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Customer Builds Top-Performing Data Center using HP UCMDB and ITIL v3

Raiffeisen Rechenzentrum Sud consolidated 5 million CIs in UCMDB. By combining uCMDB and Business Availability Center technology, Raiffeisen Rechenzentrum Sud can now do impact analysis on a very high level, speeding resource gathering and deployment. A very nice story on how ROI was realized and documented by a customer using UCMDB and DDM on an ITIL v3 project. I knew we were doing something right.

"Aha!" Moments: Serendipitous Early Value Encounters in CMDB and CMS projects

My Social Media Manager Heather asked me to consider writing a customer success story for one of my blog posts.  I decided to try to raise the bar even further.  This is a compilation of many customers' success stories, albethem small successes.  I'm talking about "Aha!" moments, success they didn't know was coming and generated an "aha!" moment.


Early, informal value realization, aka “aha!” moments, found early in a CMS or CMDB project can act as value tiers, financing time and credibility for the more difficult-to-realize, longer-term ROI.  Especially if your funding and sponsorship is dependent on volatile management moods and economic fluctuation.  Look for aha moments whenever you can - they will usually reward you and your project in ways that are hard to predict.  And, very occasionally, negatively, in those types of environments where No Good Deed Goes Unpunished or where the messengers, especially bearers of bad news, are still killed - you know who you are.


Informal research (my own experience and anecdotes from my customers and colleagues) indicates that some engagements are more successful because value was realized and documented early and often. This is paradoxical, because the business transaction funding the project is usually measured only on the final value realization i.e. fulfilling the sponsored use cases. However, if no value is shown before the primary use cases are successful, organizations typically do not do as well success-wise. It is unclear as to which way the correlation goes, in other words, whether the lack of early success lead to a loss of project momentum, vs. if a project with a weak link has inherently fewer aha moments.


Apparently, “aha!” moments can be almost as important as the overall drivers, even though these are rarely formalized or anticipated. However, aha moments alone cannot sustain a project. The primary use cases must be delivered.


Here are a few of my favorites.


    When the aha moment happened

    Source of the aha moment

    Why the "aha"?

    The Value of the aha!


    Problem awareness

    These kind of broad projects illuminates the business cases throughout the organization.


    Take the example of the "email from corporate",  an email notifying all employees of a new project.  It's unread by many due to the large number of such announcements. Until something happens that involves them, the project is only dimly visible to much of the organization. The “aha!” moments happen when you start interviewing people (known as "surfing the organization".) When the conversation starts with “Why are you here” and ends with “Can I play too?”, the value of the project has been successfully evangelized. But this is not the aha.


    When people begin answering the planning questions – questions like “what is your process for documenting applications?” – and the answer is “Well, we really don’t have a process for that.” – People begin to realize that there is a broken, missing, or inefficient process for which the CMDB use case can improve.

    When people become more aware of the problems facing their organization, at a higher level than their function. From the individual’s perspective, the the organization’s "ubiquity" is reduced.  It becomes a bit more personal.


    This can enable intangible value ranging from motivation, morale, and incentive to participate, to developing interests in the company’s higher functions – adding momentum not only to the CMS project, but in part to the entire organization.


    Infrastructure awareness

    During interviews, we have sometimes uncovered missing firewall rules, missing hardware redundancy, and missing security rules. We would ask something like “what is your firewall policy for this DMZ?” And the technician would log on to the firewall or look through their spreadsheet, and say “I don’t see it.”. they would call their buddy or their manager and discuss it, then would turn to us and say “We’re fixing that right now.” Or “We’ve got to open a change for this”.  Cha-chingCool.

    Risk is directly reduced by correcting redundancy and security-related issues.


    Identifying infrastructure Single Points of Failure

    Initial baseline discovery has found the actual infrastructure to be contrary to a stated configuration. This is not only due to dating, but understanding, and differences between planned and implemented solutions.


    For example, a single point-of-failure was found for a mission-critical application requiring redundancy down to the network level. Connectivity to the application’s database was found to flow through a single router.  The Senior Geek we were working with assured us this was impossible and that the tool had to be wrong somehow.  A few phone calls to his Alpha Geek and and some probing, the single point of failure was confirmed.  The Alpha Geek and his team were later praised for uncovering a critical point of failure so early in the project.  We looked pretty good too.  Cha-ching.Cool

    Risk is directly reduced by the identification and subsequent correction of situations falling short of documented or expected implementation.

    Depending on the significance of the differences, finding these kinds of things often is a big boost to the credibility and confidence for a fledgling CMDB initiative.


    Discovering non-standard / unauthorized hardware and software

    Often, unauthorized software or hardware configurations place production at risk. For example of a software risk, non-standard software or patches installed on production servers. Actual examples of “risky” hardware:

    1. finding a part of a production application running on a desktop

    2. finding personal network hardware on a production network

    3. finding a part of production running on the CIO's desktop at his residence!Cool Cha-ching!


    Reduced risk to production applications


    Security and auditing

    SNMP was often found to be running with the default community string, even after the Security staff has assured us that all their devices are not on the default value. Also, where insecure protocols such as telnet are disabled by policy, and found to be enabled.

    Some SMEs, when approached, are skeptical of the discovery results. Only after verification using another tool will action be taken. Often, this has the net effect of increasing trust in the product.

    Risk is directly reduced by identifying missing or default security credentials. However, the amount of value varies widely depending on where the breach in question was located. For example, a breach found in a DMZ would be more valuable than one found in an internal-only network.


    Confidence in the CMDB contents usually increases with these kinds of discoveries because they are often visible to management and other groups.

    Dependency Mapping

    Unexpected Host and Applications Dependencies

    When we start putting the topology views together for the core service models, we sometimes discover application relationships that make a difference. For example, during DR planning, a customer found a mission-critical application to depend on a “non-critical” application. It was realized that the non-critical application was made critical by this discovery. A change in plans was made to accommodate moving the newly-critical application at the same time as the mission-critical application.

    Outage avoidance is more than risk reduction – had the situation not been found and corrected there would have been an outage. This is a direct improvement in quality, both statistically for risk and cost-wise operationally.  Even if the ROI is hard to quantify there is no doubt that ROI occurredCool.  Cha-ching.

    Impact Analysis

    New Application-level Dependencies

    As in the previous scenario, we sometimes uncover additional dependencies when we begin testing the impact analysis correlation rules.  Usually it's in the form of gap identification with the application owners, e.g. "Hey, where's the ABC app, huh?"  But you should take relationship identification any way you can get it.


    Outage avoidance as described above.

    Training, both formal and informal


    Interaction with application SMEs


    Interaction with customer management


    Interaction with technical staff (network, security, DBA, etc.)

    New Use Cases

    When you have good stuff, everybody comes to you and asks you to make it do everything you ever told them it could do.  It can be quite overwhelming.


    The team begins linking the concepts learned in training to begin solving their own problems. Matrix teams such as those found on CMS and CMDB projects often bring new valuable and challenging use cases to the table.


    So there's a risk of “scope creep” as students try to use resources already allocated for the primary use cases to their own use cases, or if the project attempts to take on too many use cases too early, before it has sufficient momentum to succeed. A lot of aha moments can increase project momentum, in a way, increasing time-to-value of the primary use cases along with it. It is worth a mention here that, as a CMDB matures, it can take on those additional use cases.  So Aha moments aren't exactly scope creep repellent, but they make the smell more tolerable.


    However, too many use cases early on tend to starve the project due to lack of delivery of the primary use cases.  Don't run before you walk.

    With a reliable means of capturing these use cases, the CMS grows in value by further decreasing cost of implementation and increasing time-to-value through experience. All consumers benefit by a collective body of expertise.

    Ultimately, aha moments alone are insufficient for a project’s success, but the do seem to play an important part.


Yeah, you caught me, this is part of a paper I already wrote.  So I'm a little drier here than my previous posts.  That's ok, I've been pretty "wet" so far.    But this is serious stuff when you get down to it!  My pontification (and YOUR COMMENTS, PLEASE!) should add up to something greater than poking fun at dumb stuff and waxing philosophic about mundane topics like Configuration Data Provider Rationalization (another juicy topic coming soon!)


If this is interesting to you, please let us know.   Our blog isn't really a blog until we get our user community actively involved and discussing these topics, which are really little more than starting points.  Please take a quick moment to let us know if you agree, if we suck, or what.  We'd appreciate it.

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About the Author(s)
  • HP IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager. I am also responsible for our end-to-end Change, Configuration, and Release Management (CCRM) solution. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.
  • David has led a career in Enterprise Software for over 20 years and has brought to market numerous successful IT management products and innovations.
  • I am the PM of UCMDB and CM. I have a lot of background in configuration management, discovery, integrations, and delivery. I have been involved with the products for 12 years in R&D and product management.
  • Gil Tzadikevitch HP Software R&D Service Anywhere
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Jacques Conand is the Director of ITSM Product Line, having responsibility for the product roadmap of several products such as HP Service Manager, HP Asset Manager, HP Universal CMDB, HP Universal Discovery and the new HP Service Anywhere product. Jacques is also chairman of the ITSM Customer Advisory Board, ensuring the close linkage with HP's largest customers.
  • Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked with the UCMDB product line since 2004, and currently takes care of the top 100 HP Software customers, the CMS Best Practices library, and has hosted a weekly CMDB Practitioner's Forum since 2006.
  • Software technical product manager for HP Strategic Analytics--Executive Scorecard (XS) and Financial Planning & Analysis (FPA). Generate technologically sophisticated IT Performance Analytics use cases in collaboration with fellow HP product managers and design partners. Liaison for XS & FPA product managers, customers, and development team. Draw upon experience and industry pulse to influence the definition of product strategy and roadmap. Primary implementer of POCs for key elements of the company's offering including executive scorecard, financial planning and analysis, and process analytics..
  • Mary (@maryrasmussen_) is the worldwide product marketing manager for HP Software Education. She has 20+ years of product marketing, product management, and channel/alliances experience. Mary joined HP in 2010 from an early-stage SaaS company providing hosted messaging and mobility services. Mary has a BS in Computer Science and a MBA in Marketing.
  • Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Michael joined HP in 1989 and has held various positions in HP Software since 1996. In product marketing and product management Michael worked on different areas of the IT management software market, such as market analysis, sales content development and business planning for a broad range of products such as HP Operations Manager and HP Universal CMDB.
  • Ming is Product Manager for HP ITSM Solutions
  • Having about 15 years of experience, practical and academic, throughout these years, I’ve been always focusing on both strategic directions side by side with achieving critical business goals Mainly focused on IT operations management, strategy and control, my preferred vendor is usually HP, as I believe HP has one of the best Enterprise portfolios among the current trending technologies
  • 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.
  • Oded is the Chief Functional Architect for the HP Service and Portfolio Management products, which include Service Manager, Service Anywhere, Universal CMDB & Discovery, Asset Manager, Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
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