Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Stefan Bernbo, Michel Courtoy, Amitabh Sinha, Mike Wood, Liz McMillan

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
Managing mission-critical SAP systems and landscapes has never been easy. Add public cloud with its myriad of powerful cloud native services and this may not change any time soon. Public cloud offers exciting new possibilities for enterprise workloads. But to make use of these possibilities and capabilities, IT teams need to re-think everything they have done before. Otherwise, they will just end up using public cloud as a hosting platform for their workloads, aka known as “lift and shift.”
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
"Tintri focuses on the Ops side of the DevOps, which basically is pushing more and more of the accessibility of the infrastructure to the developers and trying to get behind the scenes," explained Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...