Business Service Management (BAC/BSM/APM/NNM)
More than everything monitoring, BSM provides the means to determine how IT impacts the bottom line. Its purpose and main benefit is to ensure that IT Operations are able to reactively and proactively determine where they should be spending their time to best impact the business. This covers event management to solve immediate issues, resource allocation and through reporting performance based on the data of applications, infrastructure, networks and from third-party platforms. BSM includes powerful analytics that gives IT the means to prepare, predict and pinpoint by learning behavior and analyzing IT data forward and backwards in time using Big Data Analytics applied to IT Operations.

Australias largest superannuation administrators achieve amazing ROI with HP's Application Performance Management Solution (BAC)

Last week,I saw this article from a online AUstrialian IT newspaper, and I was amazed to see so many tangible improvement and ROI metrics realized by a company called SuperPartners, who is one of the largest superannuation administratos in Australia, while using our Application Performance Management solution ( End user management (RUM/BPM), Diagnostics, Sitescope) .


SuperPartners services 6.1 million member accounts and 687,000 employee accounts and has more than $68 billion in funds under administration!


Some of the key lines from the article which really stuck me include: For three years running, Superpartners' systems have had an average uptime of 99.7 per cent. Three years ago the figure was 97 per cent. One of the main benefits has been reduced incidents. Between 2005 and 2008, Superpartners experienced a 65 per cent reduction in "severity one" incidents. In 2008 alone, it achieved a 73 per cent reduction in support queues.  They said that Superpartners was expected to begin achieving return on its investment within 15 months, and to have 58 per cent ROI after three years.


If you are interested in reading the whole article, please check out:


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/it-business/hands-free-monitoring-cuts-superfund-glitches/story-e6frganx-1225828007689


 Thanks


Aruna Ravichandran
Sr. Manager, Business Availability Center Product Marketing
aru@hp.com

HP and Microsoft, how does this help me manage my IT environment?

by Michael Procopio



 HP and Microsoft recently made a joint announcement, saying they intend to invest $250 million over the next three years to significantly simplify technology environments for customers.


 It included many parts of the HP Enterprise Business products. But, what does this really mean to customers who use HP Software & Solutions products?


This was a huge announcement in terms of the number of different parts. The clearest write-up I have seen covering the whole announcement is on a TechNet blog.


Indeed, a portion of this announcement was to say ‘these two companies are writing a $250M check to fund additional R&D on joint solutions.’ I’m guessing that means some smart folks got together and realized that expanding the long-standing relationship between the two companies would have an extremely positive impact for customers.


I have seen a number of blog posts that don’t seem to ‘get’ the value in the announcement. However, Jim Frey, in aNetwork World blog post, seems to understand what we are trying to accomplish. He wrote:


“The result could just be the most complete story for Cloud that we have seen to date. It includes hypervisor technology that IBM does not. It addresses the application software that VCE does not. And, it includes the infrastructure technologies that Oracle does not.”


So here’s what I think the announcement means to HP Software & Solutions customers.


In a sentence


HP and Microsoft are working together to make infrastructure management and application management better—whether it is physical or virtual (including Hyper-V) with new integrations between software products.


Details


1/ HP Business Service Management (BSM) will collaborate with HP Insight Software (from HP’s Enterprise Server group) and Microsoft (System Center) to provide integrated and interoperable virtualization and management solutions to reduce complexity in the datacenter.


Note: HP Insight Software provides hardware level and remote management for HP hardware. It also provides control of your Windows, HP-UX, Linux, OpenVMS and NonStop environments.


It means: if you have a multi-OS/hypervisor environment, including Windows you get an integrated solution to monitor and manage your servers.


2/ HP will work with Microsoft to provide bi-directional integrations between HP Business Service Management and Microsoft System Center for enterprise systems and application monitoring. 


It means: if you have a multi-OS/hypervisor environment, including Windows you get a heterogeneous solution to monitor and manage servers, the software on them and end-user performance. HP Software has HP Operation Manager including HP SiteScope for server management and HP BPM and HP RUM modules of HP BAC for end user management.


3/ In addition, we will develop bi-directional integrations between HP Business Service Automation (BSA) and Microsoft System Center for OS, application provisioning and compliance management.


It means: if you have a multi-OS/hypervisor environment, including Windows you get a heterogeneous solution for configuration and compliance (checks that servers are configured per your policies) management.


4/ For the SMB market (defined as customers with 50 servers or less), there will be “Virtualization Smart bundles” with prepackaged elements of HP Operation Center.


It means: Virtualization solutions are easier to buy and deploy since it is in one bundled package. There is a separate document on “Virtualization Smart bundles.”


Related Items:



 


Get the latest updates on our Twitter feed @HPITOps http://twitter.com/HPITOps


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group on LinkedIn.



 



 

Announcing the new HP Saas Portal

We are excited to announce the launch of the exciting new HP SaaS Portal at http://saas.hp.com  !!!


The new streamlined interface gives you new visibility into a range of products and solutions offered by HP Software in the SaaS delivery model.



On the Saas Portal, you will find rich collateral which will help you understand the our rich Saas offerings. You will find




  • Product Pages: Each product page has the wealth of material about its delivery in SaaS environment, white papers, webinars and Solution Briefs.


  • HP SaaS eBookhttps://saas.hp.com/site/portal/ebooks/hpsaas/index.html

  • Trials: We’ve simplified our trial registration to provide you with an easier way to register for trials.

  • News and Events: We have created a space to share the latest news from HP Software and Services with HP SaaS community.



At a time when IT budgets and resources are stretched, it’s easy to perceive that the monitoring of business applications is not mission critical. However, performance and availability monitoring tools systemize KPIs through the use of scorecards and dashboards, which enable business owners to align IT performance to business outcomes. This alignment is indeed critical to an organization’s ability to sustain and grow their business.



There exists a false perception that this monitoring requires significant investment in money and resources with an often delayed-time-to-value.  With HP Software-as-a-Service you can achieve your application performance monitoring goals without the business risk of a perpetual capital investment. HP SaaS is responsible for the entire software lifecycle so implementation risks are greatly reduced which enables your IT resources to focus on their core competencies. Start gaining immediate value and adoption from HP SaaS!



To learn more about our performance and availability offering, please visit us at http://hp.com/go/bac



To read more about the benefits you stand to gain from the HP SaaS Application Performance Management (APM) offering, please visit us at: https://saas.hp.com/site/html/bac.mss   



We have much more planned for SaaS Portal. We’ll keep you posted as these developments are launched on the site. In the meantime, please feel free to provide us feedback through the site feedback link.



Thanks,


Aruna Ravichandran
Group Product Marketing Manager,
Business Availability Center (Application Performance Management)


aru@hp.com

HP Software Universe 2009 Hamburg Day 2

by Michael Procopio


Just over 3200 attendees at the show this year.


Each of the last eight years at the European Universe, Ulrich Pfeiffer, CTO for IT Management in EMEA creates a Live in Action demo showcasing the fictitious Full Throttle Company (FTC) on mainstage. Live in Action is a demonstration of HP Software integrated into a complete solution.


 



Ulrich Pfeiffer


 


This year, the Live in Action team recalled Hamburg of the early 1960s when this German city gave the Beatles a start before the group became a mainstream sensation. The demo featured the HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (“POD”), a datacenter in a container, along with music by the re-Beatles band and an on-stage yellow submarine in a disaster recovery scenario involving a flooded datacenter.


The POD is a standard container completely fitted with servers, storage and HVAC. You can see the POD demo here.


BTO (Business Technology Optimization) solutions demoed live on stage showed capabilities in three areas: 1) business and disaster recovery; 2) service recovery and web security; and 3) business improvements to avoid service disruptions and enhance capacity via virtualization management.


Disaster recovery highlighted HP Operations Orchestration configuring the POD to the state of the original datacenter.


Web security started with finding the problem using End User Monitoring, HP SiteScope and HP Problem Isolation. The problem was a hacked web site. The knowledge base in HP Service Manager (SM) which was populated during QA testing by HP Quality Center has the solution to the problem.   QA had not originally done security testing on every release but it is now added to their plan in HP Quality Center (QC) to run HP Security Center.


HP WebInspect, was run directly from SM. The test failed and WebInspect automatically created a ticket in SM for the QA team.  Once the QC test passes the SM ticket is automatically closed.


The website having the problem was supporting a reseller using a configuration utility to order Snowmobiles, a new business line for FTC. When Ulrich, playing CIO for FTC, called the reseller to tell him service was restored the reseller claimed his SLA (Service Level Agreement) was violated and would not pay. Ulrich brought up HP Service Level Manager to show that while any further downtime would violate the SLA, it was currently in tact.


Now that the problems is solved the infrastructure manager looks to see how the failure happened and what can be done to prevent it in the future.


They review the infrastructure using HP Asset Manager and Operations Manager Virtualization Smart Plug-in, both now running on Linux. The CIO wants this Virtualization data to show up in his 360 degree dashboard and it does.


It is much more fun to watch and it was video recorded which will be up after the holidays.


Related items:



 

BAC 8.03 release - what's new

by Michael Procopio


Release Highlights






  • Service Level Management (SLM) enhancements:






    • SLM now enables customization of the First day of month setting which is used in calculating agreements.




    • A new business rule, EMS Events Availability, calculates status for the System Availability KPI assigned to an EMS Monitor CI. This enables you to include EMS events as part of the SLM calculation.






  • Platform enhancements:






    • Update of Java Runtime Environment running on Business Availability Center servers to JRE 1.5.0_18




    • Mutual authentication: Users can set up authentication for both the Discovery and Dependency Mapping (DDM) Probe and Business Availability Center running an embedded UCMDB, with certificates. The certificate for each side is sent and authenticated before the connection is established.






  • Real User Monitor Engine enhancements:






    • Support for Oracle Forms NCA version 10g






  • System Availability Management enhancement:






    • Added the ability to control the location of the ellipsis ("...") used in long labels in System Availability Management Reports. This enables you to move the ellipsis from the end to the middle of the label.






  • Dashboard enhancement:






    • Added the ability to drill down from Dashboard to the Event Log report from Windows and UNIX CIs.






  • TransactionVision enhancement:






    • Support for LW-SSO 2.2 has been added to the UI/Job Server.




    • Database Admin privileges are no longer required to set up a database for use with TransactionVision.





    For Business Availability Center, Michael Procopio


    Get the latest updates on our Twitter feed @HPITOps http://twitter.com/HPITOps


    Join the HP Software group on LinkedIn and/or the Business Availability Center group on LinkedIn.


     




RUM the Real User Experience Manager

by Michael Procopio


RUM or Real User Monitor is a tool to monitor actual user traffic running over your network.


Its part of our EUM or end user management suite. In the area of EUM there are two primary ways to monitor 1/ synthetic, which is covered by BPM or Business Process Monitor and 2/ real user monitoring.


Each has its place in a monitoring strategy. BPM is good for making sure things are up 24x7, even when no users are using your applications. Real user monitoring can give you information down to the specific user.


When I first moved over to BAC group and heard about RUM, I was impressed. One of the things it can do is replicate a users web session click by click. This allows someone troubleshooting a problem to see exactly what happened and what the error message was the user saw – no guessing. (sensitive data like passwords and credit cards are filtered out in memory before writing to a disk). Further, if you do find a problem it can turn the session into a script that can be passed to the QA team to replicate the problem, if they are using LoadRunner.


How does it work? It starts by capturing packets as they go over the network. This is done by a RUM Probe, which is software that runs on a dedicated piece of x86 hardware (typically). The Probe passes the relevant data to the RUM engine.


The RUM engine stores the data and key performance metrics are aggregated before being sent up to BAC for reporting and alerting. For example, an alert might be round trip time for the Savings Deposit transaction is taking too long. Here are some of the reports RUM provides:



  • Global Statistics

  • Page Summary

  • Transaction Summary

  • End User Summary

  • End User Over Time

  • Server Over Time

  • Session Analyzer

  • TCP Application Summary

  • TCP Application Over Time

  • Event Summary

  • Business Process Distribution



Figure: Example RUM deployment configuration


Originally RUM strictly focused on HTTP/S traffic. But a while back support was expanded to due general tracking of TCP traffic, both streaming and non-streaming. In more recent releases additional upper level protocol analysis has been added. Beyond HTTP/S current support includes:



  • XML/SOAP

  • Siebel

  • WebSphere

  • MPLS


Related Items:



For Business Availability Center, Michael Procopio


Get the latest updates on our Twitter feed @HPITOps http://twitter.com/HPITOps


Join the HP Software group on LinkedIn and/or the Business Availability Center group on LinkedIn.


 

Fighting or friendly, Problem Isolation and OMi

by Michael Procopio


In the post  Event Correlation OMi TBEC and Problem Isolation What's the Difference, my fellow blogger, Jon Haworth, discussed the differences between TBEC and Problem Isolation. To be consistent, I'll use the acronyms PI for Problem Isolation and TBEC to refer to OMi (Operations Manager i series) Topology Based Event Correlation.


Briefly, he mentioned that TBEC works “bottom up”, that is starting from the infrastructure, with events. PI works “top down”, that is, starting from an end user experience problem, primarily with metric (time series) data.


Jon did an excellent job describing TBEC; I’ll do my best on PI because like Jon I have a conscience to settle.


Problem Isolation is a tool to:


1. automate the steps a troubleshooter would go through


2. run additional tests that might uncover the problem


3. look at all metric/performance data from the end user experience monitoring and all the infrastructure it depends


4. find the infrastructure metric the most closely matches the end user problem using behavior learning and regression analysis techniques (developed by HP Labs)


5. bring additional data such as events, help/service desk tickets and changes to the troubleshooter


6. allow the troubleshooter to execute Run books to potentially solve the problem


Potentially the biggest difference in the underlying technology is that Problem Isolation does not require any correlation rules or thresholds to be set for it to do the regression analysis to point to the problem. Like TBEC, it does require that an application be modeled in a CMDB.


An example: Presume a situation with a typical composite application - web server, application server and database. No infrastructure thresholds were violated; therefore, there are no infrastructure alerts. Again, as mentioned in the previous post, end user monitoring (EUM) is the back stop. EUM alerts on slow end user performance, now what?


Here is what Problem Isolation does:


1. determines which infrastructure elements (ITIL configurations items or CIs) support the transaction


2. reruns the test(s) that caused the alert – this validates it is not transient problem


3. runs any additional tests defined for the CIs


4. collects Service Level Agreement information


5. collects all available infrastructure performance metrics (web server, application server, database server and operating systems for each) and compares them to the EUM data using behavior and regression analysis



Problem Isolation screen show performance correlation between end user response and SQL Server database locks


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


6. determines and displays the most probable suspect CI and alternates


7. displays run books available for all infrastructure CIs for the PI user to run directly from the tool


8. allows the PI user to attach all the information to a service ticket, either existing or create a new one


Another key differentiator of OMi/TBEC and PI is the target user. There is such a wide variance in how organizations work that it is hard to name the role but let me do a brief description and I think will be able to determine the title in your organization.


There are some folks in the organization whose job is to take a quick look (typically < 10 minutes, in one organization I interviewed < 1 minute) at a situation and determine if they have explicit instructions on what to do via scripts or run books. When they have no instructions for a situation they pass it on to someone who has a bit more experience and does some free form triage.


This person might be able to fix the problem or may have to pass it on to a subject matter expert, for example if they believe it is an MS Exchange problem to an Exchange admin. It is this second person that Problem Isolation is targeted at. This is helping automate her job, reducing what might take tens of minutes to hours and performing it in seconds. If it ends up she can’t solve the problem it automatically provides full documentation of all information collected. That alone might take someone five minutes to write-up.


OMi’s target is the operations bridge console user. Ops Bridge operators tend to be lower skilled and face hundreds if not thousands of events per hour. Jon described how OMi helps them work smarter.


TBEC and Problem Isolation both work to find the root cause of an incident but in different ways. Much like a doctor might use an MRI or CAT scan to diagnose a patient based on what the situation is, TBEC and Problem Isolation are complementary tools each with unique capabilities.


Problem Isolation will not find problems in redundant infrastructure that OMi will. Conversely, OMi can’t help with EUM problems when no events are triggered, where Problem Isolation will.


We know this can be a confusing area. We welcome your questions to help us do a better job of describing the difference. But these two are definitely friendly.


For Business Availability Center, Michael Procopio


Get the latest updates on our Twitter feed @HPITOps http://twitter.com/HPITOps


Join the HP Software group on LinkedIn and/or the Business Availability Center group on LinkedIn.


Related Items



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  3. Problem Isolation page

  4. Operations Manager i page

Webinar - "The Cloud and Your Applications: What is the Impact on Application Management"

 


Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009


Time: 11 am Pacific / 2 pm Eastern / 7:00 pm GMT Daylight Time


Are your applications doing what they are supposed to be doing? Cloud computing, tiered applications, Software as a Service (SaaS) – all add complexity and make that question more difficult to answer.

Customers are finding more business service problems. The result: customer satisfaction and retention is at risk. The good news is that despite declining budgets, you can reduce downtime, increase service levels, and improve user experience quality. 

Hear EMA Research Director Julie Craig share the early results of a recent market research survey.  You’ll also hear from HP Product Marketing Manager Amy Feldman, who will share customer best practices and success stories.


Register at http://www.enterprisemanagement.com/research/asset.php?id=1506



Related Items: 





HP Software Universe - day 1

by Michael Procopio


 


Today was the first day of Software Universe. I had customer meetings all day today. Here are some interesting items from my conversations.



  1. Most said budgets were down in 2009 and will be flat to down in 2010. But a few who were related to government stimulus said theirs will be up.

  2. Co-sourcing and outsourcing continue as ways to reduce costs

  3. A few were focusing on asset management with the express purpose of getting rid of things in the environment they don’t need anymore. They know they are out there but they need to find them first.

  4. Most customers I spoke to said they keep aggregated performance data for 2 years the range was 18 months to 5 years.

  5. There was an interesting discussion about the definition of a business service versus an IT service. The point being made was a business service by definition involves more than IT. While I agree this is a good point, I think the IT industry has focused on business service as a way to say - “I’m thinking about this IT service in the context the business thinks about it not just from my own IT based perspective”

  6. A number of customers have or are about to implement NNMi. If this is something you are interested in check out the NNMi Portal

  7. Many customers are moving to virtualized environment highest percentage I heard was 70%. Another customer forces all internal developers to deliver software as a virtual image.

  8. Another topic was how to monitor out tasked items. For example, some part of what you offer is delivered by a third party - how do you make sure they are living up to your standards. Two methods I heard were 1/ use HP Business Process Monitor 2/ get the 3rd party to send you alerts from their monitoring system.

  9. On the question does your manager of managers send back data to sync the original tools 1 did, 1 didn’t. For the one who did it was part of a closed loop process.

    • Monitor tool finds problem send alert to MOM (Manager of managers).

    • MOM send event ID to monitoring tool

    • Subject matter expert uses monitoring tools to diagnose problem

    • Once diagnosed updates monitoring tool which updates MOM




A very productive day for me. I hope some of this is useful information to you.


For additional coverage my blogger buddy Pete Spielvogel is also here and beat me to the first post. You can read his posts at the ITOps Blog.


There are a variety of Twitter accounts you can follow as well as the hashtag #HPSU09


HPITOps – Covers BSM, Operations and Network Management


HPSU09 – show logistics and other information


HPSoftwareCTO


informationCTO


HPSoftware


BTOCMO – HP BTO Chief Marketing Officer 


 


For HP BSM, Michael Procopio

OpEx versus CapEx

Forrester just posted on how the recession is hitting capital budgets (CapEx) and that you should consider using operating expenses (OpEx) to purchase software (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=lcUS21765009).


About 18 months ago, we introduced one year term licenses on the Business Availability Center (application and business transaction management) software so that it is more likely to fit within OpEx budgets.


Mike Shaw.

BSM Evolution Paths: Financial Services Example

 


When two Fortune 500 companies merge the IT convergence can feel like two high speed trains on parallel tracks speeding toward a single-track tunnel. Not only is IT tasked with maintaining or increasing quality of service, but the CEO’s are quite impatient to quickly rationalize the IT operating expense equation of “1+1=1.25”. Maybe 1.50 if you have an extremely benevolent Board of Directors.


 


Unlike the Automotive Industry example posted earlier (BSM Evolution Paths: Auto Industry Sample), this Financial Services example has much less tops-down roadmap direction, and much more independent parallel paths. Let’s take a look at three of the key personas and evolutions within these parallel paths.


 


Data Center Operations Manager; Infrastructure Operations path:


 


The new Data Center Operations Manager (DCOM; reporting to VP of IT Ops) commissioned a tools architecture analysis. They inventoried their management tools and counted over 80 major “platforms” in the fault, performance and availability category alone!


 


The DCOM empowered a Global Software Management Architect to drive a “limited vendor” strategy to simplify and standardize the tool environment. Although there were many individual domain experts bent out of shape, this standardized environment limited the vendor touches, enabled renegotiated license/support contracts, concentrated tool expertise and resulted in improved quality of service.


 


The fault, performance and availability architecture was boiled down to three major vendors covering three broad categories (plus device specific element plug-ins):



  • System Infrastructure (Server, OS, Database, storage middleware, LAN feeds, etc.)

  • Network Services (WAN, LAN, advanced protocols, route analytics, etc.)

  • Enterprise Event (consolidated event console, correlation, filtering, root cause)

 


The DCOM could have pushed harder for a single vendor covering all three categories, but it was a matter of time-to-deploy pragmatism. A vendor could only be selected as category solution if the product was successfully deployed previously, and internal deployment expertise existed to lead the global implementation. This “survival of the fittest” approach did not necessarily drive the most elegant architecture, but it did speed deployment and limit risk.


 


Independent roadmaps and key integration capabilities were developed for each category to meet 6, 12, 18 and 24 month milestones.


 


CTO; Business Service Oversight path


 


Early on in the merger process, there was a power struggle to own the business service visibility and accountability solution. The VP of IT Operations wanted the tools, process and organizational power, but the Lines of Business insisted on a more independent group that would sit between IT Operations and the business-aligned Application Owners.


 


The Online Banking Group from one of the pre-merger divisions had successfully implemented a business service dashboard and Service Level Agreement reporting solution (based primarily on end-user experience monitoring). Using an “adopt and go” strategy, the CIO empowered the CTO to develop an end-to-end group and expand the solution to all six major business units.


 


This business unit expansion rolled out over 12-18 months and was successful, but limited to monitoring and reporting. Over the next 12 months, Application Owners, Line of Business CIO’s and VP of IT Operations all wanted to extend the business service monitoring to:



  1. Problem isolation, application diagnostics, and incident resolution

  2. In-depth transaction management of composite applications

 


Director Service Management; Enterprise CMDB path


 


The Director of Service Management, reporting to VP IT Ops, drove two major initiatives over the first 12 months of the merger.



  1. Consolidate to a single, global, follow-the-sun service desk

  2. Rationalize and standardize the request and incident management process

 


I could easily spend an entire blog post discussing the IT process convergence and standardization, but I refuse! Instead, I’ll focus on what happened in the 12 months following the service desk consolidation.


 


The Director of Service Management launched a CMDB RFP which was originally grounded in incident, problem and configuration management. The RFP touched off an enterprise-wide nerve, not to mention a flurry of vendor responses. The project quickly expanded, and changed focus to the “hotter” driver of change and (release) risk management, and how to drive all IT process from an enterprise service model.


 


Once the application owners got involved (from a change/release control perspective), and the infrastructure operations got involved (from a change and performance/availability perspective), and the CTO got involved (from a business service reporting and accountability rperspective) all of a sudden incident management took a back seat in the decision process.


 


In the end, a service discovery, dependency mapping and change/release management solution was selected that was a different vendor all together from the incumbent service desk solution.


 


An interesting journey… so far


 


The three paths described above are clearly a small subset of the overall work done for this corporate merger, but hopefully gives a glimpse into the BSM evolution dynamics. By all accounts, this company has been successful in their journey; you may be interested to know that this financial services company is not participating in the government bail-out program.


 


The lack of a tops-down “enterprise IT transformation” roadmap did not hinder their progress… in fact some will argue it enable their progress! You can observe, however, that at the end of each path there is a drive towards further integration and cross-IT dependence. It will be interesting to watch this company, and see how their approach evolves as they continue down the intersecting evolution paths.


 


Bryan Dean, BSM Research

Prediction BSM Evolution

I usually do not like making public predictions because I hate being wrong. But I was discussing my last blog post (Business Service Visibility & Accountability: Where is it Homed?) with a colleague and he pressed me for my prediction of where I thought this function will eventually live in the organization. Maybe more of you have the same question, so in this post I will lay out what I believe is the compelling evidence… and I might even make a prediction.


Let’s take a quick look some of the key evidence or clues:


 


CIO role continues to shift


This has been researched to death, but is still true. CIO’s are spending more time on business innovation and less time on production IT operations. The range of issues that CIO’s drive and influence is staggering. Does this mean they don’t care about production operations and business service accountability? No, they care greatly; it is just that most CIO’s have learned that having a top-notch, empowered VP of IT Operations is the only way to be a proactive CIO.


 


Application owners want to focus on development


My previous post looked historically at application owners and line of business CIO’s buying their own business service visibility and accountability tools because the pressure they felt from the business. This did happened and continues to happen in many organizations, but research shows that after a couple years of owning, architecting and maintaining these tools the application owners realize that production management tools takes valuable time away from their primary goals.


 


They are primarily goaled to get new functionality out the door that meets business requirements for function, quality, performance and security. It is still vitally important to the Application Owners to maintain visibility and accountability once their applications are in production. They will continue to be a catalyst in purchasing performance tools, and providing the intellectual property for rules, thresholds and reporting metrics. But ownership of the tools, configuration, vendor management and ongoing maintenance of the tools is clearly shifting to the production operations teams.


 


Line of Business CIO’s don’t own enough


Line of business CIO’s love to have business visibility and accountability tools in their hot hands, but they also recognize the issues of owning tools without owning the IT infrastructure. Security access and rights is a constant issue for them. Management process and tool architecture is also becoming a more standardized, centralized function that the line of business IT participates strongly in, but really is not in a position to own.


 


Successful customers adding problem resolution


Something I have observed in customers, who have successfully implemented a business service visibility and accountability solution, is that the next step in their evolution is to tie issue visibility to issue diagnostics and resolution. They find it is wonderful that they now have a business relevant way to measure IT service performance, but their constituents quickly move to, “Ok, now fix it when it breaks”.


 


Nobody in IT will be shocked to hear business takes a, “what have you done for me lately”, stance. So, the tool owners now find themselves sorting through how to integrate into the established event, incident and problem management processes. Depending on where they sit organizationally, this can be a painful yet necessary adjustment when trying to improve efficiency and time to diagnose/repair.


 


VP of IT Operations taking on end-to-end responsibilities


Seven years ago we conducted an extensive ITSM customer research project. At that time, there were a large number of CIO’s and industry pundits who had taken on the mantra, “Run IT like a business”. IT consolidation, adoption of ITIL process standards, organization alignment and tool deployment were all solid benefits from this era (and continue as we speak), but did not solve the issue of managing end-to-end business services.


 


At the time, too many IT Operations managers became “infrastructure service providers”, and when polled did not feel responsibility for the application, the end user experience, or the final business service. The CIO, and many of the application owners ended up shouldering the business service responsibility. Today, this is radically changing and ITIL V3 clearly reflects this evolution.


 


Application development teams continue to be organizationally aligned to the line of business more often than not, but research is showing a dramatic shift in mindset as to whom is responsible for the end-to-end application performance. The majority of IT Operations organizations today own Level 1 application monitoring and often own level 2 application support. level 3 application support typically remains aligned with the development teams, but there is no doubt that the VP of IT operations is taking on end-to-end responsibility.


 


Tools vendors are getting their act together


Alas, I must at least touch on technology… but only briefly! The major tools vendors have done a commendable job putting together portfolios of solutions that span the BSM/ITSM lifecycle. Plenty of improvement can still be made on integration, interoperability and ease of use; but I think it is fair to say IT finally has access to a management technology architecture that can be leveraged and multi-purposed to serve a wide range of persona needs and management disciplines.


 


The Prediction


You have probably guessed my prediction by now based on my biased presentation of the six clues above. I believe the ownership of the business service visibility and accountability solution will be homed under the VP of IT Operations, and purpose-specific instances will be customized for the application owners, business relationship managers, line of business CIO’s and executive IT management.


 


The VP of IT Operations – empowered by the CIO - will continue to drive compliance to a single, standardized IT process and software management architecture (not “single vendor”, but “limited vendors”). This will irritate many ‘best-of-breed’ fans, but in the end it will pay off.


 


The business service visibility and accountability function will be a module of a more comprehensive fault, performance and availability solution set that effectively ties together discovery, visibility, accountability, issue detection, isolation, diagnosis, business impact analysis and direct connection to the enterprise service model.


 


Implementing this cross-IT management solution will not be easy. Organizationally, the VP of IT Operations will have to empower an independent executive-level manager to drive, similar to an ERP Application owner. This will fail if owned by an “ivory tower” type, but must be practically driven by trading off the lobbying of existing IT domain and function specialists with the need to consolidate, standardize and implement a modular, multi-purposed solution.


 


Ok, maybe I got a little carried away at the end there, but one cannot ignore the demonstrable evidence of business, organization and persona driver dynamics. I would be surprised if we do not see a pragmatic, yet steady evolution toward this ultimate model.

Webinar announcement: "Decrease IT Operational Costs by Accelerating Problem Resolution"

In a recent post, I talked about  “from user experience monitoring to user experience management”.  


Related to this, a recent Forrester study found that 74% of problems with business services are reported by the end users through the service desk; not reported by infrastructure management tools. The same survey found that an average of six service desk calls are needed to identify the problem owner for a top-down performance problem.  


 


What is therefore needed if we want to increase IT Ops efficiency and stop using our customers as the most expensive monitoring devices there are, is to proactively monitor customer experience before our customers do and have the tools to quickly and accurately pinpoint the cause of business service performance problems.  


Senior Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) Analyst Liam McGlynn and my colleague Sanjay Anne are conducting a webinar on this topic on March 19. The webinar is entitled “Decrease IT Operational Costs by Accelerating Problem Resolution”.


 


For more details and to register, please go to: http://www.enterprisemanagement.com/research/asset.php?id=1127.


 


 

BSM Evolution Paths: Auto Industry Sample

In the last post, Bryan Dean, our research expert in the BSM team, outlined the different ways in which customer evolve towards Business Service Management. In the next few posts, Bryan will give an example of each of the different types of evolution. Over to you Bryan ....
_______
About three years ago, the business division managers of a multinational automobile manufacturing company planned a bold transformation of their distribution network to leapfrog the competition.  They enthusiastically laid out a roadmap for business process innovation and aggressive customer/dealer satisfaction initiatives.  

Only one real problem; the CIO knew that building, rolling-out, and operating the underlying IT for this future business vision exceeded their current capabilities.  The CIO eventually had to raise the red flag and explain to the executive committee why IT was the bottleneck.  Ouch, not a good day.

 

In the previous post BSM Evolution Paths:  Samples and Observations, we talked about five common evolution paths, the organizational and persona dynamics of an Automated BSM/ITSM journey.  In this post we will overview a specific example.


 


To be fair, the CIO spent years driving significant investment in process, tools and the organization.  Let’s look at a subset of key personas and BSM/ITSM foundation: 

 

Director of Infrastructure (reporting to the VP Global IT Ops):



  • Enterprise-class central event/performance platform and console

  • WAN/LAN network management platform

  • Basic, component level performance and availability reporting

  • Dozens of vendor-specific configuration and admin tools

Director of Service Management (reporting to the VP Global IT Ops):



  • Global, consolidated helpdesk/service desk

  • Well defined and automated incident process; basic level problem, configuration, and a manual change process

Director of Applications (development, test & level 3 support.  Reports to business divisions):



  • Suite of pre-production stress-test quality and performance tools

  • End-user  and application performance/diagnostic tools (test environment)

The Key Evolution Steps


Step 1:  CIO empowers and holds the VP of Global IT Operations (VPITops) accountable for end-to-end business service responsibility.  Imagine the panic on his face!  VPITops launches key lieutenants on quick gap analysis.

 

Step 2:  The VPITops needed a quick win.  He believed that visually demonstrating and reporting performance and availability from a business service perspective -versus an infrastructure perspective- would be a catalyst for driving “aligned” IT behavior.  The current network and infrastructure products didn’t have this capability, so VPITops leveraged the tools already proven by the application test and level 3 support team.


VPITops established a new team within Operations (parallel to infrastructure event management) to own and run the end-to-end business service visibility/accountability solution.  Integration was established between the two teams and tools.

 

Step 3a:  VPITops took his new business service visibility/accountability tool (in dashboard/report form) to key business division managers, and established a business relationship management function.  This converted the conversation from anecdotal complaints, to measurable service levels.  The CIO had tangible proof of progress.

 

Step 3b:  While engineering step 2, the Tools and Process Architect realized they needed a better means of discovering and maintaining the IT/Business service models.  Their infrastructure environment was shared, complex and dynamic enough that static service models were not effective, so they brought in an application dependency mapping technology.  This success spawned a serendipitous benefit to another team in step 4a.

 

Step 4a:  The application quality/test and release team realized the service model could be utilized in the service transition process.  They previously had several very painful episodes of moving complex applications from test into production.  With an accurate, up to date service model of the production environment they could better identify dependency issues before roll-out.  Speed and accuracy...  Happy CIO.

 

Step 4b:  The Director of Service Management and the architect evaluated how to federate the data between the application dependency mapping service model and the CI configuration data in the helpdesk.   The software vendor provided a federation / reconciliation adaptor, so the helpdesk was able to leverage the CI relationships and operate off a “single version of the truth” (sounds eerily like an ITIL V3 CMS!). 

 

Near Term Roadmap


·         Automate change/configuration workflow and provisioning


·         Upgrade/replace enterprise event and performance console to leverage service model for root cause analysis and business impact assessment


·         Apply business service relationship management to additional business divisions


·         End-to-end visibility of composite MQ application business transactions   

 

The Verdict of the Journey so far


The CIO still has a job, and has a funded roadmap.  One might ask why they didn’t start with step 4b, and establish the CMDB and service model first?  Well, the CIO was on the hot seat, and they were concerned about getting bogged down in an enterprise-wide CMDB architecture project. 

 

This exemplifies the unpredictable and unique nature of evolution paths.  More can be said about the delicate balance between tops-down guidance, and fostering organic innovation from within the ranks of IT.  In future posts, I will discuss and analyze this further, as well as introduce other examples.

BSM customer evolution paths: Samples and observations

When developing and marketing products, we often have questions  which can only be answered by going out there and seeing what people are doing. We have a guy on the BSM team who does this for us. His name is Bryan Dean. I've worked with Bryan for many years and I've always been impressed by his objectivity and the insight he brings to his analysis (i.e. he doesn't just present a set of figures - he gets behind the figures).


 


At the end of last year, we asked Bryan to analyze the top 20-odd BSM deals of 2008. He formed a number of conclusions from this research. One set of conclusions concerned how people "get to BSM" - how they evolve towards an integrated BSM solution. I asked Bryan to help me with a series of posts to share what he learnt about evolutions towards BSM because I think that knowing what our other BSM customers are doing may help you.


 


________


 


Mike: Bryan, can you give a summary of what you learnt?


Bryan: There is no one evolution path. It's fascinating to me that a hundred different IT organizations can have virtually the same high-level goals, fundamentally agree on the key factors for success, and yet end up with a hundred unique execution paths.


 


Before I answer your question, can I create a definition? The term "BSM" is very poorly defined within the IT industry - different vendors have different versions, and so do the industry analysts (in fact, some other research I did last year concluded that very few people had a clear idea of what BSM means).  So, I'd like to introduce the term "Automated Business/IT Service Management"  or AB/ITSM.


 


Back to your question, I think I can group all the different evolution paths into five key types:  




  1. ITSM incident, problem change & configuration:  this evolution is driven out of the need for process-driven IT service management with the service desk as a key component


  2. Consolidated infrastructure event, performance and availability: this is driven by a recognition that having a whole ton of event management and performance monitoring systems is not an efficient way to run IT, and so there is a drive to consolidate them into one console.


  3. Business service visibility & accountability:  this is more of a top-down approach - start with monitoring the customer's quality of experience and then figure out what needs to happen underneath. This is popular in industries where the "web customer experience" is everything - if it's not good, you lose your business


  4. Service discovery & model: this is where evolution towards integration is driven from the need for a central model (the CMDB). Often, the main driver for such a central model is the need to control change


  5. Business transaction management: today, this is the rarest starting point. It's driven by a need to monitor and diagnose complex composite transactions. We see this need most strongly in the financial services sector

Mike: How about the politics of such AB/ITSM projects?  (I don't see the AB/ITSM term taking hold, by the way :-) )


Bryan: Politics (or, most specifically, the motivational side) is important. I think many heavy thinkers in our industry have the mistaken assumption that that there is a single evolution path, controlled from the top on down by the CIO following a master plan. Trying to manage such a serialized, mega project is a huge challenge and too slow, not to mention that 99% of CIO’s are not in the habit of forcing tactical execution edicts on their lieutenants (I know I’ll get some argument on that one :-) ).


 


What I see from my research is that the most successful IT organizations are those who have figured out how to balance between discrete doable projects, and an overall AB/ITSM end-goal context and roadmap.  Typically, the CIO lays down a high-level vision that ties to specific business results, and then allows key lieutenants to assess and drive a prioritized set of federated, manageable projects that independently drive incremental ROI. Some IT organizations may have a well-defined integrated roadmap, but the majority of IT run federated projects in a fairly disjointed fashion.


 


These parallel paths are owned by many independent personas within IT, each trying to solve the specific set of issues at hand. For them, being bogged down in how their federated project aligns and integrates with all the other AB/ITSM projects is daunting… if not fatal.


 


And on reflection this makes sense to me - the human side of things plays a large role in such endeavors.


 


Mike: What do you mean?


Bryan: IT organizations of all shapes and sizes have goals to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve business/IT service quality, and mitigate risk all while applying technology in an agile way to boost business performance.   What I find interesting is how specific, funded initiatives are created by specific personas to achieve the goals.


 


In future posts, I will share some specific examples of how customers evolved through these paths, the key driver personas, the core motivations and how these paths come together.

There are a number of ways of populating the service dependency map

 


In a post two weeks  on this blog, I listed all the ways that we use service dependency maps (model-based event correlation, service impact analysis, top-down performance problem isolation, SLAs, etc).  What can be used to discover service dependency information?


 


OperationsCenter Smart Plug-ins (SPIs) now discover to the CMDB


If you're using the agent-based side of OperationsCenter (OpC), then each managed node will have an agent on it. You can put a smart plug-in (SPI) onto that agent. SPIs have specialized knowledge of the domain they are managing. There are many SPIs for all kinds of things from infrastructure up to applications like SAP. Many of the SPIs discover (and continue to discover) the environment they are monitoring. This is agent-based discovery using all the credentials you've already configured into the OpC agent.




The OMi team are working on putting SPI-based discovery information into the HP CMDB (the Universal CMDB or uCMDB).


 


Agentless monitoring populates the uCMDB


If you have agentless monitoring (HP SiteScope) this will populate the uCMDB too (as of SiteScope version 10).




Whatever SiteScope monitors you have configured will send their configuration information to the uCMDB. So, if you're monitoring a server with a database on it, all the information about the server and its database will be sent to the uCDMB.


 


Network Node Manager populates the uCMDB


As of the latest version of Network Node Manager (NNMi 8.10), discovered network end-points are also put into the uCMDB. "Network end-points" are anything with a network terminator - network devices, servers, and printers. NNMi provides no service dependency information, but it does provide an inventory of what's out there.




This inventory discovery is useful for rouge device investigation - noticing an unknown device, creating a ticket to the group responsible for that type of device so they can look into it.


 


Standard Discovery


Our Standard Dependency Discovery Mapping product (DDM-Standard) will discover your hosts for you. This also discovers network artifacts (but, see NNM discovery above - if you have NNMi, this is a more detailed network discovery mechanism).


 


Advanced Discovery


Advanced Dependency Discovery Mapping will discover storage, mainframes, virtualized environments, LDAP, MS Active Directory, DNS, FTP, MQSeries buses, app servers, databases, Citrix, MS Exchange, SAP, Siebel, and Oracle Financials.




You can also create patterns for top -level business services and DDM-Advanced will discover those too.


 


Transaction Discovery


Our Business Transaction Management product, TransactionVision,  deploys sensors to capture application events (not operational events) from the application and middleware tiers. These sensors feed the events to the TransactionVision Analyzer which automatically correlates these events into an instance of a transaction. TransactionVision also classifies the transactions by type - bond trade, transfer request, etc. Thus, TransactionVision is discovering transactions for you.




TransactionVision puts this transaction information into the CMDB. In other words, the CMDB doesn't just know about "single node" CI types like servers, it also knows about flow CI types - transactions.




Also, if the CMDB notices that the transaction flows over a J2EE application, it links the transaction to information in the CMDB about this J2EE application - the transaction step and the J2EE app are now linked in the model. .


__________


 


By the way, my colleague Jon Haworth has just posted on the value of discovery in the realm of Operations Management at ITOpsBlog (28th January, "Automated Infrastructure Discovery - Extreme Makeover").

Answers to questions on "what's new in Business Availablity Center 8.0?"


I recently mentioned about a whats new webinar conducted on BAC v 8.0. You can now access this on-demand webinar at


https://h30406.www3.hp.com/campaigns/2008/events/sw-01-20-09/index.php?rtc=3-2CDASIY


 


Here are some of the questions which came up during the live webinar.


 


Q: When will 8.0 be available?


A: The 8.0 release will be made available the first week of February


 


Q: How will the new modeling changes affect my current custom views?


A: There are no more instance views, it’s just views and custom perspectives that provide the content in the view, the upgrade for most customers should be straightforward, unless they have changed the model, created new CI types with custom links or are heavily using pattern views with impact analysis, correlation rules and alerts.


 


Q: How about integration with HP Operations Manager? Can we leverage our current HPOV infrastructure monitoring capabilities and marry data with BAC application monitoring?


A: Yes with HP problem Isolation we have support of OM (Operations Manager) through event correlation to application problem/ anomaly start time.


 


Q: Does v 8.0 support oracle 11g platform


A: Yes with v 8.0 is it supported.


 


Q: I was told that the DDM portion of the new 8.0 can discover WebLogic 10.x iis it true?


A: Yes with v 8.0 is it supported.

Can I get away without using discovery?

When I was at our European HP Software event before Christmas / The Holidays, I spent a good deal of time talking to people about our new product releases and the future of BSM. One customer looked a little worried and said, "wow - you seem to rely on discovery a lot".


I guess there are two things to say in answer to that observation. The first is "yes - because we rely on the service hierarchy model a lot". And the second is, "but there are a number of different types of discovery - and a number of them you already have".


 


So, in a two part post, I thought I'd answer that observation more comprehensively. So, let's first look at how we use inventory and service hierarchy information in the management of service health (and thanks Jon Haworth from the OperationsManager team for his significant help on this post):


 



  • It helps with administering the monitoring deployment of the managed environment. It tells us what is out there, what we need to manage, what has disappeared, and so on. This only requires discovery of the infrastructure inventory – "tell me what servers exist" (unless everything is virtualized, in which case it needs a lot more. The OperationsCenter team has posted on the new virtualization SPI recently at ITOpsBlog. This SPI discovers, and more importantly, continues to discover, virtualized environments).

 



  • It helps OMi to understanding the stream of events which are being detected in the infrastructure and applications. The hierarchy of the monitored items ("configuration items" or CI's) allows OMi to tell us which events are causal events and which are symptoms – what do we need to work on and what can we ignore. I talked about how OMi does this in a post last year.

 



  •  It allows all parts of the BSM stack perform service impact analysis. This is where events are related to infrastructure and applications and their impact or potential impact on the services above in the hierarchy is established. We can then use this impact information to prioritize the events.  Service impact analysis requires a model of the hierarchy of CI's and services.  Maintaining the service hierarchy manually is untenable -- things just change too rapidly for humans to keep up.  

 



  • When a disk has a set of read/write errors, is that catastrophic? If it's a single disk, then yes - the infrastructure element is in trouble. If it's part of a RAID array, then no -  provided the rest of the array is OK.  If we know the type of CI that we seeing events against, we can make better decisions about its true health.

 


This is also a new feature in OMi: when CI's are discovered we know their type. OMi ships with a database of health indicators for each CI type. For example, for single disks, it's a problem if the disk gets bad errors; if it's a RAID array, then provided a high percentage of the other disks are OK, this is not a serious problem; and so on.


 


This feature makes the calculation of the true health of CI much easier. You don't need to define a set of propagation rules. OMi uses the discovered CI type information and it's lookup table to figure out propagation itself.


 


This all ties into a new feature in OMi called "Health Indicators". Jon Haworth has promised to post on this on his team's blog at the OperationsCenter blog


 



  • Our top-down performance Problem Isolation software needs to understand the service hierarchy on which the end user application rests. For example, if I have a web user interface, I need to understand what services that user interface depends on. As I discussed in a post last year, problem isolation uses statistical correlation analysis to suggest the likely cause of such top-down performance problems.

 



  • We need the service hierarchy for defining SLAs. I may define a compound SLA that depends on a number of OLAs and a top-level measured SLA. The modeling user interface for this and the subsequent off-line SLA calculation is done based on the service hierarchy.

 


In the second part of the post, I'll talk about all the things that now populate the host inventory and service dependency map.  Hint: if you have SPIs, you'll like what we have to say :-)


 


Mike Shaw

How do I learn more about BAC 8.0?

My last post was about the new BAC 8.0. I've had a couple of queries as a result of that post asking if there is more information on BAC 8.0.

A couple of my colleagues are going to be giving a webinar on BAC 8.0 on the 20th Jan. For more details and to register, please go to.... 

https://h30406.www3.hp.com/campaigns/2008/events/sw-01-20-09/index.php?rtc=3-2CDASIY 


 


Mike Shaw.

Announcing Business Availability Center 8.0

In a post last year, I talked about how to move from user experience monitoring to user experience management, you need to be able to figure out what is the cause of a measured user experience problem, like slow on-line  check-in times.  I talked about a tool we have called Problem Isolation that helps do to this figuring out.


Up till now, Problem Isolation has used just performance data measured by our agentless probes (from a product called SiteScope) in order to correlate between a top-line performance metric (like online check-in times) and the health of services that top-line metric depends on (database, app server, integration bus, etc). But there is another source of data we haven't included until now -- the events collected by our operations product, HP Operations Manager. If you have HP Operations Manager, you have a massive source of information that can also be used to determine where top-down performance problems lie. 


 


This is how Problem Isolation now uses HP Operations Manager data:


 



  1. A business service problem is identified. For example, thru synthetic or real-user monitoring we determine that online check-ins are running too slowly

  2. A “time buffer” around the problem start time is determined

  3. The model for the business service in the CMDB is traversed, returning a list of all services supporting the business service

  4. Events that occurred within the above-mentioned time-buffer relating to those supporting services are determined

  5. The services with the best-correlating events (taking into account severity as well) are identified as likely suspects

 


This algorithm applies to any event, whether it’s from a third party enterprise management system (e.g. Tivoli), from HP Operations Manager, or,  from HP Network Node Manager.


 


-------------


 


In our quest to move from service health monitoring to service health management, we're trying to provide as much information  relating to a problem/incident as possible - all in one place in such a way that the information is easily visualizable.


 


In BAC 8.0, you can see the following regarding a problem service, all from one place:


 



  • The current performance of the service

  • The performance of the service over time

  • SLAs resting on the service and their closeness to jeopardy

  • Business processes using that service and the impact of the problem on those business processes. If you have our Business Transaction Management modules of BAC, you can see exactly which business process instances are affected or at risk. In industries like financial services this matters because the value of transactions can vary hugely, and business operations wants to know which important business instances are affected (e.g. A $10m inter-bank transfer) so that they can initiate manual work-arounds

  • Measured user experiences resting on this service. Imagine an app server is having a problem. You can "look upwards" and see that this app server is used to serve the online check-in business service. You can then see the measured impact of the app server problem on the online check-in user experience. This would be measured using either synthetic or real-user monitoring

  • Real changes that have occurred under the problem service. The real changes are inferred by the discovery technology that notices deltas between the state of CIs today versus yesterday

  • Planned changes against the problem service as taken from the change/release management system

  • Outstanding incidents against the problem service. You can "look across" to the details of the incidents to see if they provide the app support team with any insight into how to solve the problem

  • Non-compliancy state of servers under the problem service. Our server automation technology now updates server compliance state into the CMDB and this can be viewed in this 360 degree view of the problem service

 


------------


Mike Shaw.

One brand new product and two major enhancements to the BSM stack - Vienna HP Software Universe 2008

Today is the first day of our software user conference here in sunny Vienna, Austria. We just announced a brand new product, and two major upgrades.


I'll start with the new product ...


 


HP Operations Manager i (Part of HP Operations Center) is our next-generation consolidated event and performance management product following on from HP Operations Manager. Internally, we call it OMi. Three keys about OMi...


 



  • You can take events from anywhere into OMi because it sits directly on top of our CMDB which holds business transaction, user experience, application, middleware, and infrastructure information.

  • OMi does root event analysis using the discovered service dependency map held in the CMDB. This means that only root events are shown in the console and subsequent events caused by the root event are hidden.

  • OMi gives you more than simply an "event stream" view of the world. It can also give you a service health view of the services you are responsible for. The exact make-up of a service's health is up to you - it will obviously include availability and performance, but it can also include the number of open incidents, for example.

 


I'll write more about OMi in a post at the end of this week.


 


HP Business Availability Center 8.0  (BAC 8.0) for application management uses HP Labs patented statistical analysis to cut through the volume of performance and operations event data in order to help customers predict and proactively resolve business service performance problems before they impact end users.


 


I did a post recently on the difference between user experience monitoring and user experience management noting how important performance problem isolation was. The latest version of BAC 8.0 does such analysis using both performance information and the rich source of events that HP Operations Manager, our operations management software, can give you.


 


I'll post on BAC 8.0 in more detail next week.



HP Network Node Manager i Advanced : we released a brand new network management product, NNMi,  this time last year incorporating a clever root event analysis engine (now found in OM i) and new, much faster spiral network discovery engine. The new Advanced Edition of NNMi is targeted at large enterprises.


 


NNMi Advanced helps you predict the service impact of network degradation before business services are negatively effected through its integration with our CMDB.


 


And it natively uses our run-book automation technology, Operations Orchestration, to automatically collect data, fix problems and verify state once a fix has been actioned.


 


More on NNMi Advanced in the NNM blog. 

From User Experience Monitoring to User Experience Management

This post discusses the differences between monitoring user experience and actually managing user experience to a certain level.  The difference between the two lies mainly in our ability to figure out where user experience problems lie.


 


A recent EMA study found that 52% of user experience problems (problems with things like front-ends to web sites) were reported by customers. In other words, the majority of  user experience problems were found by customers and not by IT.  Not good - this is probably a statistic we might want to keep hidden from the business!


 


How do we get to a situation where we're not using our customers as very expensive monitoring devices, particularly in these days when each piece of  customer business is important?


 


We use "user experience monitoring" or EUM. There are two flavors or EUM - synthetic and real-user.



     


  1. Synthetic monitoring uses scripts to simulate customer activity. Let's imagine we want to ensure our online check-in web user interface performs well at all time. After all, if it doesn't, there is a good chance that customers will not choose our airline again. We record a script that retrieves a dummy booking, chooses a seat, and opts to print a boarding pass. We run this three step script every ten minutes from three different locations around the world. We can now proactively and automatically know when customers are having problems with our online check-in. And because we are monitoring from three different points, we can determine if it's the actual business service or something on the way to the business service that is causing any problems.
     

  2. Real user monitoring is like a network probe. It listens to http network traffic (or tcp/ip traffic) and builds up a picture of the performance of a web user interaction. We would use it to monitor our online check-in process. Real user monitoring gives us a very rich source of diagnostic information should there be a problem.

  3.  


Which should we use, synthetic or real-user monitoring? Both. Synthetic gives you the proactive notification - we have one customer who runs 30 different scripts at 7:30am every morning before its customers come on line so it can proactively fix problems before the customers notice. But real user monitoring gives a richer source of diagnostic information.


 


And that brings me to the title of this blog posting .. "from user experience monitoring to user experience management".


 


Everything I've described right now is all about telling you you have a problem before your irate customers ring in and tell you first. This is important, but it's not the whole story. Imagine I could tell you your car was having problems before you noticed.  If I told you of a problem, your first question would most certainly be, "and what's causing the problem?" 


 


And that's a very important question to ask. Forrester estimates that 80% of the time spent fixing a problem lies in finding where the problem is.  And the typical performance problem of the sort we're talking about ping-pongs between different expert groups as they try to determine whose fault it really is. Going back to your car, it would go to the electrics group first. They would say, "not us". Then to the transmission group. "Not us". And then to the fuel system group. "Not us". Then the wheels and tyres group. "OK - it's us. You need new tyres and a re-alignment".


 


And why does this allocation ping-pong occur? Because we don't give the appropriate tools to first-line support - to the Operations Bridge. What they need is a tool that allows them to figure what is causing a user experience performance problem.


 


We have such a tool (which probably doesn't surprise you - I probably wouldn't write about a problem we most certainly couldn't solve and had no plans to solve!) And this tool moves us from User Experience Monitoring to User Experience Management - to detecting a problem early and then fixing it quickly and efficiently. This tool does the following:



     


  1. It takes you step by step thru a workflow looking at different potential sources of problem cause. Once I've talked about the areas the tool considers, you'll see why a guided workflow is a helpful thing to have.
     

  2. It re-runs any synthetic scripts against the problem business service to see if the problem is still occurring
     

  3. It looks for patterns in the behaviour of the problem business service's performance. Does the problem occur weekly? Is it only from one location?
     

  4. It looks to see if a dependent service is causing the problem. These critical business services are complex beasts - they can depend on a lot of "stuff" underneath - and we always under-estimate just how much "stuff" there is under a business service. A colleague of mine was recently at a customer site. They were estimating how many IT artefacts were under their claims processing system. The consensus was "about 12 systems". They looked in the CMDB and found it was 42 systems, all the way down to network paths, DNS servers and the like.  Anyway - our tool looks at the performance of all these dependent services and uses some clever statistical analysis tools to determine the most likely suspect - the dependent service that most highly correlates with the business service performance problem.
     

  5. It looks to see what changes have occurred under the problem business service.  It gets this information from the discovered CMDB - discovery notices when a service has changed and flags this. There is an IDC statistic that says that if a problem has occurred under a problem service, there is a probably of 80% that the change will have caused the problem.
     

  6. It looks at incidents against this problem service in the service desk. This allows us to get the service desk's view of what is happening.

  7.  


These guided analyses allow us to get a much better idea of what is causing a user experience performance problem, thus allowing us to "cut into the 80%" - cutting into the most time-consuming part of solving a complex performance problem and stopping that inefficient "allocation ping-pong".


 

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About the Author(s)
  • Technical Consultant in the BSM Customer Assist Team, with focus on SHR.
  • Doug is a subject matter expert for network and system performance management. With an engineering career spanning 25 years at HP, Doug has worked in R&D, support, and technical marketing positions, and is an ambassador for quality and the customer interest.
  • Dan is a subject matter expert for BSM now working in a Technical Product Marketing role. Dan began his career in R&D as a devloper, and team manger. He most recently came from the team that created and delivered engaging technical training to HP pre-sales and Partners on BSM products/solutions. Dan is the co-inventor of 6 patents.
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Over 11 years of experience in design and development of NMS/EMS products and presently with the Device content support covering broad based features of multitude device vendors in NNMi.
  • Manoj Mohanan is a Software Engineer working in the HP OMi Management Packs team. Apart being a developer he also dons the role of an enabler, working with HP Software pre-sales and support teams providing technical assistance with OMi Management Packs. He has experience of more than 8 years in this product line.
  • HP Software BSM Social Media
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Architect and User Experience expert with more than 10 years of experience in designing complex applications for all platforms. Currently in Operations Analytics - Big data and Analytics for IT organisations. Follow me on twitter @nuritps
  • 36-year HP employee that writes technical information for HP Software Customers.
  • Pranesh Ramachandran is a Software Engineer working in HP Software’s System Management & Virtualization Monitoring products’ team. He has experience of more than 7 years in this product line.
  • Ramkumar Devanathan (twitter: @rdevanathan) works in the IOM-Customer Assist Team (CAT) providing technical assistance to HP Software pre-sales and support teams with Operations Management products including vPV, SHO, VISPI. He has experience of more than 12 years in this product line, working in various roles ranging from developer to product architect.
  • Ron Koren is a subject matter expert for BSM / APM, currently in the Demo Solutions Group acting as a Senior Architect. Ron has over fourteen years of technology experience, and a proven track record in providing exceptional customer service. Ron began his career in R&D as a software engineer, and later as a team manager. Ron joined HP software in 2007 as an engineer in the Customer-Oriented R&D team. Prior to joining HP, Ron held a leadership development role at Israel’s largest bank. Ron holds a B.S. in Computer Science from The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Israel.
  • Stefan Bergstein is chief architect for HP’s Operations Management & Systems Monitoring products, which are part HP’s business service management solution. His special research interests include virtualization, cloud and software as a service.
  • With 11 plus years of very broad experience as a deployment expert for all the NMC products, my deliverables includes helping the Sales and Pre-Sales team in sizing and architecting the solution and hardware, assisting the implementers in product deployment and helping the customers directly when the products are deployed in production setup. As part of Customer Assist Team, I participate in a lot of customer facing activities from R&D side and provides best practices of using HP SW NMC products for efficient network management and leverage my rich experience in Network Node Manager and related iSPIs products.
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