Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Going, going, gone - don't miss this opportunity! Vivit roadshow next two weeks only!

Vivit roadshow around HP BTO software! Your chance to learn – at a deep technical level - more about Operations Center, Business Availability Center, and Network Management Center products. Five locales left – in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin – over the next two weeks.  Register for one of these roadshow events NOW!  This is your chance to talk face-to-face with more technical people about BSM products like OpenView/Operations Manager, Real User Monitor, and Network Node Manager – and it won’t require any travel budget. 


Here is the agenda for each day:


- Overview of Operations Center, Business Availability Center, and Network Management Center product portfolios.


- Demo of how all of these products work together


- Deep dive into Operations Center products and how best to leverage this software in your environment


- Deep dive into Business Availability Center products and how best to leverage this software in your environment


- Deep dive into NNMi and how best to leverage this software in your environment


The sessions will be held in the following states on the following days:


- (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

Live near Chicago, Indianapolis, or Milwaukee? 4/27 to 4/29 - talk face-to-face with HP Product Managers about HP Software!

Just wanted to remind people who work/live near Chicago, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee about the upcoming Vivit roadshow around HP BTO software.  This is your chance to talk face-to-face with more technical people about BSM products like OpenView/Operations Manager, Real User Monitor, and Network Node Manager – and it won’t require any travel budget.  There are six locations, one of which is probably very close to you. 


Here is the tentative agenda for each day:


- Overview of Operations Center, Business Availability Center, and Network Management Center product portfolios.


- Demo of how all of these products work together


- Deep dive into Operations Center products and how best to leverage this software in your environment


- Deep dive into Business Availability Center products and how best to leverage this software in your environment


- Deep dive into NNMi and how best to leverage this software in your environment


The sessions will be held in the following states on the following days:


- 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.

Free today at 1 pm ET? Don't miss this webinar! How to monitor your IT environment more efficiently!

Join HP Software and Solutions for a live InformationWeek webcast with special guests Maryann Phillip, Director of Service Delivery at Independence Blue Cross (IBC), and Ken Herold, Practice Manager & Principal Architect with Melillo Consulting.


Hear first-hand how IBC is using HP Operations Center products like Operations Manager and Performance Manager to:



  • achieve profitable growth through enabling technologies

  • reduce costs by achieving a competitive cost structure

  • manage medical costs better -- through operational stability & improvements


Register today and learn how you can streamline and make YOUR processes more efficient.

How to frustrate end users

 


I'm currently on the receiving end of some pretty dismal service quality from my broadband (ADSL) provider. I work from home much of the time so when my broadband is unavailable I really feel unproductive and disconnected. 


 


The issues have been ongoing for a while and relate to some problems with the equipment in the local exchange.


 


I'm not going to delve into great detail or "name and shame" but I did want to take the opportunity to take a step back and use my unhappy experience as a learning opportunity. I think there are a couple of lessons in the interactions that I've had with my ISP which provide great guidance on things to avoid if you don't want to frustrate your end-users as you strive to deliver IT services to your business and your customers.


 


The first thing to avoid is a lack of transparency across the teams who are involved in service delivery. When I call the technical help line to report a red light on my ADSL Router I expect someone to KNOW that there is a problem - and to be able to explain what is being done.


 


Often times this has not been the case.


 


In many cases the help desk don't know that there is an issue. This frustrates me (I'm being used as the monitoring device) but also wastes a lot of time as they tend to follow a process of standard tests before they discover that there is a known problem at the broadband exchange.


 


Bottom line is that if your infrastructure monitoring can detect a service impacting issue then that information should be shared with all the folks who can make use of it. You need to use the information to update your help desk / service management systems so that the folks who are front and center talking to customers appear informed and can provide the customer with reassurance that the IT organization has it's act together.


 


I'm not suggesting that every infrastructure event needs to be visible to the help desk - but if it's got a high probability of affecting service delivery then it has value. And whatever is shared has GOT to be accurate. And the information needs to be updated with current status and estimated fix times so this can be relayed to customers to provide some reassurance that the technicians are dealing with the issue and some expectations on when service will be resumed.


 


We provide interfaces for this stuff for our own monitoring solutions, such as Operations Manager or BAC, into HP Service Manager (and some third party help desk packages) because we believe it's a vital part of how an incident management process connects to service management activities.  This is essential stuff that you need to be able to do as part of what we describe as a Closed Loop Incident Process (CLIP).


 


The second 'thing' that drove me nuts happened mid-afternoon the day before yesterday. I called up because the broadband was down again and the response from the help desk was that the exchange was "having an upgrade".


 


Now two possibilities spring to mind here.


The first (driven by disbelief) is that this is incorrect information - either the status in the fault record is wrong (read earlier comments about sharing accurate information) or the help desk person is trying to fob me off - and that's another big no-no if you want happy customers.


 


The second possibility (also driven by disbelief) is that someone needs to take an ITIL class and understand the basics of configuration and change management as they relate to Service Delivery / Service Management. Taking a broadband exchange offline for 4 hours on a weekday afternoon to perform an upgrade appears, on the face of it, to be a little ill-considered.


 


If you want to understand more about how HP can help with Change and Configuration management then take a look at our Service Manager product.  To be able to plan change effectively you need good, up to date configuration information regarding the CIs (configuration Items) and how they relate to each other and support IT Services. That's not something you can maintain manually - at least not cost effectively - so some automated discovery is essential - and we can help there with our discovery (DDM) and UCMDB technologies.

What Customers are saying about SiteScope 10.1

Last week I returned from a series of customer meetings on the east coast. During my trip, I met several advanced SiteScope customers, listened to their concerns and showed them what is coming up in the next SiteScope release.


One of the customers I visited is a large services firm, which has adopted SiteScope extensively, replacing a monitoring product from another vendor. Their monitoring needs are constantly growing and SiteScope helps them adjust quickly.


Here are some details about their environment:



  • They monitor about 4000 servers with various OS – Windows, Solaris, Suse Enterprise Linux and AIX.

  • They have about 40 SiteScope servers installed and they are planning to add more soon.

  • Most of their applications are web based, running on IBM WebSphere and Oracle DB. They use URL sequence monitors, WebSphere AppServer monitor and the various OS monitors extensively. For monitoring their custom applications, they use Log File monitors. They also use some of the packaged solution templates such as Exchange.

  • They have integrated SiteScope with a 3rd party event management system (NetCool). They use SNMP based alerts to send all SiteScope events into NetCool. They have customized SiteScope alert templates such that each responsible team will get actionable information when an alert is received (they have about 25 custom alert templates). They see alerts as one of the most valuable and powerful features in the product as they can tailor the alerts to their specific needs and manage them centrally using smart filters.

  • They run about 150 BPM transactions to monitor the end user performance of their applications from different locations around the world. They plan to upgrade to BAC 8.0 in the upcoming month.


They were thrilled to see the new Java Applet based UI technology that was introduced in SiteScope 10.0.




They had a list of usability enhancement requests; some of them have already been addressed in this new release (e.g. ability to sort threshold tables). This was their reaction: “SiteScope is great but the UI made it a B class product. Now you have an A class product”.


We’ve also done a couple of improvements in the template deployment area which made them smile - the ability to mass-deploy templates using a simple CSV file and the ability to skip the verification stage. Both are a huge win for them as they use templates extensively and the verification process might take a few minutes for each server in some of their remote data centers. With 10.1 they will be able to deploy hundreds of new monitors with a single CSV file, without having to wait.


Another area that caught their attention was the improved capacity and the new sever statistics screens. In an environment like theirs, a capacity improvement has direct cost implications. The capacity improvement is accompanied by a new sizing calculator and new screens that provide more visibility into the server performance. This will help them leverage their current investment and get more “bang for the buck”.


And that is what SiteScope is all about!


To learn more and see a demo of the latest SiteScope, attend the Introducing SiteScope v10.1 webinar  on July 23, 2009 (9:00am PDT / 12:00pm EDT / 18:00 CET).


For Business Availability Center , Udi Shagal.


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

Innovation Week Part 6 - End-User Monitoring

When I hear about innovation, I think about a breakthrough product or a significant update in functionality. In marketing parlance, this means a new version number 8.x to 9.x, or maybe a major “dot” release 9.0 to 9.1. So, when my colleague Amy Feldman in Business Availability Center told me about big innovations in Real User Monitoring (RUM) version 8.02, I was obviously skeptical.


First, how does RUM relate to managing IT infrastructure? The VP of Operations is tasked with providing users an optimal level of performance and availability for the business services they consume. So, assessing these metrics from the end-user standpoint is critical for maintaining service level objectives.


HP offers two ways to do this: real user monitoring and synthetic user monitoring. The former monitors actual user performance while the later simulates user sessions from different geographies. Pulling alerts from these tools into your event console gives you early warning of end-user experience issues. In an era of cost reduction, this shifts monitoring to relatively inexpensive automated systems from the most expensive monitoring tools known - your customers calling to report problems or “fixing” their negative experience by taking their business elsewhere.


So, what is new and exciting in RUM 8.02?



  • The HP RUM probe is now supported on Windows and Linux Redhat5 64-bit. 

  • RUM now supports detailed transaction analysis for 7 different protocols including MsSQL, LDAP, MySQL, IMAP, POP3, SMTP, FTP and increased insights into non-web based applications.

  • Supports larger SiteScope deployments – increased monitor capacity per server (up to 16,000 monitors), simplified mass template deployment, easier way to manage SSL certificates, and other usability enhancements.

  • Expanded SiteScope monitor coverage – new platform support (NonStop, SolarisZones), added versions and new solutions templates allows you to expand SiteScope monitoring into new environments.

  • Expanded support for Business Process Monitor (BPM) – now supports VuGen 9.5 and Windows Vista.

  • BAC dashboard integrations
    1. Netuitive integration: enables integrating Netuitive predictive alerts into the BAC dashboard
    2. iPhone integration: enables viewing real-time status of applications and business services, via dashboard, directly on the iPhone


RUM screen


Not bad for a “minor” version.


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


 

Innovation Week Part 4 - Integration (podcast)

One universal challenge customers face is intergating disparate enterprise monitoring tools together. Rather than brag about how easy all the different parts of the HP Software portfolio fit together, I’ll share with you two recordings I made at HP Software Universe in June.


IIS logo Mike Halkovitch, HP Software Delivery Consultant at International Integrated Solutions speaks about his experience deploying HP Software products at various large and small customers. He works with the full spectrum of monitoring products including Business Availability Center for application monitoring, Operations Center for infrastructure monitoring, and Operations Orchestration for automating runbooks.


Mike says that the biggest business benefit is the ease of integrating all the products together and the ability to scale the solutions as customers’ needs grow. Of course, all this depends on defining the right objectives at the beginning of the process


Listen to Mike’s 2-minute podcast.


 
DirecTV logo Brent Miller, Manger of Enterprise Monitoring, Data Center Operations at DirecTV, had a similar story to tell, but from an end-user perspective. His main challenge is consolidating events from across the enterprise, correlating them, and performing root cause analysis.


DirecTV uses Business Availability Center, Operations Center, and Network Management Center. What he likes best about an all-HP management solution is the ease of integrating all the pieces together.


Listen to Brent’s 2-minute podcast.


Have you solved some major integration challenges lately?


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


Get the latest updates on our Twitter feed HPITOps.

BSM incognito (Software Universe - Day 1)


What a great start to Software Universe. The keynotes were great, and the speech by Dick Hoyt on “Yes you can!” was inspirational.



I had the pleasure of moderating one of the customer roundtable discussions. The topic was Consolidated Event and Performance Management. Ten customers joined three HP product experts for a guided discussion about their concerns. The goal of these discussions is to provide a forum for customers to share best practices about how they are using HP products.


We started the session by listing all the topics that people wanted to discuss. My expectation was that we would spend our time discussing Operations Manager, given the track. To my surprise, we spend less than half the time on Operations Manager. The majority of the time we discussed uCMDB and discovery, monitoring applications with Business Availability Center, agentless monitoring with SiteScope, integrating events from Network Node Manager, and of course managing virtualization.


Interestingly, not once did anyone mention Business Service Management or BSM. What does this mean? My interpretation is that customers don’t buy BSM, they buy solutions for monitoring events, applications, or networks. But, vendors of these types of solutions better have ways to integrate all these events together and provide a unified view of the entire infrastructure and how they impact business services. Fortunately, HP provides such solutions, and based on the demos I observed, people are very impressed.


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel

Should Your CIO Share a Console With the Server Admin?

Dell recently issued a press release announcing its plans to launch an enterprise console that uses a single console vs. “up to 9 for HP”.


HP’s approach has been to provide role-based tools that are optimized for a specific functional area. Each of our tools shares information across related domains.


Let me make an analogy. If you are building an office building, do you want a single set of plans or ones that domain experts can use to make fast and accurate decisions? The structural engineers need to understand loads on beams and columns. Electricians need to determine how to place the conduits and wiring. Plumbers need to know where to place pipes and how to calculate pumping loads and pressures.


Although each ‘discipline’ has their own tools to plan their work (engineer, plumber, electrician) they also have VISIBILITY across what the other disciplines are doing - the shared information model. They can see enough to make sure that (e.g.) electrical wiring is not routed too close to water pipes, or that routings are not planned to go through parts of the building which are fire control areas etc. They can see what they need to know to be successful but they do not have the tools (or skills) to plan the building structure – they are focused on the areas for which they are responsible - the wiring or plumbing.


The point is, each discipline needs specialized information to do their job correctly. The same is true with our IT management products.


Operations Manager consolidates events from ALL domains and ANY vendor, both physical and virtual. This includes servers (from HP and other vendors), storage (from HP and other vendors), networks, applications, middleware, and end-user events and even business transactions. It provides a single pane of glass to understand and identify the root cause of IT problems and greatly reduce trouble shooting time. It delivers tremendous value to our 10,000+ customers. Many use Operations Manager to consolidate events from their S**, I**, and D*** hardware, running Windows or UNIX. The primary users are in the Operations Bridge (ITIL terminology) or Network Operations Center (NOC).


Fixing incidents is closely aligned with the Service Desk. So, HP Operations Manager can automatically open service tickets in HP Service Center or other ticketing products. The service desk has a different tracking paradigm, so they view the information through a more appropriate user interface.


HP servers come with the most complete set of instrumentation available. SIM, Insight Control, Insight Dynamics, Insight Orchestration allow customers to provision, manage, and troubleshoot their systems at a very granular level. The user interfaces are optimized for server administrators, as opposed to first line operators or IT service desk staff. Any event information flows to Operations Center which can use it to open service tickets, if necessary.


For executives (both IT and line of business) who might want to see everything and think a single console is appropriate, we have such a product for that market. Business Availability Center creates dashboards that show the status of Business Services, including the dollar volume of transactions, service levels, and other high-level metrics. While a single pane of glass to the IT infrastructure may sounds appealing at the surface, this audience does not care about the status of individual servers or network devices. They want to know whether their business services are meeting performance and availability targets. And yes, if a problem appears in this console, there are tools to diagnose problems, identify the root cause, and get that information to the experts who can fix them.


And, I have not even discussed our comprehensive suite of business service automation products (BSA). These too deliver specialized functionality and tightly integrate with their respective domains (Server Automation, Network Automation, Storage Essentials, Client Automation) and share information with related products (Operations Orchestration can automate virtually any IT process across any domain).


HP has been doing this for over 15 years. We lead the market - check out the reports from any of the major analyst firms.


How many consoles do you use to run your IT infrastructure (event management, ticketing, troubleshooting, executive dashboard)? What is the ideal number?


For Operations Center <http://www.hp.com/go/opc>, Peter Spielvogel

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