Tag Archive | "BSM"

Are Enterprises Really Gaga for the Cloud?

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, Enterprise IT, Private Cloud

So many statistics out there about when we’ll adopt the cloud. Some may suggest that it’s years away, that by 2013 only small bits will be there. Others say, that many organizations are there today. What are you to believe?

For the sake of argument, lets separate public cloud services like Google Docs and Salesforce.com and stick to the idea of private cloud — that is, the idea of building a set of services not unlike the public cloud, inside the firewall. Think of a portal of services you’ve built out on virtual machines providing you and your users with fixed costs and resource flexibility.

It sounds wonderful and there is a lot of upside to building a private cloud, but like anything else, there is expense involved. There is at least a couple of layers of technology you need to lay on top of these services offering (not the least of which should be business service management, ahem).

That’s why I was surprised to read a list of IDC predictions for 2011 — we are talking this year, not some nebulous point way off in the future — that the private cloud would mature in 2011. To be precise, IDC predicted that “Private Cloud Plans Will Mature, Dominate the Enterprise Infrastructure Software Agenda in 2011.”

That’s a pretty bold statement when you consider that a lot of companies still don’t understand the difference between the public and private cloud yet. Many remain wary of it for a number of reasons and it would require a significant change in direction for many IT departments.

Do I think companies are discussing it? I definitely think many CIOs are having conversations with their staffs about building private clouds, but change happens slowly in most IT departments.

In spite of the rapid pace of technological change going on all around us, I think it’s a bit unrealistic to think that what is basically a new technology will mature and dominate. Perhaps discussion will begin and maybe even some sand boxing. Perhaps companies will put forth a plan of attack, but to expect it to mature and dominate as IDC predicted is highly unrealistic to me and is counter to the way I’ve learned IT departments move, operate and absorb change.

Photo by gareth1953 on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

VMware Launches Cloud Foundry

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, Monitoring, PaaS, Virtualization, VMware

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementVMware announced that it is launching Cloud Foundry, a move that will put the company smack dab in the center of the Platform as a Service (PaaS) market. The project is in Beta for now.

As I wrote in Understanding the Different Levels of Cloud Computing, PaaS “…provides a platform on which you can build applications usually linked to a particular vendor.” VMware is traditionally known as a company that provides the software to build out virtual machines, a key component in building and deploying private clouds, so this takes them in a new direction.

Geva Perry, writing on his Thinking Out Cloud blog, says what’s interesting about this offering is that it offers a series of VMware branded services such as data and messaging services, but also uses an open architecture that enables enterprises to link other non-VMware services. This is in contrast to Salesforce.com, whose PaaS offering is really designed to lock you into the Salesforce platform (which is fine if that’s where you’re working, not everyone is about customer relationship management).

This is an intriguing offering for any IT pro because it provides a central place where you can build your cloud infrastructure with a mix of public and private services. Now what’s really interesting here is the open nature of this platform. If it’s truly open, and depending on how flexible the API is, perhaps you could also connect the whole kit and kaboodle to your monitoring tool. Imagine how that would be?

I’m not certain this is possible having just seen the picture of the architecture in the blog post, but if it were, it opens up some interesting possibilities as it would allow you to have the means to monitor your entire system from a single view, a pretty attractive idea.

If it’s not that easy to connect to an external monitoring system, it should be because this type of connectivity has to become a priority. IT pros need to have the tools to monitor the whole system wherever it resides and a tool like this that mixes services should provide that.

Photo by jenny-bee on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Where BTM Meets BSM

Tags: BSM, BTM, Business Service Management, Enterprise IT, SLA

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementFor businesses, it’s always hard to get all the possible value out of the different systems that help keep a company operating. One way you can begin to see that value is at the intersection of BTM and BSM. B what? I hear you saying.

Let’s back up and explain the terms. BTM stands for Business Transaction Management. As Sean Larner wrote on the L’abre Solutions blog, “Business transactions are the simple and complex entities that produce business outcomes.” Therefore, Business Transaction Management is the act of managing those transactions. This is not to be confused with Business Process Management (BPM), which lets you set up complex business work flows to automate the act of moving work through the enterprise to completion.

Where this gets interesting is when BTM crosses paths with BSM, which of course stands for Business Service Management, the very subject of this blog. One thing we cover in great detail on this blog is how to deal with service level agreements (SLAs). In his post Reaching SLA Nirvana, Lee Frazier offers 8 ways to reach that elusive goal of controlling your SLAs.

Finding a coherent set of tools is a big part of that, and as Larner points out in his post “utilising BTM it is now possible to define and measure, success/failure (state) and time based business SLAs…” Larner goes on to define a set of vertical tasks that could be measured in this manner including investment banking trade lifecycles and  retail transaction flows.

The beauty of this type of measurement is that you can link it to your BSM strategy and find real business value that can help you better understand your business. BTM might not be something that you’re acutely aware of, but by having it in place, it can work with your BSM system and provide you with a deeper understanding of your business at an extremely detailed level.

Photo by Joshua Rappeneker on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Organizing IT for Excellent Service – Baseline

Tags: BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Cost Reduction, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Service Level, Service Value

The Hub Commentary

If you want to avoid IT silos and provide more value and transparency back to the business this is a worthwhile read.


Building IT around the business services it provides, rather than around assets or activities, pays off.   Learn more about the direct benefits…

So You’re Tracking SLAs…Now What?

Tags: Availability, BSM, Business Service Management, Cost Reduction, IT Management Tools, Service Level

I recently wrote an article about Service Level Agreements (SLA) and why I think they are so hard to manage and track.   Now what if your organization has its SLA implementation under control?   Your organization already provides reports to the management team and the customer showing accurate availability metrics for the business services your team delivers.

While working on SLA projects, I have found that we are intently focused on the end result…the reports.  The report needs to be accurate, show historical data, and perform reasonably.  After all, this is what the management team will see.  However, by the time you are showing the report to management or a customer, it’s too late.  The SLA violation has probably already occurred, and your company will pay the price.

SLA implementations need to warn you that a breach will occur.   In any SLA report, you can look at the metrics and determine that a business service was not available, but what was the root cause and how can it be fixed?   Better yet, how can future outages be prevented?   We know that management and customers will view the SLA reports, but the operations team also needs access to this data.   This is the team that is responsible for the IT resources, so they need a way to view availability metrics.  They need the ability to drill down into the business service and view what IT resources have failed.   They need a detailed list of outages and a way to view the root cause of these outages.   With this information, the team can research the cause of the issue and take action to prevent further outages from occurring.

Our goal is to meet a customer’s service level agreement.   A good SLA implementation will not only provide reports to the customer, but also give your organization the tools it needs to meet those SLAs.


Adobe Gets Analytical with Ominture

Tags: Analytics, BSM, Business, Business Service Management

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementBack in September, 2009 when Adobe laid out $1.9 billion to buy web analytics firm Omniture, there was a lot of speculation about just what Adobe would do with it.

At the time, Adobe’s enterprise business wasn’t as built out as it is now. Many speculated that they would use it to help web developers test and measure the popularity of different designs, which made sense in the context of their business at the time.

Turned out that Adobe had bigger plans than that and it began to come together when it purchased Web Content Management vendor, Day Software last July. That gave Adobe the tools to build the site (Creative Suite), manage the site content (Day CQ5) and measure and analyze the site traffic (Omniture).

More recently, Adobe held an entire summit devoted to Omniture where they announced  a series of products to help designers, developers and marketers better understand their sites and what works to attract and keep customers engaged. In addition, and perhaps more important, the new tools provide insight about what customers are saying about you in social channels.

This type of data analysis gives you insight across your delivery channels, and is important in its own way as the information you get from other business systems including your Business Service Management (BSM). While BSM might give you a different kind of view of your business, the data you get from your web site could prove just as valuable because it gives you insight into your customer behavior and how to get them to take action (buy).

Ultimately, buying and selling is what any business is all about and the more data you bring to the table, the greater your chances of finding success.

Photo by hardeep.singh on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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Using Analytics to Understand Your Customers Better

Tags: Analytics, BSM, Business Service Management, Monitoring

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementWhile we talk about monitoring in the enterprise a lot in this blog, we tend to think of it as keeping an eye on our enterprise systems and not very much about our customers, but today’s Web Content Management systems and analytics tools have the power to give you insight into your Web site visitors, even going so far as helping you customize the user experience based on previous behavior.

Analytics in their own way are data you can use,  just as you can use data from inside the enterprise to help you beter understand your users and systems.

The great thing about a web site is that you have that ability to collect data either in aggregate or based on individual user behavior (such as buying habits). Amazon is famous for this approach. When they see you bought a certain item, they suggest other items you might like based on your buying history. For others, it may be just understanding general patterns of customer behaviors to build different paths through the site based on high level categories.

Marketers refer to these general categories as personnas. If you’re a hotel chain, you might have several personnas around the types of guests you have such as business travelers, vacationers, event planners and so forth.

You can also learn about your visitors based on information they provide. For instance, when a visitor signs up for your newsletter, you could use that opportunity to collect other information abou them such as basic demographics about where they live and so forth.

As you gather all this information though, the idea is to make use of it, just as you do any other business information inside your organizaton. With Business Service Management (BSM) it might be more related to the operation of your overall systems. With business intelligence (BI), it might be related to your overall business performance and with analytics it’s about understanding your customers better.

Photo by yuhui on Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Survey Says Managing Cloud is Chief Concern

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, IT, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, Service Level

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementWhat do you suppose worries businesses about transitioning to a hybrid cloud computing environment — that is one that includes both public cloud services outside the firewall and private clouds inside? Interestingly enough, it’s management, the subject of this Blog.

When asked in recent survey, what worried business most about cloud computing, a whopping 71 percent of respondents answered concerns about managing a hybrid environment. Ironically, according to an IT Pro article citing the survey results, in spite of this, 91 percent of respondents were thinking about a hybrid cloud.

The survey  was conducted by marketing and research firm Vanson Bourne for service provider 2E2.

What these findings show is that there is a huge disconnect between what companies think they want in terms of a cloud solution, and there ability to monitor, manage and deploy it. There is a lack of understanding of how to make sure the public cloud vendors are keeping to their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and how IT as an organization can keep an eye on the entire organization, even as part of the infrastructure shifts to public cloud services.

There are tools, techniques and systems organizations can put in place that give that vision across systems. While there are limits to managing information outside the firewall, the ability to manage and monitor should absolutely enter into your decision-making criteria when choosing a public cloud vendor.

One other interesting data point found that more than half of respondents, 56 percent, were concerned about “losing control of their infrastructure.” While companies may be right that managing cloud resources is a difficult task, it’s also not impossible and there are tools available to help.

What we seem to be witnessing here is a transformation. In the first phase of cloud computing, IT was resistant. Now it seems to understand that the some form of cloud computing is coming, but there seems to be a lack of understanding, if these results are to be believed, about how to proceed and how to maintain control of the computing environment.

What they have to learn now is that total control outside the firewall is probably impossible, but some semblance of control is certainly well within reach, and there are systems that can help.

Photo by runran on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Microsoft System Center Upgrade To Monitor Private Clouds

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, IT, Monitoring, Private Cloud, Service Portal

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementAt the recent Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft released details of an upcoming upgrade to its System Center product that will let IT pros monitor private clouds from the System Center console. It’s significant because it increases Microsoft’s presence in the cloud monitoring space.

System Center currently is a made up of a series of products that let IT pros monitor the server infrastructure inside their organizations including a configuration manager, a virtual machine manager, data protection manager and so forth. There are two key pieces in the upgrade.

The first piece is called Advisor and according to Infoweek,  it monitors the system and collects data in Microsoft Azure. As the system builds a knowledge base of configuration information, it sends out alerts of potential trouble spots.

It’s important to note that this product is focused on a Windows Server environment, but for Microsoft shops, the new Advisor piece provides a way to monitor your server configuration in the private cloud and find trouble before it affects a large number of users.

The other piece is software for managing and deploying a self-service portal. If this sounds familiar, it should because recently we wrote about the Cisco purchase of newScale, a product that provides Cisco customers with the same ability to build a self-service portal.

It’s clear that the big players are getting into monitoring and private cloud provisioning in a big way, and that’s because there is a developing market for these tools as organizations look for ways to understand and build private clouds in-house and take advantage of the economies of scale that private cloud services can bring. Vendors like Microsoft and Cisco are clearly looking to build or purchase tools that meet these customer requirements.

Monitoring is a key provision of private cloud computing because it’s essential to have a big picture view across the entire organization’s infrastructure. While Microsoft’s solution is typically Microsoft-centric, it is interesting from a BSM perspective because it is about monitoring, deploying and understanding the IT infrastructure.

While many organizations will need more than a Microsoft-only approach, the fact that Microsoft is in the space, should be proof positive that it’s something every IT pro needs to be paying attention to, whether yours is a Microsoft shop or a more heterogeneous environment.

Photo by cote on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

BSM Succeeds when…

Tags: Best Practices, BSM, Business Service Management, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, Service Level

Business Service Management practices have the greatest chance of success when:

  • The solution provides several different views of the same data. The technical team needs a few different views (top down, bottom up, inside out), the end users of the systems (internal or external customers) want to see the services they are using along with the health (email, payroll, etc), management wants to see impacts to the business, revenue related metrics (trade volume).


  • Granular security control is needed to control the depth that end users are allowed to drill in as well as controlling which users are able to perform actions such as Acknowledging an alarm.  While the BSM solution must be able to represent the service from end to end, there rarely is a reason to have an executive drill down and look at the performance metrics of a network card on some obscure server.   Showing that a single node of a cluster is down is important to some users, this is useless data to others.


  • The solution fully understands health of the Service. Integrating with the JUST the top management tool may provide ‘all’ of the alerts within the environment, it won’t provide easy drill down into the underlying tool reporting the failure in order to get at additional details or command and control, it won’t tell you to fix Service A over Service B, it won’t tell you that if you do not reboot server123 in the next 10 minutes you will breach a critical Service Level.


  • Root cause is more than determining the router being down is the root cause of the server being unaccessible. While this is useful information, this type of root cause does not always map to why a Service is down.   Don’t get me wrong, it is very important and needed information.   The team responsible for resolving outages need quick answers, they need to be able to to quickly see within the sea or red alerts that this particular server being down is the reason that payroll is down.  Between this server and the 15 other outages, they might want to work on this server first… it’s payday.


  • The end users of the implementation are consulted with to understand their requirements. Just because you can set up the view one way doesn’t mean that it provides value to the end users.  They need easy access to the data, they need quick access to other internal tools (knowledge base, help desk, etc).  The solution needs to make their lives easier.


  • Start with an important Business Service, or a single important application or one that keeps the CTO up at night worrying about it.   If you start with mapping the one service end to end (as best as possible without getting stuck in a rabbit hole), get an internal win, ROI, etc., it helps map out the next Services, rally other teams to get involved, etc.   Trying to do every service end to end completely automated, etc is trying to boil the ocean, it’s not going to work.   Sometimes a partial view is better than no view.  Stating small and working out from there is key.


One other reason that I purposely omitted is management buy-in.   I feel that it is important, but to get started, it may not require complete management buy-in.   What I mean is, sometimes management buy in is only needed within your own group or department, other management buy-in is sometimes needed in order to expand the footprint or get additional details.   I’ve seen that come along as the BSM team gets wins under their belt.

Okay, don’t be shy, what are some reasons that Business Service Management worked for your organization (or you think you need for your planned BSM implementation to be successful)?   Dashboards, HA/DR, CMDB, Discovery, ITIL projects…

– Tobin


How Do You Tell if the Cloud is Greener?

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Green IT

I came across an article the other week questioning whether cloud computing was actually greener than conventional enterprise computing. On its face, the fact that you are using resources more efficiently would suggest that it is, but how do you prove it? 

One of the cornerstone concepts of cloud computing, whether you’re using a private cloud in-house or a public cloud is the ability to use fewer resources more efficiently. Last year while attending the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, I learned that Salesforce.com uses less than 2000 servers to support more than 72,000 customers. That’s efficient.

But it’s not just the efficiency that’s a factor here, companies like Google, Yahoo! and Amazon  that are running hundreds of huge data centers have a stake in making sure they are running as efficiently as possible because extra energy isn’t just bad for the environment. It’s bad for business.

When I was at CeBIT a few weeks ago in Hannover, Germany I saw Chang-Gyu Hwang, who is National CTO of South Korea talking about using the heat generated by buildings in cities to generate more energy. This same principal could be applied to server farms to generate the electricity to run them.

But it’s still open to debate, which brings us to measurements. When you have a system in place that enables you to measure the energy you’re using, you can begin to quantify your energy usage to the extent possible.

On one hand, if you move some of your functions to a public cloud, you off-load some of that energy consumption to the vendor (but you could still see it as part of your company’s carbon footprint).

If your vendors provide this type of information, you could plug it into your monitoring infrastructure to track energy usage as part of your overall business measurement goals.

And if you use virtualization in-house, you might be using the same number of servers (or even less due to increased efficiency), but you’ll be using them to greater capacity meaning that they aren’t just sitting there doing nothing a good part of the time (yet still using the same amount of electricity regardless).

Having tools in place that manage your entire business IT infrastructure across different types of measurements including energy consumption, can help you fully understand your business and the impact your energy usage is having on the environment and your bottom line.

Photo by AleBonvini on Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Microsoft Announces Mobile Management Tool for iPhone, Android & More

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Enterprise IT, Microsoft, Microsoft Management Summit, Mobile, Monitoring, System Center Configuration Manager 2012

Believe it or not Microsoft held a conference last week that was devoted completely to device management. Dubbed the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS), Microsoft looked at many ways to manage the variety of devices in your organization. 

They described it as follows on the event web page:

“At MMS 2011, you’ll drill deep into IT management technologies and learn about the latest solutions for Desktop, Datacenter, Device and Cloud management from Microsoft.”

Now, you might expect since it’s Microsoft that this was exclusively devoted to managing Windows devices — whether PCs, tablets or mobile phones — but you would be wrong. In fact, Microsoft announced the Beta of a new monitoring tool that they claim enables you to track iOS devices (both iPhones and iPads). Symbian (that’s Nokia’s OS for now until they switch over Windows Phone 7 next year) and Android.

It also lets you watch your servers and clients (although presumably these are Windows only).

The tool, The System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (SCCM 2012), will supposedly enable IT pros to manage this variety of devices from a central console. According to a post by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft reporter  extrordinaire, on ZDNet, the new tool has been designed specifically to handle the so-called consumerization of IT, which has lead to the proliferation of a variety of mobile devices across the enterprise.

Microsoft released its second SCCM beta last week. From a monitoring stand-point, this is a big departure for Microsoft which typically confines its monitoring to Windows devices. While Foley suggests this undercuts Microsoft’s claim that Windows tablets are superior to iPads and Android tablets, I think it shows surprising foresight to acknowledge the breadth of the existing market and to provide a way to monitor all of the mobile devices in the organization.

Foley pointed out, however, in an update that the SCCM 2012 actually results in a weaker mobile reporting product in spite of the fact it’s supporting these additional devices. That’s because Foley’s colleague, Simon Bisson, reported that Microsoft has decided to moth ball the System Center Mobile Device Manager (SCMDM), which while supporting fewer devices than SCCM 2012, provided a more detailed view of those devices it supported.

Regardless, it show that with a Summit devoted entirely to monitoring, it is a critical part of IT’s job. Look for another post or two later this week on news from last week’s Summit.

Thinking About Early Warnings

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, IT, Monitoring, Prevention

The recent earthquakes in New Zealand got me thinking about early warnings. A CIO.com article suggested that computerized early-warning signals might help warn people of impending disasters like the one that happened in February. What do earthquakes have to do with IT? Well, you might need early warning systems too before disaster strikes your system. 

In the CIO.com article, researchers were talking about warnings measured in seconds, but suppose you had the power to stop your network disaster long before it happened? A good monitoring system can give you that power. It may not save lives as the earthquake systems have the potential to do, but it could save your company money and you and your colleagues loads of frustration and aggravation.

Earthquakes leave death and devastation in their wake. I don’t mean to equate human misery on that scale with a computer outage, yet when systems go down it still can affect many people depending on its scope. If a service like Gmail goes down it could have an impact on millions of people.

When your mission critical systems go down, it can have a profound impact on productivity and that translates into actual dollars and cents measured in hours of lost productivity. If your web site goes down and you rely it on for ecommerce purposes, you can equate it with actual lost dollars

Regardless of how you measure it or look at it, if you could prevent a systems disaster  most companies would do it. And when you have good measuring systems in place and tuned correctly to measure how well your systems are running, you have at least the potential to help troubleshoot and prevent long term outages on your system before they cause problems.

It is certainly not on the scale of an earthquake, but you can implement your own early warning systems before disaster strikes your systems.

Photo by Rhys’s Piece Is on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

VMware brings virtual machine monitoring to iPad

Tags: AppStore, BSM, Business Service Management, iPad, Monitoring, VMware, VMware vSphere, Windows Intune

VMware has introduced a new iPad app for IT professionals that enables you to monitor your virtual machines from the iPad. The vSphere Client app was approved and available in the Apple App Store as of March 18th.

This tool brings monitoring to mobile devices. While some tools like Windows Intune let you access the monitoring console from a mobile browser, VMware built an app from the ground up to give IT professionals access to the virtual machines they monitor from wherever they are from the iPad..

You can monitor performance, keep an eye on your host servers and all of the virtual machines associated with those servers in a visually attractive, easy-to-manipulate interface.

The way it works is you download the app, log into your VMware account and you get access to all of the servers under your watch. You click a server and you can see the all of the virtual machines running on it. It even provides little icons like Windows and Red Hat to let you know which virtual machines are running a particular operating system. You can see a shot of this screen below:

Once you have a server displayed you can put it in maintenance mode or even reboot it remotely from your iPad if need be.

Clicking on a particular virtual machine displays a screen with information about that virtual machine such as recent events, and each virtual machine has controls like the server that let you suspend, stop or restart it as needed.

What’s more you can see the amount of memory and CPU that the chosen virtual machine is using from the server as a whole.

We like to show many examples of different types of monitoring on this blog, and this new tool from VMware brings virtual machine monitoring to a new level. It might not be as comprehensive as the tools you have access from your PC, but it provides a lot of good information to help you manage and understand your virtual machine environment from an iPad and from a monitoring perspective, that’s pretty exciting stuff.

Screenshot courtesy of VMware.

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Monitoring the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Tags: BSM, Disasters, Monitoring

The speed at which the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last Friday, and the devastation they left in their wake was shocking and horrific. Technology and how we use it, without a doubt seems insignificant against such a back-drop, yet it’s worth mentioning there were monitors in place during this horrible event and they played a key role in early warnings for other countries, and for building our body of knowledge ahead of future earthquakes and tsunamis.

Wayne Rash writing in eWeek described the Tsunami monitoring system located throughout the Pacific Rim. He explained that there are two types of monitors, buoys that record tsunami activity as it rolls over them and another set of monitors attached to piers and other coastal structures that Rash explained measures the severity of the Tsunami as it begins to hit shore. He describes it as follows:

Each of these buoys, located mostly around the highly seismically active Pacific Rim (also known as the “Ring of Fire”), reports the signs of a tsunami as it passes. Once this data is gathered and processed at the tsunami-warning centers in Hawaii and elsewhere, it delivers a nearly instantaneous, real-time picture of the speed, direction and severity of a tsunami.

As the waves arrive, they trigger a device called a tide station. These perform a similar function to the DART buoys, but they are attached to piers and other coastal structures, and measure the actual severity of the tsunamis as they arrive from the open ocean.

You can see from this video (which was likely generated using this monitoring equipment) just how much of the Pacific basin was affected:
In the end, the fact that monitoring was in place might have helped in some small way, as the tsunami rushed across the ocean and gave coastal authorities a warning, they might not have otherwise had. While monitors couldn’t stop the waves, they could at least do their job and provide warnings and data to build a higher level of scientific understanding for the future.

Too Many Systems, Not Enough Vision

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, IT

Once upon time, you tended to side with a single vendor. You were an IBM shop or a Microsoft shop. Those days have disappeared for most organizations. Heterogeneity rules the day and it complicates the life of any IT pro. 

When you take the diverse set of hardware and software found in any large enterprise today and you factor in the cloud with a set of virtual services and external cloud vendors, it complicates the situation even further. And it begs the question about how you control it and get a broad view across the entire spectrum of hardware and software inside and outside your organization.

There are no simple answers to monitoring an increasingly complex computing environment, but a recent article on ITBusinessEdge called A Growing Problem: Data Management on the Cloud suggests there is a way to gain some semblance of control of this situation. And that is the subject of this blog: Business Service Management tools.

The article quotes,  Vikas Aggarwal, CEO at Zyrion, who calls BSM, “the ideal approach for addressing the rapidly growing cloud manageability issues.”

That’s because BSM tools at their best give you the ability to look across the entire environment, to see what’s working and what’s not, but it’s not just simply what’s on and what’s not. A good BSM system gives you insight across the business and the impact it has on what you do.

And it’s not just the fact that you are in the cloud that’s the issue. It’s so much more than that. You are spread across geographies. You are physical and virtual. You have a set of services you provide and all of the components that make up that service have to be in sync.

No tool is a panacea to the problems that face IT, but one way to get on top of the situation is to have a broad view across your computing landscape, whatever it comprises and wherever it lives and BSM, at least gives you a fighting chance to see the big picture.

Photo by ny156uk on Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Box.net Funding Signals Change in Enterprise IT

Tags: box.net, BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, collaboration, Enterprise IT

Box.net, the plucky online and storage and collaboration play got a $48 million boost from venture capitalists recently. If you’re wondering why you should care, it’s because it shows that the VCs are backing the Box approach to software and that could have big implications for you moving forward in terms of enterprise software.

Box CEO Aaron Levie has never been shy about his disdain for the way enterprise software is sold or how difficult it is to use. In his view, enterprise software should be as simple to use as consumer software and for too long it’s been the opposite. He wrote on a blog post announcing the funding:

The world of enterprise information technology is changing dramatically. Prohibitive pricing models, inflexible infrastructure, and lack of end-user satisfaction are all unsustainable in today’s business environment

If you’re an IT Pro, that description has to sound familiar. Most enterprise software is expensive, difficult to maintain and end users generally don’t love their applications. Levie’s company is hoping to change the way enterprise software works by providing storage, collaboration and file sharing tools that are simple to use and maintain. Box does this in a couple of ways.

First of all it’s a cloud-based system. That means that all of the software elements are updated on the back end and as administrators you aren’t stuck trying to distribute every patch that comes down the pike to your end users. In addition, Box updates and changes the software on a regular basis. You get updates sometimes on weekly basis instead of a two or three year cycle.

Second of all, there are mobile pieces in place, so you can get your files any time and any place. Just last week Box released an upgrade to the iOS version of Box that provided some key enterprise pieces including document-level password protection and SSO login ability to access enterprise identity systems.

Box files sync across the system automatically, so no matter where you access your files, you get the most recent versions. Box also uses a freemium model to build interest from the ground up. Box’s formula is to let end users come to IT and tell them about the service, rather than the other way around. After they get the first wave hooked, they attempt to get the company to sign up for the paying version.

With today’s $48 million boost, Box should be able to build out its cloud infrastructure even further providing the foundation for an enterprise-class cloud-based system. And you should care because it shows that Levie and his company might be onto something and you need to understand what this means and how you can monitor and work with companies like Box in the future world of enterprise software.

Photo by Alexyv on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Microsoft Shows Off Cloud Monitor Prototype at CeBIT

Tags: BSM, Business, Business Service Management, Cloud Computing, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows, Personal computer, Servers, Windows Intune

Microsoft seems to be paying attention to the Business Service Management (BSM) space, at least in its own way.  At the recent CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany, Microsoft unveiled a new PC monitoring tool called Windows Intune, and they also displayed the prototype of a new cloud monitoring system they are calling Microsoft Dynamic IT.

Microsoft Dynamic IT

Designed in Microsoft Silverlight, the tool is visually appealing and they displayed it on a huge LCD screen giving it Mission Control feel. Instead of monitoring PCs as with the Windows Intune product, it gives you insight into the overall health of the servers running your cloud services.

If everything is running smoothly, a green check mark appears next to the server name, but if there is a problem a red X appears letting you know there could be an issue that requires your attention. The prototype was connected to three servers located somewhere in Microsoft’s vast booth. A picture of the main control panel is shown below:

Microsoft Cloud Monitor
As administrator, should you encounter a problem,  you can drill down into the server in question, as you can with Windows Intune, discover the nature of the problem and take action to fix it. In the example shown below, the Redmond server needed a patch installed.

Monitoring tools like BSM of course give you a much more comprehensive view of your systems, but this type of tool proves that monitoring in general is becoming a key task for IT, and that having these types of tools in place will become increasingly important moving forward.

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Microsoft Intune Moves Monitoring to the Mainstream

Tags: BSM, Business, Business Service Management, Cloud Computing, Microsoft, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft Windows, Personal computer, Windows Intune

Windows Intune

This week at the CeBIT technology fair in Hannover, Germany;  Microsoft was showing off Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC monitoring tool that lets IT pros monitor the health of all the Window PCs in their charge from a simple Web-based interface. What’s interesting about it from a BSM standpoint, is that it brings monitoring of this sort into the mainstream.

The system has a series of tools to enable administrators to see problems at glance, whether it’s a malware infestation or a PC that needs a patch. The administrator can troubleshoot problems by drilling down to the PC in question and going so far as seeing all the software installed, whether it’s from Microsoft or another vendor.

The system uses the same anti-virus engine found in Microsoft Security Essentials, the free anti-virus program available from Microsoft for consumers.

If you’re an administrator, once you see a problem, you can fix it on a single machine, a group of machines (which you can define by type, department or any organization you wish). You can even apply a patch to a test bed if you have defined one to test it before deploying.

Because it’s cloud-based, users don’t need to be attached to the network to receive a patch or remove a virus. If your CEO runs into a problem on the road, you can fix it from the Console and any patches or fixes are downloaded to the monitored machine.

While Microsoft hasn’t developed a mobile application to work in conjunction with Intune, you can configure it to receive an email whenever a crisis happens, and you can define what constitutes a crisis, so that you don’t receive email for every little problem reported by the system.

From the email  notification, you can view the console in your mobile phone’s browser.

The product will be available starting on March 23rd and cost $11 per PC per month with volume discounts, depending on the number of PCs you are monitoring.

While this tool doesn’t have the sophistication of a full-scale Business Service Management console, it shows that there is a desire for this type of monitoring on a broad level, and it puts monitoring within reach of even small businesses (although Microsoft doesn’t see this as being limited to the SMB market by any means).

Top Considerations for Moving to a Cloud-based ITSM Deliv Model-BMC Comms

Tags: BMC Communities, BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, IT Management Tools, SaaS, Transformation

The Hub Commentary

SaaS is a delivery model and all services delivered by IT need to be categorized for their cost and value to the organization and the then the delivery model mapped to the service.  Highly custom, competitive advantage, differentiating services are not well suited for outsourced or SaaS delivery models.

Those services that are not unique to your organization and less integrated are very well suited for SaaS and outsourcing.  While you are likely offering a premium service to your organization, it is not necessary and outsourcing is just the ticket to standards and right sizing the service.

Many IT organizations hang on to the commodity because they have resources that can do it.  Just because they can do it, doesn’t mean they should do it.  Use your expensive in-house resources for the mission critical, unique, revenue driving services and shift the routine, commodity out of house.

ITSM and monitoring has often been something that could be offered as a service removing the infrastructure and the requirement for you to maintain resources that have knowledge of monitoring tools rather than you mission critical services.  We are fast approaching the day where much of the management is commodity and should be outsourced.

Are you right sourcing your IT management?



Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is more than just a cloud-based delivery model. It is a service approach that IT organizations are considering for meeting their IT service management needs. With a SaaS model, IT organizations can focus their staff and infrastructure on high-priority activities and initiatives while still enjoying access to IT service management productivity solutions.  Read more