Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Top 3 IT Operations predictions for 2011

A guest post from Kalyan Ramanathan, Director of Product Marketing for BSM.

-Peter

 

One of the advantages of being at a large IT vendor like HP is that I get to hear from many of customers - both big and small. Many of these customers talk to me about the current IT challenges that keeps them up at night, the trends that they are following, and their priorities and investments for the next 12 - 18 months.

 

It is with this vantage point that I am able to make predictions in terms of what will be hot in IT operations in 2011. So here goes my top 3.

Automating SiteScope configurations and deployment ...

Did you know that SiteScope has some great automation features that allow you to perform mass deployment and configuration with little to no human intervention?  And that these features can quickly position you to succeed with ITIL's "Service Operations" phase - in particular, the Problem Management process?  Check out this post and learn how SiteScope can now free up a lot of your time by automating usually labor-intensive and mundane tasks ...

Four keys to hybrid service management

The July 2010 edition of BSM Digest includes an article on the four key capabilities that organizations must have to effectively manage the health and availability of hybrid services. The article is the result of an interview with my colleague Kalyan Ramanathan, Director of Business Service Management (BSM).

OH, IL, WI, IN, MI Operations Center Technical Roadshow - April 20th to April 29th - Don't miss it!

Ever wish you could talk face-to-face with more technical people about Operations Center and Network Management Center products? Don’t really have the time or budget to travel very far to do so?  Well, here is a great opportunity to meet and talk with technical experts on products like Operations Manager and NNMi – right in your background.


Vivit will be hosting a series of six (6) one-day sessions, where there will be a nice mix between presentations and Q&A sessions around these products.  The sessions will be held in the following states on the following days:


- (Columbus) Ohio – April 20, 2010


- (Orrville) Ohio – April 21, 2010


- (Dearborn) Michigan – April 22, 2010


- Wisconsin – April 27, 2010


- (Chicago) Illinois – April 28, 2010


 - (Fishers) Indiana – April 29, 2010


Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions about this roadshow at asksonja@hp.com.

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Get lean (IT) and prepare for growth in 2010 with your existing resources (webinar)

As we enter the New Year, many people make resolutions. On the personal side, improving health and finances generally top the list. Fortunately, you can set (and achieve!) similar goals to get your IT infrastructure in shape and on budget.


This upcoming webinar address this topic.


Fulfill your New Year's resolution: Get lean (IT) and prepare for growth in 2010 with your existing resources


Date and time:  Tuesday, January 26, 2010 (1:00 PM Eastern Time / 10:00 AM Pacific Time)
Register here: www.hp.com/go/getleanit2010
Abstract: During this webinar, you will see how virtualization and automation can extend your management tools to enable your IT organization to support your company's 2010 growth plans.
 
Using several HP customer examples and a live demo, you will learn how to:



  • Consolidate event management with a single console AND speed your time to problem resolution.

  • Prioritize your IT response based on the business value of the affected services.

  • Manage physical and virtual servers using the same instrumentation to standardize operations and reduce licensing, maintenance, and training costs.

  • Extend your infrastructure coverage using agentless monitoring to speed time to deployment.

  • Automate remediation of recurring events to save money and get more out of your existing IT investments.


See a promotional video about the webinar.



 
Register for the free webinar: www.hp.com/go/getleanit2010


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group on LinkedIn.


 

Two strategies for your new data center

I read an interesting article in eWeek on “HP vs. Cisco: Polar Opposites in Data Center Strategies.”


The article focused on whether it is better for companies to choose from a collection of partners or a one-stop shop. From my personal experience with my home electronics purchases, I prefer to purchase components from a single vendor, as the integration and support generally runs more smoothly. On the other hand, I have other friends and colleagues (many of whom are more technical than I am) who follow the opposite approach, picking what they believe are the best in class components and integrating all the pieces themselves.


In both cases, when the systems run smoothly, both approaches work equally well. The challenge, of course, is when things do not go as planned - either during the setup or when something breaks. In a home environment (at least mine), things are pretty static. I don’t add or update components very often. A corporate data center is another story. Data centers are very dynamic, with companies adding servers, applications, and other components daily in many cases. And, add to that the changes from virtualization, where business services are created on-the-fly, based on changing demands. And, if you want to leverage runbook automation, it’s probably easier if you are automating software from a single vendor.


The data center has no time for finger pointing or blame storms. When an incident occurs, I want a single console to see what broke, its impact on the business, and the shortest path to resolving the problem. In my mind, this is a clear reason to follow the one-stop approach.


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group on LinkedIn.

Virtualization + Automation + Management Software Consolidation = Cost Optimization

One common theme that seems to come up in every conversation with customers is cost optimization. Companies appear ready to spend money if you can prove that their investment will save them money - fast.


Having heard this many times over the past few months, our campaigns team has created a new portal that contains many assets (webinars, white papers, solution briefs) that describe HP’s offerings in virtualization, automation, and management software consolidation. All topics that my colleagues and I address in this blog.


Boardroom 



Check out the cost optimization portal and let me know what you think.


Here’s how the director of campaigns, Gayle Levin, describes the portal:


How do you spend less during a downturn, while laying the groundwork to exit stronger, more efficient and competitive when the economy recovers? It’s a critical question facing many IT organizations today. IT cost optimization can help you overcome this challenge. By maintaining focus on an organization’s operational and financial health, IT cost optimization enables smart cost reductions that don’t undermine business performance or competitive edge. While transformational cost optimization projects are a tough sell while budgets are tight, operational initiatives can produce results in six to 12 months while laying the groundwork for future endeavors. Operational initiatives include IT financial management (ITFM), virtualization management, automation and management software consolidation. Learn more about how HP’s IT cost optimization solutions can help you gain operational advantage.


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group onLinkedIn.


 

Hawaii Pacific Health – Data Center Transformation (download success story)

CIO magazine posted an article about “Five Lessons for Consolidating Data Centers At Merger Time”. It follows a case study from Hawaii Pacific Health. I have posted on data center consolidation previously on this blog.
Squeeze It Management Costs Out With Consolidation Automation
Does Virtualization Consolidate Your It Operations Or Fragment Them?

Data Center Transformation can be challenging because of all the moving parts. There is the hardware consolidation, migrating servers to lower cost and likely lower power consumption. There is the capacity planning to determine how to use virtualization to squeeze out hardware procurement and maintenance costs. Finally there is the software consolidation, to provide a comprehensive view of the new IT infrastructure.


In some ways a data center consolidation (or new data center) is a chance to shake things up and introduce new technologies. Many customers use HP Operations Manager as a top-level console to consolidate events from multiple domain managers. While this approach works well and avoids any disruptive rip and replace, it does leave them with multiple domain managers and the associated maintenance and training costs of using them.


A data center consolidation on the other hand means you can design in the management software from the ground up using proven best practices. One set of instrumentation for physical and virtual servers, end-user alerts to ensure a good user experience, network and storage events integrated into the main console, and of course automated remediation to fix problems without human intervention. Finally, don’t forget new processes and metrics to make sure that everything runs smoothly and there are closed loop systems to continuously improve availability, performance, and cost.


You can download a success story on Hawaii Pacific Health that discusses the approach and business benefits in more detail. Please click on the "Attachment" link below.


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group onLinkedIn.


Software Universe - Initiatives that Deliver Rapid ROI

I just learned that I will be presenting two sessions at Software Universe, which runs from June 16-18 in Las Vegas. The overall theme of the conference is “focusing on initiatives that can deliver immediate improvements and rapid ROI.” Both of my talks fit squarely within that charter.


Here are the two topics on which I will be speaking.


Automating operations management with HP Operations Orchestration
My colleague, Ralph Capasso, an expert in runbook automation, will be co-presenting the talk and running a live demo.


Abstract:
As your infrastructure becomes more complex, you’ll experience more IT events—many of them symptoms of the same root cause. And you probably have limited staff resources to manage and route incidents. The solution? Consolidation and automation. We’ll tell you how to automate event management and remediation with HP Operations Orchestration. Using case studies and workflow examples, we’ll show you how a typical enterprise can drive out millions of dollars in costs, and we’ll present a live demonstration of how HP Operations Manager and Operations Orchestration work together to resolve common issues.


Leveraging agent-based and agentless monitoring to drive down TCO
I’m presenting this session with Alex Ryals of Pepperweed. He has extensive field experience implementing complex IT solutions.


Abstract:
In today’s economy, a mixture of agent-based and agent-less monitoring techniques can be the key to effective infrastructure monitoring within tight budget constraints. Attend this session and learn how two customers combined HP Operations Manager agent-based techniques and HP SiteScope agent-less technologies to reduce their TOC while optimizing their infrastructure monitoring. Presenters will take a deep dive into the integration of these two HP solutions and will explain how you can create both IT value and business value. You’ll also hear how Operations Manager and SiteScope integrate into the overall HP BTO portfolio.


 


If you have any topics you would like us to cover in our talks, or questions on these topics you want answered, please leave a comment on the blog or contact me directly.


In a future post, I’ll have speakers from other sessions preview their topics.


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.

Virtualization without Automation - Impossible

A quick entry to follow up on the HP BSA announcement on virtualization automation.


HP did a press interview to support the announcement and Glenn O’Donnell from Forrester joined us in this media talk.


Glenn believes that this is the year for automation. Glenn describes automation as applied technology – automation is how the productivity of the technology is increased.


Glenn also believes that virtualization without automation will not succeed. As he puts it “We see virtualization and automation being inextricably linked. There's no way to separate the two. You cannot do virtualization without automation."


And he should know, since Forrester talks to leading enterprises who have adopted virtualization at scale.


How do you manage your virtual infrastructure? How important is automation to your virtualization initiatives?


For business service automation Kalyan Ramanathan.

Driving down OpEx with technology

It's been a good number of months since I traveled in Europe but I just spent a couple of weeks hopping around on business. There were some interesting changes to the travel experience which got me thinking about parallels in the IT Operations world.
 
First was the check-in experience with Air France / KLM. Basically self-service check-in at a kiosk, with a bag drop. "Nothing new there!" I hear you say. Well what was new was that it was not optional - at least not as far as I could see. There were no check-in agents at desks - only a few floor-walkers minding the kiosks and folks on the bag drop. Obviously this represents a significant cost saving, but that is not my point.


We've all seen this stuff deployed in airports for a while but airlines have been cautious about forcing customers to use it. That was not the case here. All of the regular economy class customers had to use the automated check-in. I guess the airline has overcome (or over-ridden) any fears about the effectiveness of the technology or the danger of impacting the service provided to the customers in favor of some tangible reductions in OpEx.
 
At the other end of the trip I also saw changes in hotel check-out. Now the US has been pretty good at speeding check-out by providing express check-out services. You know the deal, your bill is posted under your door at some horribly early hour of the morning. Your credit card is charged the amount shown unless you decide to go and pursue the regular check-out service. Of course the hotel also benefits because they can deploy less staff to service the check-out transactions. Europe has not adopted this approach. I'm not sure why but I guess it may be some differences in legislation regarding charging someone's credit card without them being present.
 
So the challenge for European hotels is how to maintain quality of service (a rapid check-out) but reduce the OpEx of having lots of staff present during the check-out rush hour in the mornings. A Pullman Hotel in Paris had applied technology to solve this problem. As I headed into the lobby to check out on Friday morning I was ushered towards a bank of (you guessed it) kiosks. The experience was a carbon copy of the airport check-in - just different cards being provided by me and documents being printed by the kiosk. After I had been 'processed' I sat in the lobby waiting for some colleagues to join me. There were three check-out staff that I could see - one on a regular desk duty, two floor-walking the kiosks. The Pullman is a big hotel.
 
Then I started thinking about how the airlines and the hotel were displaying behaviors which are very similar to what we are seeing in the IT Operations space. The drive is to reduce OpEx whilst maintaining service levels. The approach adopted is to use technology to automate activities which have required manual interactions.
The technology is being put into service in spite of any misgivings over its ability to be 100% effective. The companies are willing to take some calculated risks in order to get a demonstrable reduction in OpEx.
 
I see the same behaviors in IT Operations. Forward looking companies are applying technology to automate wherever possible - automate event correlation, automate analysis and problem isolation, automate fixes, automate provisioning. The technology to do a lot of this has been around for years, but previous objections to its deployment - fears over the certainty that the technology will be 100% effective - are being pushed aside as the sights are firmly set on reducing OpEx.
 
For Operations Center, Jon Haworth

Operational Excellence - Article on Mark Hurd

There was a recent article on Mark Hurd in Fortune Magazine. It focuses on his obsession with numbers and execution.


While the article does not mention infrastructure management software, readers of this blog will immediately recognize how important consolidated event management, server virtualization, and automation are to reducing operating expenses.


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel

Squeeze IT Management Costs Out with Consolidation, Automation

Network World had an interesting article today called “IT budget '09: Spending down, contingencies at the ready”. It shows some survey results about IT professionals’ spending forecasts. Interestingly, there is some optimism that smart IT spending can drive productivity improvements.


This mirrors the sentiment I hear in most of my conversations with customers. Everyone is looking to cut costs. But, many IT executives are open to making investments in their infrastructure, including management software, as long as they recoup their investment within a reasonable (or some might view as unreasonable) period of time. These days that is often six months. For some who are more patient, they might stretch this period to a year. During other (rosier) times, people might accept a 2-year payback period.


Tool consolidation is often one initiative that results in significant savings in a short time horizon. (Data center consolidation done properly can generate even larger savings, but this is generally a multi-year proposition.) In addition to the savings in software license costs by consolidating management tools, organizations often see reductions in training costs and improvements in efficiency as operators can focus their skills on learning one tool really well instead of gaining a superficial knowledge on a variety of consoles. Using a single vendor for all your IT infrastructure management also saves money on integration, as the individual components, at least in HP’s case, are pre-integrated.


Of course, one of the biggest potential savings in a tool consolidation is in applying automation to perform routine tasks. A global financial company saves over $4 million per year by automating only 22 IT processes, most of which take only five minutes or less to execute. For one database process, the savings is only a minute, but the operation happens 400,000 times per year.


How many routine tasks do your administrators complete each day? How long does each take? What does this cost you? What will you do about it?


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.

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