Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Analysis of HP announcement at VMworld (podcast)

At VMworld, HP announced its virtualization smart plug-in (SPI) for Operations Center. For companies using Operations Manager as the consolidated event and performance management console, this allows them to see events from VMware Virtual Center in the Operations Manager console.


The implications of the “Virtualization SPI” for business operations are significant. This means operators can manage all events, from both the physical and virtual infrastructure, through a single Operations Bridge. The virtualization team can focus on planning and strategy, leaving the tier 1 operators to manage events.


Dennis Corning, product marketing manager for virtualization, comments on the announcement in this podcast, which I recorded at VMworld.



For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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HP Software Universe Recap - The Show must go on!

I just returned from a week in Las Vegas attending HP Software Universe. It was time well spent due to the priceless face-to-face interaction and open dialog we had with our customers and non-customers (over 2,000 attendees).


I believe the attendees left the conference pleased with HP’s decision to proceed with the event in light of the economic downturn, while many of our competitors cancelled their events. HP could have easily pulled the plug but again demonstrated its unwavering commitment to our customers by proceeding full speed.


I like to thank the strong number of attendees who had been scrutinized by their finance teams for wanting to attend (In Las Vegas nonetheless). I like to think the large number of attendees cemented HP Software's position and strength in the market similar to the number of text votes received by contestants on American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, etc... Thank you to each of our customers and partners who attended! 


Many of the customers I spoke with also gave me the impression they felt our competitors are more focused on their bottom line than the customers’ bottom line. Every customer I spoke with wanted to know how HP can help them save money and position themselves for the upswing. They know that their choices will determine how their company will be positioned when the economy turns around.




Webinars and virtual tradeshows can only go so far to share critical information that customers require to make sound investment decisions. I for one am proud that HP executives made the decision to invest in our customers’ success. I believe this investment will help our customers get through the tough times and give them a competitive advantage to ride the wave when the tide turns.


IT is similar to HP Software’s decision to hold this event because in both cases doing nothing is not an option! Companies must innovate and invest in bad times to become the champion during good times.


HP’s customers have spoken - The show must go on. Thank you!


For Operations Center, Dennis Corning.

Customer Advisory Board for BSM at Software Universe

Today was the first day of Software Universe. I attended the parts of the Customer Advisory Board meeting that pertained to Operations Manager.


Some common issues emerged from the discussions:
Customers still face challenges regarding integrating information from disparate IT silos. They are looking for a manager of managers to consolidate events into a single console. One customer from the health care industry said in his presentation “a single pane of glass does not mean the same pane of glass”. The implication is that front-line operator need an event console, second tier subject matter experts need advanced diagnostic tools, and executives need a dashboard that just shows what is running.


In jest, someone from the financial services industry suggested that business executives could use the event console, just on a 30 minute delay, analogous to a stock ticker that runs on a delay. This would give the operators time to fix problems before the execs panicked and started calling people in the middle of the night. Eliminating these calls was a high priority of the IT executives in the room.


What got people excited:



  • OMU 9.0, especially the new Web-based admin GUI that allows multiple operators to work in parallel in different roles.

  • OMi, especially the ability to connect BAC end-user events to business services and more quickly identify the root cause of problems.


More from the show floor during the week. 


For Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel

Implications of virtualization on IT operations (Software Universe presentation)

Both HP Software Universe and HP Technology Forum and Expo will occur next week in Las Vegas. What is new this year is attendees of HP Technology Forum can attend a portion for HP Software Universe for a nominal fee. Details are available online or on-site during the registration process.


I am very excited and fortunate to be presenting the following presentation at both events.


Implications of virtualization on IT operations
Abstract:  Virtualization is becoming a key driver toward eliminating IT infrastructure costs (CAPEX) yet it is unclear as to the implications it will have on operating expense (OPEX). Virtualization implementations create a new set of challenges for IT Operations. In this session we will consider those challenges as compared with the lessons learned from past disruptive technologies (i.e. client server, web services, etc...) and use the conclusions reached to help you deal with the virtualization wave in an cost effective manner. You will also have an opportunity to provide feedback that will help influence HP’s future direction in event and performance management for the virtualization ecosystem.


Tuesday June 16, 2009 2:30pm at HP Technology Forum and Expo – Session 3761


Wednesday June 17, 2009 at 2:30pm at Software Universe – Session 1070


If you have any topics you would like covered during the presentations, please leave a comment on the blog or contact me directly.


The Operations Team will be posting updates from the show on this blog.


For Operations Center, Dennis Corning.

A New Puppy, IT Operations and the Economy

My family and I picked up a new Brittany puppy this past Thursday with mass excitement mixed with some degree of uncertainty. Yeah, I know what you are thinking: What were you thinking? We took a stable situation and introduced something new and exciting in the hope of improving the overall environment.


With the economy tsunami we are in, it may not the best time to expand a family from 4 to 5. The weeks prior to picking up Clancy were spent reading various puppy care books from our local library to ensure we were ready. I was expecting to find a single “how to” book/manual but each writer had a little different advice and perspective. I suspect the variety of opinions might be similar to the numerous bosses you have had in your IT Operations career.


My family is making sacrifices to improve our quality of life by adding Clancy. Any spare time we had before is now consumed by the usually duties of feeding, walking, and picking up after him. One significant change I anticipate for my kids is as nothing can be left on the floor. Before the puppy came home it was ok to leave something out if you are going to use it again. My kids probably took this liberty for granted. I suspect this eye-opening adjustment to strategically placed toys is similar to the shock IT Operations teams face today learning that their standard allocation of budget to keep the lights on will probably shrink significantly this year.


Prior to the downturn in the economy it was standard practice for a company to spend 70% of its IT budget “keeping the lights on”. Was 70% the right amount to allocate?  Should it remain the same to avoid impacting service levels? I am afraid I do not have an answer to this question nor do I believe many IT Operations Managers know for sure. I do not claim to have magic pixie dust, no book or manual of running IT operations in the year 2009-2010.


What I can tell you from a recent market study is that many IT organizations buy Performance and Availability monitoring tools along with an Event Management system with good intentions. They plan to “centralize event processing” at an Operations Bridge inside their organization but for various reasons never quite get there.


The study revealed that most companies have more than one event console in their IT Organization and provides an opportunity to reduce CAPEX and OPEX by streamlining their IT Operations process and tool sets. Now given the fact most IT budgets will be cut, is this the time to change your environment to a centralized console for event management? It worked for HP, but we need to eat our own dog food.


Are you willing to take the leap and endure some short term discomfort to permanently lower your IT cost structure?


For Operations Center, Dennis Corning.

Does Virtualization Consolidate Your IT Operations Or Fragment Them?

Customers tell me constantly they are consolidating their tools sets to drive efficiency and reduce operating costs. They tell me they do not want hundreds of point tools that they have to integrate themselves. They tell me they want to spend more time working on strategic projects and less on keeping the lights on. They tell me that they have Virtualization projects that are following the same path as previous innovation projects. When is it going to stop?

 

The average IT organization spends 70-80% of their budget “keep the lights on” and not innovating. As a result, most IT organizations are looking for ways to reduce their IT operations costs so they can free up resources to work on more strategic business demands.

 

Most customers are modifying their cost structure through consolidation projects (Data Center Transformation). The goal for these consolidation projects is to eliminate redundancy and more importantly increase efficiency to avoid and minimize downtime.

 

There are many types of IT consolidation that can occur but the most common are organizational, and datacenter consolidations. In both cases virtualization is often one of the key enabling technologies deployed. Each of these projects usually kicks off an IT management tools re-evaluation.

 

Unfortunately as IT organizations invest in these projects they are often very disruptive and counter productive to IT initiatives focused on reducing operating costs. I believe it is due to the lack of planning on how to best manage the new technologies once deployed.

 

Virtualization promises to deliver significant hardware and software license cost savings and thus very attractive to companies trying to reduce capital expenses. What is not understood by most companies is the fact that every new technology deployed can be very disruptive to IT Operations goal of keeping the lights on and potentially increase operating expenses.

 

Virtualization is not alone. Think back when your organization first deployed new technologies like, PCs, Client Server, Web, ERP, SOA, etc. How disruptive was it? How long did it take to get the management technologies embedded into your IT Operations processes correctly? For most companies it was too long, which drove the need to consolidate the number of management vendors because it was too costly and inefficient to maintain multiple home grown integrations, event management systems, dashboards, and IT processes.

 

Most of the disruptions were because IT organizations do not know where or how to integrate the data received by the multiple tools deployed or where different organizational boundaries should lie. This is where HP Software and Solutions has helped thousands of customers over the past 15 years drive the cost out of IT operations through tools consolidation projects.

 

What disruptions have you encountered during your data center consolidation project? Or, how did careful planning avoid the pitfalls that trip up most IT professionals.

 

For HP Operations Center, Dennis Corning


 

Is Managing Virtual Servers Just Like Managing Physical Servers?

As I travel and speak with customers, partners and analysts firms, I keep hearing that ownership for virtualization management is fragmented within the IT organization. Some companies have even created a new role called the Virtualization Administrator. Why?

 

If virtual servers are just like the legacy “physical” or dedicated servers why is there such a fragmentation in monitoring responsibilities, tools and processes today? Haven’t we learned from previous technology innovation that when it comes to IT Operations, the sooner the monitoring tools and process are streamlined into the standard operating procedure the better?

 

Take a look inside your organization today. Are you fragmenting the monitoring and management of your Virtual Servers? Are you deploying point products to manage your Virtual Server farms separate from your physical servers? You know from previous projects the sooner you streamline the management tools into the process the more efficiently IT can keep the lights on while freeing up resources to execute more strategic projects.

 

So what do you need to successfully manage Virtual Servers, the applications running on them and the underlying network? The same tools you already use to manage these entities prior to virtualization (HP Operations Center, formerly OpenView), with some enhancements to monitor the virtual layer.

 

The enhancement comes in the form of a new HP Smart Plug In (SPIs) for Virtualization. This new SPI for Virtualization plugs into HP Operations Manager and delivers the following:



  • Uses a common methodology to monitor both Physical (dedicated) and Virtual Servers.

  • Monitors both performance and availability of VM host and guests independent of each other to provide current status

  • Automates the creation of baselines and setting thresholds to reduces configuration overhead

  • Auto-discovery and visualization of the virtualized environment—including the dependency between the ESX host system and each guest system and updates service navigator views

  • Provides a single console to simplify operation tasks. When a metric exceeds a defined threshold it alerts Operators and provides instructions for fixing the problem and/or launch corrective actions automatically or manually

  • Delivers comprehensive reporting on the short- and long-time behavior for a virtualized system.

The alternative is to use a native tool that came with your virtualization platform or buy a niche point product. Both approaches can be effective for the Virtualization Administration team but does it enable you to drive the cost out of IT Operations? My recommendation is to extend your HP Operations Center deployment to ensure you continue to optimize your cost structure.

 

Let me know why or why not centralizing your physical and virtual operations into a single console is right for you.


For HP Operations Center, Dennis Corning

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