So much has been written about the US Government’s Health Insurance Exchange that I’m almost afraid to mention it. For this posting, I’m going to stay out of the political fray and avoid rendering any opinion about whether we should, or should not have the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Instead, I would like to discuss the Challenge of the Health Insurance Exchange strictly from an IT perspective.
The US Government has spent approximately 400 million and counting on the current system. So far, the system has been down more often than it’s been operational. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is on the defensive, and she’s been called before congress to testify about how she spent the money, what went wrong?, and how she plans to fix it?. On top of that, her boss, the President of the United States has been forced to acknowledge the problems with the American Public. You get the idea – the site is a train wreck. What we discovered is that the project was rushed, the supporting technology was dated, the systems are vastly more complex than originally thought and nothing works as advertised.
Hypothetically speaking, how would solve these technical problem if you were Sebelius? Bear in mind, you have to change the proverbial tires on the bus while its driving down the road. Well, I’ve actually given this some thought. Throwing the whole thing out and starting from scratch isn’t an option – it would take too long, and you have the President of the United States, Congress and US Public breathing down your neck. No, about the only thing you could do in the short-term is identify, isolate and repair the glitches. The trouble is, a single transaction spans multiple systems and technologies. What’s needed is the ability to trace a transaction end-to-end in order to ferret out and address the problems. Stabilize and fix what you can, and replace what you must. Once stabilized, you can test and upgrade fragile components. All this sounds great, but without End-to-End visibility and a single pane of glass to identify problems you wouldn’t know where to start.
I’m quite proud of the fact that I work for a software company that has actually solved this problem. In fact, my employer (Splunk) is the only machine data platform that I’m aware of that can provide this level of visibility and insight across heterogeneous environments in real-time. If you simply Splunk it, find it, and fix it, you’ll quickly get a handle on what you need to fix and your priorities.
Are you able to quickly identify and isolate technology problems across all your environments?