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Complexity breeds complexity

The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) has always stood the test of time. It has worked particularly well where IT solutions are concerned. Steve Barrie of comments.

Market Analysis

Complexity breeds complexity
The KISS principle has always stood the test of time. It has worked particularly well where IT solutions are concerned. Keep It Simple, Stupid is especially important where enterprise management solutions are concerned because it is all too easy to get caught up in the minutiae of technology monitoring and lose sight of the reasons why management is necessary. In fact, the management solution becomes a management problem.

For years there has been an emphasis on the need to keep components of the IT infrastructure running on a 24x7 basis. This means that we know everything that happens at the technology layer and push that information through various phases of filtering and analysis to come up with a reduced number of more meaningful events. No information is ever lost this way but the management solution is made to work very hard to achieve its goals.

If, instead, we look at the problem from the top it is possible to come up with a much simpler business-oriented alternative. It reduces the volume of monitored information to give greater scalability of the management solution at the cost of lost diagnostic information.

The simpler method starts with a business requirement. For example, to stay in business a company may need to process $10,000 worth of orders every hour. This is the measure it needs to take. When this target is not reached then contributory factors need to be examined. The monitoring evolves with more measurements added to ensure that real business problems can be spotted, diagnosed and repaired automatically. This sounds slow but it doesn't have to be and you can be sure that the much reduced number of measurements are all important.

This approach is being adopted by some of the more recent arrivals in the enterprise management market - especially those that don't have a history of monitoring every piece of technology.

Finally, there is another thought to support the KISS approach. One of the big contributions to improved implementation times has been the standard component management that comes out of the box. Obviously this is based on standard product installations. Every time you customize a product in some way you also have to customize its management. For this reason, such customization should be subjected to the same rigorous change controls as all other software or hardware modifications. If you don't have to change things then don't do it. Keep It Simple.

Copyright 2003. Originally published by, reprinted with permission. provides IT decision makers with free daily e-mails containing news analysis, member-only discussion forums, free research, technology spotlights and free on-line consultancy. To register for a free e-mail subscription, click here.

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