Former Computer Weekly and Financial Times IT journalist, Dave Madden
interviews Silicon Valley’s Rich Miller on Real Status’ Hyperglance
For Rich Miller, Hyperglance works like an adrenaline shot.
He is clearly exhausted – that numbing cocktail of jet lag and non-stop presentations that is the lot of the global technology consultant is taking its toll. There is another daunting round of evening meetings to come. But get him onto Hyperglance, the innovative modelling software from Cambridge start-up Real Status and he recovers with an infectious rush of enthusiasm.
Miller is in Europe in his capacity as adviser and consultant to Real Status – and as evangelist for a very different way of managing complex networks.
Rich Miller is President of Telematica, Inc. a consulting firm and holding company with a practice in product strategy and business development for utility computing and networked services.
He recently served as CEO for Replicate Technologies, Inc. a provider of management technology for the networks that support virtual machine environments (VMEs). In fact for the bulk of his career, he has focused on emerging messaging technologies and innovative distributed applications, first as a technologist and product strategist, and then as a business strategist and operating executive.
So the mere fact that Miller is working with Real Status, sits on its advisory board, and has a small stake in the firm, is a real vote of confidence in its management team and its approach. Real Status’ chosen patch is Miller’s specialist subject.
“I first came across Real Status in California – they were on a trade mission to Silicon Valley organised by UKTI. The attraction was immediate and obvious.
“I have a long standing interest in managing complex data communications networks, data centre infrastructures and the like – and a strong belief in data visualisation. I found Real Status’s way of tackling this incredibly inventive and stimulating,” he says.
Real Status’s flagship product, launched earlier this year, is Hyperglance.
Hyperglance is the world’s first real-time IT modelling and visualisation software that automatically builds three dimensional models showing the dependencies between IT applications and infrastructure.
This 3D modelling approach enables customers to see their entire IT infrastructure on a single pane of glass, including physical, virtual and cloud-based devices, applications and services and their relationships to each other. It complements other management tools by aggregating and visualising their data on the model. The obvious benefits are faster, more accurate and informed operational decisions. In addition, Hyperglance will help with security and compliance, and better capacity planning and utilisation - and because the software overlays performance and business metrics, IT managers can take informed and business-led decisions in context.
“Hyperglance is seriously innovative. At its core is something like a 3D gaming engine. And just like a 3D game it allows an operator to view the network from different angles, to get different perspectives.
“So Hyperglance did appeal to the inner gamer in me – but it turns out that this approach is a far better way of getting a sense of complex systems. The endless grids and tables of conventional network management systems are actually quite poor at showing patterns – Hyperglance is a very superior way of getting the big picture.”
The other attraction of Real Status for Miller was timing. Hyperglance offers a solution to a problem that is getting exponentially more difficult to solve.
“Managing complex networks has always been difficult. But in an environment of cloud computing, of server virtualisation, the problem is getting far harder.
“This new environment is wonderful for the developer in terms of cost and flexibility, but almost by definition it is very difficult to manage; the documentation describing the network is always out of date.
“But it is this virtual environment, with hundreds of times more points on a network that is always in motion, that the data centre now has to manage.
“If you try to apply conventional management systems to this virtual data centre it looks as if everything is out of control. The complexity and plasticity of the environment demands a different perspective – and that’s what Hyperglance offers.”
As well as helping to model this intrinsic complexity, Hyperglance also gives administrators a handle on systems security.
“There is nothing magic about this. Security issues in the cloud are not difficult in themselves – it is just that the more points you have on the network, so the more vectors you have for potential security breaches. Anything you can do to monitor these exposed interfaces in an orderly manner is obviously good.
“This whole area of security in a virtual computing world has become a conversation in the executive suite. CFO’s (Chief Financial Officers) are particularly sensitive to the issues. In many industries – banking, insurance, health care - wherever you are maintaining personal identification data about your customers, you are under regulatory obligations, and should you fail an audit in this area there are immediate financial consequences. There is a serious cost to non-compliance here.”
Miller professes great confidence in Real Status’s business model, as well as its technical approach.
“The long term effects of cloud computing on IT infrastructure are still to be realised.
“The issue is how to operate a data centre in these circumstances. How can IT and systems development organisations make best use of the miraculous resources now available to them, how to exploit the flexibility and costs of virtual computing without getting into security and reliability trouble.”
In the short term that means Real Status has to talk to business operations and IT executives, and to build a series of partnerships in its focus markets. Further out, Miller speculates that the firm’s modelling approach could find application in other areas – social networks, economics - wherever the visualisation of relationships, the interactions and flows of data, can be represented as a network.
“Real Status has a compelling story. Hyperglance gives IT managers a way of determining what is happening in their virtual data centres – and why. And, when used in conjunction with predictive systems management products, can be effectively used to represent answers to the ‘what-if ?’ questions that continually face data centre managers.
“This is a tool set that enhances visibility where it is very difficult to see what is going on. Literally, it allows you to change your point of view. It removes the clutter. It really is quite magic when you use it.
“In quite a profound way this technology re-empowers people. It allows a human view of complex systems; it allows human intuition to function. Hyperglance really is a human and computer symbiosis - and in a philosophical sense that is very encouraging.”
Encouraging – and invigorating. Game on.
Former editor of Computer Weekly, freelance feature writer for the Financial Times, and founder and editor of theConsultant.eu, a forum for Europe’s management consultants, Dave Madden is a freelance writer who specialises in consulting, business and technology issues and education.
About Real Status
Real Status is an IT infrastructure modelling and data visualisation software company, and our flagship product is Hyperglance. Hyperglance automatically builds three dimensional models showing the dependencies between IT applications and infrastructure. It aggregates and visualises performance and security data from existing IT management tools on the model in real time.
Hyperglance enables CIOs, IT managers and their teams to see their management data and key dependencies in one place and at one time for thousands of connected devices. Their priorities and decisions are based on understanding the business impact of problems and proposed IT changes, which reduces risks, lowers costs, and improves capacity utilisation.
Real Status’ market is enterprises and managed service providers with virtualized and distributed computing environments. Real Status is based in Cambridge, UK and San Jose, California, USA. For more information visit: www.real-status.com.
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