Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Stefan Bernbo, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Reining in Enterprise IT Management Costs

Reducing support costs is a key goal of CIOs

Simplifying IT administration is a goal for CIOs to reduce manual intervention while running day-to-day operations with the primary goal of reducing the percentage of their IT budgets spent on maintenance. The IT management costs of web companies like Google and Facebook (which cater to tens of millions of users) are extremely low when compared to the size of their infrastructures. A huge advantage they and other super-efficient companies share is gained by 1) a mostly virtualized compute workloads 2) very little legacy infrastructure and 3) most applications written to follow common patterns optimized to take full advantage of virtualized resources. Having learned from managing compute infrastructures, these companies have extended this best practice to managing storage and network resources, too.

A number of enterprises are adopting cloud infrastructures with the aim of replicating similar efficiencies in their own IT departments. The challenge these organizations face is that they are hobbled by supporting legacy systems that must co-exist with new cloud architectures. Traditional approaches to IT management require IT operators and administrators to navigate among multiple systems and agents to collect and analyze information necessary to maintain high availability and performance. Most of the IT management products enterprises use do not offer integrated capabilities to manage these new environments.

Consider as an example the enterprise challenge that has arisen from recent major changes to retail businesses. Using a multi-channel approach by combining online properties, stores and mobile devices is crucial to improving customer experience while also increasing revenues. This approach requires use of composite applications combining various components of an IT environment, including supply chain, web-to-store integration and order management. Managing this environment that combines traditional IT with virtualized and cloud infrastructure brings up new challenges to IT operations.

For an integrated enterprise IT environment, IT management tools should provide optimal detection, management and fix of problems as follows:

  1. Detection: Before end-users even observe problems, IT management tools should generate alerts. These alerts could include applications that cross a warning threshold for response times or transactions speeds that drop below a limit. Notified of anomalies, IT operations personnel can take steps to manage the process of fixing the components causing these problems.
  1. Management: After getting alerts, IT Operations have enough information to review traditional IT, virtualized and cloud resources together. They can leverage a consolidated IT Management tool to view the entire infrastructure through a "single pane of glass." Operational analysts are able to drill down into various components of the entire IT infrastructure, including tracking transactions, application servers, ERP applications and end-user experiences. This allows them to look into the health of traditional IT and cloud applications to identify components that need to be fixed.
  1. Fix: Once the components causing the problem are identified, the revised parameters should be recorded on the Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB) through the same interface. A provisioning tool should be leveraged to create patterns of composite applications targeted to be deployed to virtualized hardware and supported hypervisors. The updated parameters are then recorded and stored in CCMDB, forming the basis of future deployments.

Similar detect/manage/fix activities could be followed for network and storage resources. Particularly critical to the success of these strategies are the insight into end user experience and the capability to automatically respond with capacity, availability and performance management.

As businesses change to adopt cloud computing solutions, enterprise IT support operations are increasingly challenged to handle more complex environments. Managing an integrated IT environment requires a single solution with visibility into application performance. The combination of technologies demands that solutions work across multiple environments to pull together diverse applications and data. This kind of insight enables management of cloud, virtualized and hybrid environments that run side by side with traditional IT environments. It is important to take the right approach so that business change is not hobbled by an inflexible IT infrastructure. Matching appropriate technology solutions to increasingly complex business challenges allows an optimum business outcome.

Several products exist in this space to assist enterprise customers including: CA, Compuware, HP and IBM. I have reviewed several from IBM including SmartCloud Application Performance Management, SmartCloud Monitoring, SmartCloud Control Desk, SmartCloud Provisioning, IBM Netcool Network Management and SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center. While each has unique strengths, the integration of these products is what really allows IBM to offer customers highly differentiated solutions for effectively managing new IT environments.

While enterprise customers have several goals for 2013, managing integrated environments should be high on the priority list. Choosing the appropriate vendor with an appropriate integrated portfolio is important to meet enterprise goals of managing infrastructures with the efficiencies of Google or Facebook. One vendor whose solutions are well worth considering in this regard is IBM.

Disclaimer:  IBM is one of my customers.

This post was first published on Robustcloud.com. Republished with permission.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

@CloudExpo Stories
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
"We are a custom software development, engineering firm. We specialize in cloud applications from helping customers that have on-premise applications migrating to the cloud, to helping customers design brand new apps in the cloud. And we specialize in mobile apps," explained Peter Di Stefano, Vice President of Marketing at Impiger Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
"Qosmos has launched L7Viewer, a network traffic analysis tool, so it analyzes all the traffic between the virtual machine and the data center and the virtual machine and the external world," stated Sebastien Synold, Product Line Manager at Qosmos, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
President Obama recently announced the launch of a new national awareness campaign to "encourage more Americans to move beyond passwords – adding an extra layer of security like a fingerprint or codes sent to your cellphone." The shift from single passwords to multi-factor authentication couldn’t be timelier or more strategic. This session will focus on why passwords alone are no longer effective, and why the time to act is now. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Chris Webber, security strateg...
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, provideed economic scenarios that describe how the rapid adoption of software-defined everything including cloud services, SDDC and open networking will change GDP, industry growth, productivity and jobs. This session also included a drill down for several industries such as finance, social media, cloud service providers and pharmaceuticals.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...