and hardware failures are encountered on individual servers. This translates to the efficiency of 2 full-time maintenance engineers replacing the job of 200 system administrators.

This only reiterates the importance that self-healing IT infrastructures hold today.

In fact, the ability of self-healing to optimise performance management and system monitoring along with accelerating pipelines with continuous delivery has quickly pegged it as the future of DevOps.

Understanding Self-healing IT Infrastructures

In a nutshell, self-healing is a distinctive IT Operations architecture with an advanced ability to automatically detect and resolve system issues. This eliminates the need for human intervention to the extent that the IT environments can be scaled beyond limits.

And all this makes perfect business sense. Any IT environment is bound to face downtimes sooner or later. During such outages, mission-critical applications either fail to run or constantly malfunction. This leads to a tremendous loss in productivity and business opportunities, along with data losses.

Here’s a look at how the enterprise cost per hour (average) of system downtimes stood in 2019.

To further complicate the situation, the cost of system recovery can also be significantly high. Self-healing provides a framework to eliminate such complications and self-correct anomalies in real-time.

Steps to Create a Self-healing IT Infrastructure

The roadmap to true self-healing consists of series of steps and can take anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Let’s look at each of these in detail.

Step 01: Isolating Critical Resources
It is fairly common for failures in a particular sub-system to have ripple effects inothers. For instance, critical resources such as threads or sockets may not be freewhen required, resulting in resource exhaustion. Moreover, unwarranted access to Operational Technology (OT) systems can leave security holes in IT infrastructures.

By formulating critical system partitions and isolating them, developers can ensurethat failures in one partition do not cascade to fail the entire system. Welcomed side effects of such architecture include strong access controls, audit trails, and security hardening.

Step 02: Including Provisions for Load Levelling
Both internal and customer-facing front-end applications have tendencies to face spikes in network traffics. This can cause undue stress on backend systems, with breaking points resulting in system outages. By leveraging the queue-based load-level technique, developers can queue work items to run asynchronously. By acting as a buffer between the task and the platform, intermittent heavy loads can be smoothened. As a result, the impacts of demand peaks are minimised.

Step 03: Using Immutable Infrastructure as Code
Server provisioning remains a huge challenge for IT infrastructures due to manual, error-prone, and time-consuming processes. While the need to physically stack network servers has been eliminated, they still need to be configured in multiple dashboards. Infrastructure as Code automates infrastructure provisioning, empowering developers to handle cloud applications with higher speed, lesser risk, and reduced cost. The immutability factor further adds to security by ensuring that the code cannot be modified once originally provisioned.

Step 04: Leveraging Automated Code Testing
Most development processes begin at the application level. But this step takes a rather contradictory approach. Even before the development of the product commences, automated unit code tests are written. These are then simultaneously updated with the core application process. With daily automated and integrated test runs, manual testing and the accompanying challenges are eliminated. All this and more helps to ensure the stability of system resources and ensures that new releases do not interfere with system integrity, especially when they are pushed into production.

Step 05: Degrading Unmanageable Issues
Breaking the application into its component subsystems leads to more benefits, especially in scenarios where entire subsystems are non-critical for the application. This means that priorities can be easily defined in a way that system failures are bypassed even during sub-system failures. For instance, an application that shows a catalogue of computer games and even functions if a part of the content (such as an image) fails to load.

Step 06: Logging, Monitoring, Smart Alerts, and Triggers
New-age logging and monitoring efforts include setting up smart alerts that drastically reduce the time of problem-solving. This goes well beyond the simple practice of showing the uptime status of components. Instead, triggers can be created for every possible situation to respond with the most appropriate course of action.

Step 07: Demand alignment and Technology Standardization
Modelling demand to clearly understand the business operation requirements and aligning infrastructure resources to support the demand, in real time. This is further enhanced by standardization of technology and resources, to ensure that the environment is homogenous, built on scalable architecture, stack vulnerabilities are managed effectively and operating processes are fully automated.

The result?
Repetitive system issues can be resolved without the extensive intervention of the DevOps team.

Rounding It up
        Self-healing IT infrastructures help organisations to move from a reactive to a proactive stance of prediction and prevention. Matilda Cloud platform understands the benefits of such a philosophy and includes relevant self-healing features. As a result, users on the platform are able to realise benefits such as:

  • Significant reduction in management overheads
  • Complete visibility into cloud resources
  • Automation provisions for consistency and reliability
  • Robust infrastructures with deeper insights
  • Highly scalable workloads with extensive security

Schedule a demo today to learn more about our platform and its self-healing capabilities.