UPDATED 15:30 EST / DECEMBER 02 2019

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Do you really know your IT? Discovery tools unearth high-risk surprises

If the average enterprise could see every part composing its infrastructure and applications, they’d be worried. Is that supposed to be there? Shouldn’t this be over there? Is it secure? What would happen if that were to malfunction? Like lifting a mattress, close examination can reveal some yucky stuff. Left uncleaned, it can stink up the place worse than gym socks.

Like junk piles at home, misconfigured or misused tech surfaces when rearranging things or packing up and moving. These unearthings are more common lately as companies migrate to different data centers or to public cloud, or modernize generally, according to Rob Graves (pictured), former vice president at Datatrend Technologies Inc. It may be painful at first, but it’s better to find and fix messes as soon as possible; blissful ignorance is short-lived in enterprise technology.

“Security is a big issue,” Graves said. “How can you secure something you don’t understand?”

Graves sat down with Peter Burris (@plburris), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the BMC Helix Immersion Days event in Santa Clara, California. They discussed why companies migrating, modernizing or distributing their information-technology environments need discovery tools. (* Disclosure below.)

IT’s deadly dependencies

Graves describes DataTrend as an “infrastructure-centric systems integrator.” It leverages discovery technology to help enterprises understand what’s in their IT environments and how different components may interact. Sometimes, this technology exposes hidden time bombs that could have ghastly effects.

Graves remembers one such incident that occurred at a stock brokerage: “All of a sudden, a security guy jumped to the front of the room and said, ‘Stop, stop! What is that?’ And he points at our application map that came out of Helix Discovery, and said, ‘That should not be talking to that,'” Graves recounted.

The cause for alarm was a big vulnerability that existed due to an application dependency unknown to the security team. 

A large airline customer realized they didn’t know its environment as well as it thought it did. “They went through their change-control process — ‘Oops, we didn’t realize that other applications were depending on this server that we just did an OS upgrade on.’ Took the airline down for a couple of hours,” Graves explained.

With discovery tools, the airline easily learned how to prevent outages in the future.

DataTrend is partnering with BMC Software Inc. — makers of Helix Discovery cloud-native visibility and mapping solution — on discovery as a service for “micro” use cases, like network switch maintenance.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the BMC Helix Immersion Days event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the BMC Helix Immersion Days event. Neither BMC Helix, the  sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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