Improving Application Availability and Performance While Reducing Costs
A major US retailer was experiencing an alarming number of systems outages affecting their critical applications. Fixing these MQ related production issues required a large numbers of IT specialists to resolve. A study revealed these outages were costing them millions of dollars in lost retail sales and excess labor expenses.
Let’s examine their situation before and after they implemented BMC’s Middleware Management for their MQ monitoring and administration solution. We’ll describe their issues, resolutions, benefits and cost justification.
IBM MQ, a key enterprise-wide technology was being utilized for the majority of system to system messaging and data communication for their retail functions.
Their major goals and objectives were to upgrade their level of technology delivery excellence to improve critical application availability and reduce system outages. Their outages extended across their critical business critical services including credit card transactions and services platform.
The major problems they faced before implementing a solution to better monitor and manage their MQ based applications were:
- MQ-related store monitoring did not exist due to hardware limitations of their store servers. This MQ Monitoring Gap handicaps personnel from troubleshooting store application outages extended those outages and caused customer satisfaction issues.
- Their Network Operations Center (NOC) received very few MQ-related alerts. As a result, many more application outages were occurring which was costing them additional expenses and lost revenue.
- Current Solution was only sending alerts and couldn’t automatically “fix” the problem (i.e. no MQ auto-remediation capabilities)
- War room scenarios were needed because Level 2 & 3 Engineers had to “prove” MQ was not the issue which was time consuming and involved multiple teams
- Application Developers were using MQ. Any MQ-related changes they needed for testing applications were made by several MQ Engineers who supported them.
- Current solution did not provide any audit trail and therefore was not tracking changes. This created an audit and compliance risk.
There were three main areas of cost justification. First, they determined the cost associated with their outages. Next, they looked at cost savings from utilizing the middleware management solution in a more proactive and productive manner. And lastly, they calculated the costs to the business in terms of lost store sales associated with poor performing applications and critical application outages.
- Outage costs were based upon the total number of hours and their fully burdened costs for each IT specialist involved. These costs included their war room sessions and other time spent on detecting, reporting and fixing and recovering from the outage.
- IT productivity cost savings included time saved with automations such as a). automatically detecting and remediating middleware issues thus improving their MTTR and b). providing Self-Service to the application owners and application developers reducing the need for MQ administrators. With Self-Service administration, application owners and application developers could detect and fix issues faster,
- projected their lose in retail sales based upon the actual days and hours of when their critical applications were unavailable
After State (benefits after implementing BMC Middleware Management solution)
They greatly reduced their MTTR and reduced the number of FTEs required to isolate and resolve performance and availability problems. By virtually eliminating their Application outages, they dramatically reduced the costs associated with those outages.
By automating some of their MQ Monitoring, they were able to reduce manual interventions, so no additional headcount was needed to support a growing middleware environment. With the use of an agent-less solution for fast and easy deployment, they were able to monitor their queues in the stores. With the ability to track configuration changes, they were be able to pinpoint the cause of MQ-related outages. This ability to determine the root cause eliminated their need for war room sessions.
Utilizing a self-service MQ kiosk, they were able to empower their Application Developers to test MQ changes. They minimized change requests from App-Dev to the Middleware Team so the Middleware Team could focus on managing the MQ environment and improving application availability. As a result, Business Applications were delivered and tested on time. These tests included ensuring application response times would provide an excellent customer experience.
In summary, they received the following benefits from implementing the BMC Middleware Monitoring and Administration solution:
- Increase Productivity & Reduce “War Room” Scenarios
- Significantly reduce troubleshooting time for MQ application issues
- Reduce the number of MQ related Help desk calls
- Reduce cost of outages for their retail business critical applications
- Monitored middleware components in all stores for a better customer experience
- Expedited time-to market of critical Retailer applications: