May 8, 2008
GET OUT YOUR MAP
I've got my service catalog. And my CMDB. Time for business services management, right?
Not quite. Even in environments with robust monitoring, the real trick for many is modeling event information into services. For this you need application dependency mapping, or ADM. These systems provide the greatest promise for simplifying BSM service monitoring and mapping, and best of all, they work with your existing enterprise management tools. Think of ADM as a worker bee that populates relationship information into a CMDB, or in some cases, directly to your service modeling application. ADM systems get data from routing tables, configuration files, port allocation tables, and any other way the environment can be dissected, then map the relationship between applications and the infrastructure and work to dynamically build application services.
EMC Smarts' Application Discovery Manager (formally nLayers) and Symantec's Relicore Clarity are strong contenders in application dependency mapping. The EMC offering is an appliance, while Symantec relies on agents. Tideway's Foundation is another appliance ADM. It can automatically generate detailed business application dependency maps that will help with initial rollouts while improving maintainability, and the product also can manage virtualized server environments.
The final piece of BSM is process--all the monitoring tools in the universe won't help if you lack a methodical process for delivering IT services. While best practices like ITIL, ISO 20000, COBIT, and eTOM can help create a process framework, organizations also must look inward. While ITIL is becoming the de facto standard for enterprises, we've seen too many organizations that just send their people through a class and expect the world to change. But save your training budget, because it won't. For example, even mature companies that have all the elements in place to provide effective BSM need to ensure that processes exist to prevent and alert on service issues before they affect customers. Only a company that has embraced and customized a best-practices framework can rise to that challenge. A tightly integrated BSM program will leave you no better off if you don't know what to do with the information.
BSM IN 5 MINUTES A DAY?
Like those work-from-home, get-rich-quick schemes, you will hear from vendors claiming fast and easy business services management. Smaller upstart vendors will often oversimplify problems and oversell their products' capabilities, while most larger vendors still have work to do integrating disparate product portfolios. Both tend to understate the effort and cost to deploy and configure.
If you can't get three or four references, keep looking. We've seen enterprises that have invested millions and only scratched the surface. Bottom line, if you see BSM as a destination, you will be disappointed. If you're setting management expectations that spending a few hundred thousand dollars will get you there, you may be looking for another job.
The best, more progressive CIOs are already working toward business services management. Get ahead of the crowd here--in the future, every IT organization will be service-centric in some form. Yet few organizations will point to a single BSM product or vendor that got them through the storm.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like