SolarWinds VP Offers 2024 Predictions on AI

IT management software and observability firm SolarWinds says businesses will leverage artificial intelligence and automation at a faster pace.

Shane Snider , Senior Writer, InformationWeek

January 19, 2024

5 Min Read
Robot Predicting Future With Crystal Ball
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At a Glance

  • SolarWinds says AI will advance in several key areas in the new year.
  • Observability and database issue resolution will drive new automation efforts.
  • Companies will spend on AI to realize savings through efficiency.

“GenAI” (generative artificial intelligence) might just be the buzzword of the decade for the technology sector, but there’s real substance behind all the noise around AI, a SolarWinds executive tells InformationWeek.

SolarWinds recently released a report showing that observability, database issue resolution, embracing artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps), and IT service management (ITSM) improvements, will all be priorities for enterprises in 2024. AI and machine learning will spur advancements in all these areas, according to the report.

Jeff Stewart, SolarWinds vice president of global solutions engineering, says the buzz around AI is going to turn into a boom in the coming months and years. In an interview with InformationWeek, Stewart says companies who were cautiously exploring options for AI and machine learning are now ready to take the leap.

“Some of the things we’ve seen, especially as it relates to the adoption of AI, is really moving from what I’ll call the newness and hype of it to the real consumption -- both from a consumer perspective and also seeing a lot of implementation and adoption across IT,” he says. “It’s really about going from the hype to implementation and adoption -- that what we’re seeing and expecting to really accelerate through 2024 and 2025.”

Related:How to Take AIOps from a Promising Concept to a Practical Reality

Observability’s Role in the New Year

According to SolarWinds research, enterprises lose more than $13 million annually to costs associated with brownouts and outages. AI-powered observability options could help cut those costs by providing insight on what’s not performing well and allowing teams to eliminate downtime.

 As CIOs are either in the process of implementing AI into observability efforts, or at the very beginning stages, Stewart says data hygiene and management is going to be a key factor.

“One of the key components is really understanding where you’re at on that observability journey,” he says. “There are a lot of disparate tools and different observability offerings that may be very segmented … The key is having the full data set across that stack that allows the AI technology to leverage that data, because if the engines don’t have the data across the stack, then there’s going to be parts of the puzzle that are missing, and AI is just not going to be able to accommodate.”

He adds, “Assessing where you’re at, ensuring that you have visibility across all of the components within your IT stack, and then implementing a solution that is focused on challenges or understanding problems that IT professional would expect to see is what these leaders should focus on going forward.”

Related:Cribl CEO on Building ‘Switzerland of Observability’

Database Issues

SolarWinds’ report says businesses will prioritize getting to the root of database issues in 2024. SolarWinds’ data shows one-third of IT professionals surveyed manage upwards of 300 databases. They will look to AI to lighten the load and find solutions quickly, Stewart says.

“All applications have some sort of database behind them,” he says. “And that’s a critical component of servicing data to the application itself. So, as we’ve gone to microservices and NoSQL databases and multi-cloud deployments, understanding where the problems lie has become even more complex. Having the ability to trace the application back to the database and pinpoint exactly which query in the database to find a specific problem -- leveraging these new technologies to increase performance there is something that I would expect to see in 2024.”

SolarWinds’ report says AI and other new technologies will help IT teams fix issues in real-time, understand database implications as new code is deployed and avoid costly outages in the future.

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations

In the new year, companies will use AIOps to integrate data from across complex hybrid IT environments for actionable intelligence, the report says. AIOps will allow organizations to use predictive intelligence to optimize performance -- eventually allowing for autonomous operations that require little to no human intervention.

Related:Feasting on High-Quality AI Data

“The trend that we’re seeing that we’ll continue to see is really around the predictive intelligence and that goes back to that full stack data collection … having all that data and leveraging AI technology to get better at predicting what going to happen in the future … the ability to take that curated data and connect it to other tools that allow automation without the need for human involvement. We are really shifting towards that kind of autonomous operation mindset.”

Adoption of New Tools and Cost

With budgets stretched thin and cost cutting measures still at top-of-mind for many executives as the tech market remains tight, Stewart says spending on new AI technologies will lead to significant savings overall.

“IT budgets aren’t getting bigger,” Stewart says. “And in many cases, budgets are shrinking based on concerns with the economy. Folks are looking for ways to save and some of that will certainly come through automation and efficiencies. And some of that will come through tool and vendor consolidation. The ability to leverage various AI technologies is certainly something that people are interested in to realize those efficiencies.”

He adds, “Whether that means their observability is running at its maximum potential, or if it’s the ability to automate things… these technologies are really advancing at a rapid pace.”

While SolarWinds expects to see a lot of advancement in AI this year, we are still at the starting line overall, Stewart says.

“There are some organizations that are very mature and advanced in their AI journey,” he says. “But overall, we’re still in the early days for a lot of folks. So, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. The ones that are mature, in observability for instance, are performing better as businesses and are better able to serve their customers.”

About the Author(s)

Shane Snider

Senior Writer, InformationWeek, InformationWeek

Shane Snider is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of industry experience. He started his career as a general assignment reporter and has covered government, business, education, technology and much more. He was a reporter for the Triangle Business Journal, Raleigh News and Observer and most recently a tech reporter for CRN. He was also a top wedding photographer for many years, traveling across the country and around the world. He lives in Raleigh with his wife and two children.

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