Understanding Domain-Agnostic v. Domain-Centric AIOps Platforms

Andreas Prins

Andreas Prins

VP Product Management

9 min read

No matter what we do, we’ll always be surrounded by choices. Do I save money and take the bus, or do I spend money filling up my gas tank? Do I make dinner at home, or do I eat dinner out? Whatever the outcome, it’s our needs – what we require and what we can afford – that help guide us to where we should go.

Technology is no exception. Especially in AIOps.

When it comes to AIOps platforms, Gartner identifies two categories: domain-agnostic and domain-centric solutions. In its Market Guide for AIOps Platforms, Gartner argues that domain-agnostic platforms are the future of AIOps; but this isn’t exactly the case for all organizations. In fact, choosing between domain-agnostic and domain-centric platforms is becoming a hot topic among IT organizations. 

To understand this debate a bit better, let’s look at what these solutions are and why organizations should weigh their options.

Both domain-agnostic and domain-centric are AIOps platform offerings, but they are not one-size-fits-all, nor are they interchangeable. This is because domain-agnostic and domain-centric solutions cover one or more different “domains'' within an IT organization’s operations. In AIOps, a domain could be any kind of asset or activity, including software applications and deployments, network performance tuning, cost management, security screening and more. Because domain-agnostic and domain-centric solutions can’t fit within all instances, each has their respective pros and cons. Understanding the capabilities of both platforms is incredibly important when determining which approach better suits your company’s needs. 

Domain-agnostic vs. Domain-centric: What are they and why are they important?

This is a great question to ask yourself when looking to adopt either approach. 

 Domain-centric

If you break down the word “domain-centric”, you might already have a basis for what this could mean. A domain-centric solution is focused on solving problems within a single, therefore specific domain. If you’re ever unsure whether a domain-centric solution is right for you, Gartner suggests letting the use case to determine your approach. For example, if your organization has a one-off, specific use case, Gartner says a domain centric AIOps feature is the most appropriate course of action. 

Because domain-centric tools concentrate on a particular domain, they are less complex and can benefit organizations that require a narrow focus. Like its name suggests, domain-centric platforms aren’t well suited for those who have more than one domain to solve for. 

Looking for an example of domain-centric?

From a technological perspective, an application performance monitoring tool (APM) measuring latency is an example of a domain centric AIOps solution. Within the APM, the AIOps component identifies anomalies - in this case when latency is higher than usual. When an anomaly is detected by the AIOps component, the APM tools automatically triggers an alert.

Advantages and disadvantages?

Domain-centric solutions are popular among organizations because they can effectively resolve a particular and time-sensitive problem area or “pain point.” A big advantage of taking the domain-centric approach is that because the use case is so specific, each tool within the domain-centric platform knows its data set inside and out – better than any domain-agnostic tool.

However, for some organizations domain-centric solutions aren’t always a viable option because they have limited applicability. If you’re trying to solve problems within the entire IT environment, domain-centric solutions aren’t going to cut it - you’ll need to use domain-agnostic tools. 

Domain-agnostic

Unlike domain-centric solutions, domain-agnostic solutions focus on solving problems across multiple domains - not just one. Combing diverse data sets and data types into a single insight or action, domain-agnostic platforms are ideal for organizations that have a broad range of application and data sources. As with domain-centric solutions, Gartner suggests letting the use case determine your approach. For multiple use cases, Gartner advises deploying domain-agnostic solutions.

Looking for an example of domain-agnostic?

Log management, APM, network performance management and user monitoring are all examples of domain-agnostic tools because they aggregate alerts from several observability tools. Since domain-agnostic platforms are more focused on strategic outcomes, their AIOps components automatically place alerts into a data model. In this model, the components improve the alerts with additional context and correlate them into logical incidents across data sources.

Advantages and disadvantages?

Domain-agnostic solutions are perfect for organizations looking at the “bigger picture”. In fact, one of the reasons the domain-agnostic approach is so appealing for organizations is that domain-agnostic platforms are more focused on an organization’s strategic outcomes. Compared to domain-centric, domain-agnostic platforms are better at deriving insights by connecting the dots and driving action. Moreso, domain-agnostic tools merge with a variety of data sources no matter the industry or its function. 

But because domain-agnostic solutions are more holistic than domain-centric solutions, they can only do so much (or in this case so little) when focused on a particular pain point. If you’re having extreme difficulty with a specific use case and data set, domain-centric tools should be your chosen approach, not domain-agnostic.

Now that you know what domain-centric and domain-agnostic are, where do you go from here?

While there are positives and negatives to either choice, choosing between domain-agnostic and domain-centric platforms should be based on the needs of your business. Evaluating things such as budget, use case complexity, and tools are helpful when determining which platform best supports your business requirements. 

Whether you’re choosing between domain-agnostic or domain-centric platforms, there are plenty of tools and applications that can help you meet your AIOps needs – including us! Our topology-powered observability solution provides customers with a full-stack view of the operational landscape. So, if you’re in need of domain-agnostic capabilities, look no further. StackState has you covered.


Andreas Prins

Andreas Prins

VP Product Management

9 min read