Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tech Field Day 18 - Day 2 with SolarWinds

Picking up from the data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence discussion from my last blog post about Tech Field Day 18 - Day 1, I wanted to dive into the briefing we got from SolarWinds on Day 2. SolarWinds is using that analytics and data sets to make informed decisions and they are leveraging machine learning as part of that process. The presentations are up to watch, you can find them at the link below.


Of particular note is the presentation by Thomas LaRock, Head Geek and Karlo Zatylny, Distinguished Engineer at SolarWinds discuss machine learning, anomaly detection, and Database Performance Analyzer. This presentation goes over the difficulties of using algorithms to try and determine the right way to do predictive analysis and how to display that information to users. It was a very good presentation on the challenges the industry faces in getting things right and how hard it can be to make good assumptions. It also highlights how important it is to have good data and the context of that data. I think even harder is the UI work and how to give the right context around the data being displayed. Honestly, that will likely be the second hardest part of all of this data science work. Providing an intuitive way to understand what the data is telling you without putting in unnatural bias or artificial conclusions in the presentation of that data will be tough. I think SolarWinds is on the right track with what they are doing and their customers will ultimately get a lot of value from the product because of that. At the end of the day, value is what is most important. If they can provide better insight to drive better outcomes or actions then they win a vote of confidence from their customers. I think, for most customers, this will be the determination of if they demand data analytics, machine learning and eventually artificial intelligence or not and if they are willing to pay for it. SolarWinds is helping folks find the needles quickly, now what to do with them is the next challenge.
- Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day was voluntary and I was invited to participate in TFD18. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my flights, hotel, transportation, food and beverage was paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event. In addition, small swag gifts were provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.