Infrastructure Management Software Blog

HP Discover new product sneak preview

If you are attending HP Discover, make sure to have your sales rep take you into the Innovation Zone. We will be showing an exciting new product that ...

Maximize your investment in Operations Manager, SiteScope, OpenView: Free Practitioner Forum (best practices)

Announcing the launch of the HP Operations Center practitioner's forum where you can interact with other Operations Manager, SiteScope, OpenView customers and HP Subject Matter Experts to share your experiences, learn best practices and get pressing questions answered.

Do you use OpenView?

Of course this is a trick question. HP changed the name of OpenView several years ago. The solution that is the main topic of this blog, HP Operations Manager, was formerly OpenView Operations or OVO. If you are interested in a mapping of all the former OpenView products and their new names...

Expert day is coming. Nov 10, 2010. Ask anything about HP Operations Center

Get your Operations Center questions answered. For 24 hours starting 8am PT 10 Nov we will have operations center experts around the world ready to answer your questions posted in the HP Software Solutions Community.

Proactive monitoring cuts costs of monitoring in half (customer success story)

A German manufacturing company, ZF Lenksysteme, reduced its annual maintenance costs for IT monitoring by 50 percent by centralizing their monitoring using HP Operations Manager and SiteScope.

 

Prior to deploying HP Operations Manager, they found it difficult to identify the cause of an incident, especially when they received multiple alarms for the same problem. And, they had no way to recognize relationships among related alarms.

Q&A from "Service modeling, discovery, and monitoring for VMware environments" webinar

Thank you to all the people who attended the "Service modeling, discovery, and monitoring for VMware environments: 5 tips for optimizing management of your virtual infrastructure" webinar on April 13.


And thank you to my co-presenter, Luigi Tiano, who did an outstanding job in his demo of both our agent-based and agent-less solutions for virtualization management.



For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


Here is the Q&A transcript for the event.


 





































































Question Answer
1. Would a person want to use both agent and agentless monitoring on the same system? When? As we learned during the polling questions, 62% of the respondents already use a combination of agents and agentless monitoring. 
Using both methods on the same system can enhance your monitoring experience and offer a redundant monitoring solution for mission critical servers.
What you use will depend on how you want to manage performance and cost.
If you want to collect many metrics at very granular time intervals, an agent may be best.
If your IT policies prevent you from installing agents on some types of servers, you can still monitor them using SiteScope. And, collecting performance counters with SiteScope is done in a lightweight manner.
2. How often do the service maps update? The Virtualization SPI discovers changes as they occur, usually within minutes, based on monitoring the hypervisor. This is critical in a virtualized environment, which is characterized by frequent changes. The SPI updates the service maps.
In addition, you can control service map discovery using the Service Discovery Policy. The policy discovers all the virtual machines (VMs) configured on the VMware ESX server and creates the service map in HPOM console. The discovery policy contains a parameter which can be configured to suit your specific needs.
3. What are the key metrics someone needs to monitor? This depends on your needs and your specific IT environment.
VMware offers guidance on this issue. Please download their guide to obtain more information about available metrics and their definitions. See page 287. http://www.vmware.com/pdf/ProgrammingGuide201.pdf
4. I get the motivation to consolidate events into a single console. What information from vCenter is lost in using this approach? Despite vCenter’s amazing capabilities, it is VMware only. Operations Manager provides comprehensive management for both your physical and virtual environments. And, if you also use Microsoft HyperV, you can also view those in Operations Manager. By using one solution, you can eliminate “swivel chair management”.
With HP Operations you have the ability to map the relationships and dependencies between your critical business applications and the infrastructure which supports them. This service mapping allows for impact analysis and helps the operations bridge with root cause analysis.
5. How are the different monitoring solutions you discussed priced? For Operations Manager, agents are licensed on a per OS instance basis. The Virtualization SPI is a separate product that augments the agent to pull additional data specific to the VMware or Microsoft hypervisor.
SiteScope is licensed per point. Each point monitors a single metric. We have packages containing points to simplify the purchase process.
Please contact your HP sales rep or an authorized HP partner for a quote.
6. What virtualization platforms can you monitor?

The Operations Manager Virtual Infrastructure SPI provides management of the following:
VMware ESX 3.5, 4
VMware ESXi 3i, 4i
Microsoft Hyper-V server 2008


In addition to these, SiteScope can monitor:
VMware VirtualCenter 2.x
VMware ESX 3.x
VMware ESXi 3.5
VMware ESX 2.5 via VirtualCenter 2.x
VMware ESX 3.x via VirtualCenter 3.x
Citrix
Solaris Zones


7. Does the agent-less system use XML-APIs, SNMP, etc? how does it work? The monitored virtual server or ESX server cluster must be directly accessible by the SiteScope server (no proxy involved).
The virtual server or ESX server cluster provides connection either by HTTP or HTTPS (depending on the VI server configuration). If HTTPS is used, the server
certificate must be imported to SiteScope.
8. WMI is capable of agentless operation to collect all Windows performance metrics. Why does Operations Manager need the SPI? The virtualization SPI will not only collect performance metrics. Besides performance metrics, the agent will allow for service discovery of the VMware infrastructure. The agent will allow a more robust and comprehensive monitoring experience by allowing automatic actions as well as launch VMware specific tools to help diagnose problems.
9. How does Operations Manager tie in with SA NA OO SAR and uCMDB? Operations Manager can manage servers provisioned with Server Automation (SA). Many customers use SA to install the OM agent and set the appropriate policies.
Operations Manager can use Operations Orchestration (OO) to automatically take ownership of events and run work flows to take corrective action.
Operations Manager works closely with the uCMDB. The SPIs discover configuration items in the IT environment and load that information into the uCMDB. SPIs also track changes in the IT environment and annotate the uCMDB.
If you use Operations Manager i, it correlates events using information in the uCMDB to identify the causal event and allow operators to ignore symptoms, speeding the time to problem resolution.
10. In order to monitor the performance of a business transaction (example: Application web portal load, Login, run a query, log off). what pieces of software shall I consider? Agent or agentless? SiteScope and Operations manager are designed to monitor the infrastructure. SiteScope does provide URL monitoring and both SiteScope and Operations Manager can monitor your web services. If you are looking for a true application management solution with real time user monitoring and synthetic transaction monitoring including the end user monitoring, we recommend HP Business Availability Center and the End User Management product suite.
11. Can we get a copy of these slides? You can view slides in the webinar recording.
12. Are there other webinars on other virtualization topics? To attend the other webinars in the CIO Roundtable webinar series, please register at www.hp.com/go/swvirtualizationwebinarseries.


 


 

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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Learn how Independence Blue Cross reduced IT Operations costs

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, Performance Manager, and DDM in addition to agentless and agent-based data collection 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.

HP and Microsoft join forces to simplify infrastructure management

If you have not been living under a rock, you probably have heard about the announcement that HP and Microsoft made to invest $250 million over the next three years to simplify technology environments. There is an HP-Microsoft partnership portal that includes the announcement along with videos of Mark Hurd and Steve Ballmer discussing its importance.


 


This very broad agreement spans hardware and software, both development and marketing, for products and services. In short, HP and Microsoft will collaborate on building the next generation cloud offering. The subheading of the press release says it all. “World’s largest technology company and No. 1 software provider plan to advance cloud computing with industry’s most integrated technology stack”


Many customers discuss the pains of integrating software from multiple vendors. In fact, an all-HP business technology optimization stack is one of our key selling points. But, the reality is that most organizations rely on Windows and other Microsoft applications, such as Exchange, SQL Server, and their HyperV virtualization platform. So, since heterogeneous management is reality, HP and Microsoft decided to join forces to make this process easier for our joint customers. The goal is to improve both IT efficiency along with improved application performance and availability.


In discussions I have had with customers, partners, and colleagues since the announcement, one question keeps coming up:
Q: Will HP continue to invest in OMW to manage Windows environments?
A: YES!


Let me clarify a few issues around this point.



  1. Customers can use any of our Operations Manager servers, running on Linux (OML), Windows (OMW), or UNIX (OMU) to manage infrastructure running Windows along with many other platforms. This applies whether the managed nodes are physical or virtual. The more complex the IT environment, the more value HP Operations Manager delivers by consolidating events into a single console.

  2. For customers using Microsoft System Center Operations Center (SCOM), they will be able, as they are today, to continue to use that to manage Windows environments and consolidate those events and others into Operations Manager. The joint investments will make the process even easier.

  3. Joint development will also make management of Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server even more effective on HP Operations Manager.


I look forward to engaging with my Microsoft counterparts to evolve the next generation infrastructure management platform and make our customers even more efficient at managing their complex, heterogeneous IT environments.


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.

Does it take a rocket scientist to manage IT? (customer visit summary)

I recently had the opportunity to meet with a long-time HP customer at our executive briefing center. They were visiting to learn best practices about making their infrastructure more agile to allow tighter collaboration among different parts of their network. Increasing their operational efficiency was another key concern.


The customer brought a team of nine people consisting of architects, engineers, business systems analysts, and IT managers. The agenda included an overview of several HP product centers, including Business Service Management. We focused on the non-classified part of their network, which still contained several tiers of security, ranging from “open” to “sensitive”.


One interesting part of the day was a tour of an HP POD (Performance-Optimized Datacenter). It looks like a standard 40-foot shipping container, but contains a complete datacenter, consisting of 22 racks that can accommodate over 3500 blade servers. All you do is connect power and cooling water and you have instant capacity. This beats the roughly two years to bring a standard datacenter online.


On the software side, they use products from practically every major vendor. One challenge with this approach is integrating all the pieces together. SiteScope (agentless monitoring) comprises one part of their monitoring solution. I had a long discussion with their IT Manager of production systems about how to leverage what they have and extend their IT management with HP Operations Center. (Read a solution brief about HP Operations Manager for HP SiteScope customers.)
Over time, they plan to simplify their infrastructure monitoring by relying a few key tools.


After reviewing the entire HP BTO portfolio, we whiteboarded several different approaches they could follow to evolve their infrastructure. After some debate about the relative value and dependencies, everyone agreed that starting with a CMDB project made the most sense. Why? Because all the other planned projects will rely on the CMDB for information about the infrastructure, the relationships among configuration items, and how these relate to their business services. For example, Operations Manager i (OMi) combines event streams with information in the CMDB (using a technology called topology-based event correlation or TBEC) to determine the causal event when several related events hit the console around the same time.


This will prove to be a very interesting project as it evolves over the next several years.


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.

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.


 

Enhance the visibility of IT infrastructure problems (customer case study)

The combination of HP Operations Center and HP Business Availability Center provides a combined top-down and bottom-up view of your IT infrastructure. While the improved visibility into events and their causes certainly makes life easier for the Operations Bridge staff, the real benefit is improving customer satisfaction, enhancing delivery of business services, and improving productivity of the IT staff.


This is exactly what happened when Virgin Atlantic Airways deployed HP’s Business Service Management solution.


Mark Cameron, head of IT architecture, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd tells it best:
“Alerts from Operations Manager and other HP software now enter a single console and our IT operations team can see everything across our estate. Personnel view incidents, monitor trends and anticipate potential problems proactively rather than wait for calls from end-users. For example, if there is a trend towards an increasing use of disk space, we plan preventative maintenance to resolve the problem before it affects end-users by jeopardizing availability.”


You can read the complete Virgin Atlantic success story.


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.

Sonja Hickey has joined the HP Operations Center team

My name is Sonja Hickey and I just joined the HP Operations Center team 3 days ago.  I will be focusing on the data collection aspects of the Operations Center product line and working with Peter Spielvogel and Jon Haworth as a Product Marketing Manager.


I’m really excited to be working for Hewlett-Packard for several reasons.  First, I like HP’s financial strength, which I think is due to its diversification in many different areas.  It’s pretty obvious that HP doesn’t put all of its eggs in one basket and that has paid off.  You’ll learn through my posts that I am very much into investing and as I read through my latest financial newsletters, I take note of comments like “HP has a pragmatic culture” and “HP was better positioned than most when the recession hit”.  I think you can now see why I’m very happy to be part of the HP team.


I also truly believe in the products that I will be representing - products that help IT teams effectively monitor and manage their IT infrastructure and environment.  In my opinion, these are not “nice-to-have” products, but rather “must-have” products for any company that want to be successful in today’s marketplace.


On a different note, I’d like take this opportunity to let you know a little about me.  From a work/career perspective, I’ve primarily worked in the high-tech space in either product management or product marketing roles for the past 12 years.  Outside of work, my free time is spent with my family (3 children and a wonderful husband) as well as reading historical fiction books and honing my investing skills (sorry, I don’t provide stock tips!).


I’d like to end this post with a request.  Pease do not hesitate to post a comment should you have any questions, concerns, issues, etc. around the Operations Center products.  This will help me understand the problems and issues you face and how our products can help solve them.  I may not have an immediate answer or I may not be the right person to answer your question, but I will get back to you.  That’s a promise.


Thanks so much for reading my blog and I look forward to hearing from you. 


For HP Operations Center, Sonja Hickey.


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


Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group on LinkedIn.


 

Job Opening – Operations Center Product Marketing Manager

12-October-2009 update
This position is now filled.
Thank you to everyone that applied for this position. I really appreciate your interest. Stay tuned for an announcement on this blog in early November when the new person joins the blogging roster.
- Peter


As a reader of this blog, you already know about the products we have launched, how they interact with other hardware and software products within HP, and most important, how Operations Center allows customers to save money and improve the performance of their IT infrastructure.


We are now expanding our product marketing team by hiring another product marketing manager. This person can be based anywhere in the United States. Here is the official job description:


Description



  • Based on a strong knowledge of trends in the industry affect the strategy/direction of the product line/line of services or solutions

  • Suggest strategy changes internally and with external partners

  • Lead projects that involve cross-functional coordination to provide integrated products/services/ solutions

  • Improve processes affecting their workgroup and interfaces; e.g., forecast system, obsolesces process with retailers

  • Seen by sales team as an expert in the products/services/solutions and regularly is called on to defend the benefits in front of customers or partners

  • Regularly recommend product/ service/solution strategic direction to senior management

  • Often create innovative solutions to enhance sales of the product lines or line of services/solutions

  • Seen by sales team as an expert in the products/services/solutions and regularly is called on to defend the benefits in front of customers or partners

  • Influences at the senior vice president and above level


Education and Experience Required



  • College degree in Marketing/Business/Technical

  • Up to 25% travel required

  • Domain expertise:  experience with infrastructure management technologies and product or solution marketing.

  • Field experience:  SW sales, technical sales, SW presales, network solution sales, channel sales or business development.


Knowledge and Skills Required



  • 10 years in product marketing fundamentals

  • Strong leadership capabilities

  • Minimum 1 year work experience in a general marketing function beyond Product Marketing


To Apply



  1. Visit: http://www.hp.com/go/jobs

  2. Search for job number 308597


Please - save your time and ours – only apply if you meet the qualifications.


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.  

Innovation Week Part 5 - Managing IT: Mobile Edition

In a meeting last week with our partner AlarmPoint, we were talking about how innovations in mobile computing are driving people to do more on their mobile devices, both professionally and personally. I asked Christel Mes, Director of Marketing at AlarmPoint, to share her thoughts about mobile management options for IT Operations Staff. Here is her post.
Peter Spielvogel, Product Marketing Manager, Operations Center


After a meeting I had with the HP Operations Center team today, I wanted to share some thoughts for customers looking to become more efficient through mobility. Especially in today's fast-paced dynamic enterprise, accelerating business initiatives and executing lean processes are a must to drive operational efficiency. HP Operations Manager users must leverage mobile staff, providing them with secure remote access to relevant systems required to manage complex and distributed IT environments. It is estimated that 41% of an IT organization is currently considered mobile or remote. Times have changed drastically since the days of watching a console or carrying a pager to be alerted of critical events.


 AlarmPoint screen


With the latest version of HP Operation Manager on Unix, Version 9, which shipped in early June, AlarmPoint Systems Alert Management and Mobility software has been included in the bundled package. Recognizing the importance of mobility, AlarmPoint will allow HP OMU customers to view, edit, annotate, research, trouble shoot and take remote actions on all events coming from OMU, through one consistent, secure, authenticated and audited access point. Now IT is able to resolve events faster, away from their console on any web-enabled mobile device including, BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and others.


To learn more about how HP OM and AlarmPoint work together or to download the AlarmPoint Express product – visit https://express.alarmpoint.com/hp.


In addition, check out the AlarmPoint Blog: http://blogs.alarmpoint.com/tmcalpin/


 

Automated Infrastructure Discovery - Extreme Makeover

Good Discovery Can Uncover Hidden Secrets
Infrastructure discovery has something of a bad reputation in some quarters. We've done some recent surveys of companies utilizing a variety of vendors’ IT operations products. What's interesting is that, in our survey results, automated infrastructure discovery fared pretty badly in terms of the support that it received within organizations - and also in terms of the success that they believed they had achieved.
 
There are a number of reasons underlying these survey results. Technology issues and organizational challenges were highlighted in our survey. But I believe that one of the main 'issues' that discovery has is that people have lost sight of its basic values and the benefits that they can bring. Organizations see 'wide reaching' discovery initiatives as complex to implement and maintain - and they do not see compelling short term benefits.
 
I got to thinking about discovery and the path that it has taken over the last 15 or 20 years. I remember the excitement when HP released its first cut of Network Node Manager. It included discovery that showed people things about their networks that they just did not know. There were always surprises when we took NNM into new sites to demonstrate it. Apart from showing folks what was actually connected to the network, NNM also showed how the network was structured, the topology.
 
Visualization --> Association --> Correlation
And once people can see and visualize those two sets of information they start to make associations about how events detected in the network relate to each other - they use the discovery information to optimize their ability to operate the network infrastructure.
 
So the next logical evolution for tools like NNM was to start building some of the analysis into the software as 'correlation'. For example the ability to determine that the 51 "node down" events you just received are actually just one "router down' event and 50 symptoms generated by the nodes that are 'behind' the router in the network topology. Network operators could ignore the 'noise' and focus on the events that were likely causes of outages. Pretty simple stuff (in principle) but very effective at optimizing operational activities.
 
Scroll forward 15 years. Discovery technologies now extend across most aspects of infrastructure and the use cases are much more varied. Certainly inventory maintenance is a key motivator for many organizations - both software and hardware discovery play important roles in supporting asset tracking and license compliance activities. Not hugely exciting for most Operational Management teams.
 
Moving Towards Service Impact Analysis
Service impact analysis is a more significant capability for Operations Management teams and is a goal that many organizations are chasing. Use discovery to find all my infrastructure components - network devices, servers, application and database instances - and tie them together so I can see how my Business Services are using the infrastructure. Then, when I detect an event on a network device or database I can understand which Business Services might be impacted and I can prioritize my operational resources and activities. Some organizations are doing this quite successfully and getting significant benefits in streamlining their operational management activities and aligning them with the priorities of the business.
 
But there is one benefit of discovery which seems to have been left by the side of the road. The network discovery example I started with provides a good reference. Once you know what is 'out there' and how it is connected together then you can use that topology information to understand how failures in one part of the infrastructure can cause 'ghost events' - symptom events' - to be generated by infrastructure components which rely in some way on the errant component. When you get 5 events from a variety of components - storage, database, email server, network devices - then if you know how those components are 'connected' you can relate the events together and determine which are symptoms and which is the likely cause.
 
Optimizing the Operations Bridge
Now, to be fair, many organizations understand that this is important in optimizing their operational management activities. In our survey, we found that many companies deploy skilled people with extensive knowledge of the infrastructure into the first level operations bridge to help make sense of the event stream - try to work out which events to work on and which are dead ends. But it's expensive to do this - and not entirely effective. Operations still end up wasting effort by chasing symptoms before they deal with the actual cause event. Inevitably this increases mean time to repair, increases operational costs and degrades the quality of service delivered to the business.
 
So where is the automation? We added correlation to network monitoring solutions years ago to help do exactly this stuff, why not do 'infrastructure wide' correlation'?
 
Well, it's a more complex problem to solve of course. And there is also the problem that many (most?) organizations just do not have comprehensive discovery across all of their infrastructure. Or if they do have good coverage it's from a variety of tools so it's not in one place where all of the inter-component relationships can be analyzed.
 
Topology Based Event Correlation - Automate Human Judgment
This is exactly the problem which we've been solving with our Topology Based Event Correlation (TBEC)  technology. Back to basics - although the developers would not thank me for saying that, as it's a complex technology. Take events from a variety of sources, do some clever stuff to map them to the discovered components in the discovery database (discovered using a number of discrete tools) and then use the relationships between the discovered components to automatically do what human operators are trying to do manually - indicate the cause event.
 
Doing this stuff automatically for network events made sense 15 years ago, doing it across the complexity of an entire infrastructure makes even more sense today. It eliminates false starts and wasted effort.
 
This is a 'quick win' for Operational Management teams. Improved efficiency, reduced operational costs, free up senior staff to work on other activities… better value delivered to the business (and of course huge pay raises for the Operations Manager).
 
So what do you need to enable TBEC to help streamline your operations. Well, you need events from infrastructure monitoring tools - and most organizations have more than enough of those. But you also need infrastructure discovery information - the more the better.
 
Maybe infrastructure discovery needs a makeover.

 

For HP Operations Center, Jon Haworth


 

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


 

The Infrastructure Management Blogging Team

Here are some short bios for the new HP Infrastructure Management Software team.

 

Dennis Corning 


For the past year Dennis has led the product and solutions marketing efforts for HP Operations Center (formerly OpenView Operations). In this role he is responsible for positioning, messaging, strategy, enablement, and go-to-market programs. Previously, Dennis led product marketing for BAC. Prior to joining HP he held various marketing, sales, business development and alliances roles with Mercury Interactive (acquired by HP), Concord Communications (acquired by CA), Precise Software (acquired by Veritas Software) and BMC Software.

 

Jon Haworth 


Jon is currently a Product Marketing Manager for the HP Software Operations Center portfolio of products. He has 25 years experience working for HP across a variety of roles including consulting, pre-sales and marketing. Jon has designed and implemented large-scale infrastructure management solutions for a number of Fortune 1000 enterprises. Jon is an early adopter and continued advocate for ITIL having gained his ITIL V2 Service Management certification in 1996.

 

Peter Spielvogel 


Peter is a Product Marketing Manager for the HP Software Operations Center portfolio of products. He has helped companies in financial services, life sciences, manufacturing, and publishing improve their competitiveness, generate productivity improvements, and boost their bottom line. Over the past 20 years Peter has held marketing, sales, product management, and software development positions at Ipedo, Applied Materials, Solomon Brothers, Prudential Securities, and several startups.

 

For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.

 

Consolidated IT Operations: Return of the Prodigal Son

Let's face it, the concept of bringing together all of your IT infrastructure monitoring into a single "NOC" or Operations Bridge has been around for years. Mainframe folks will tell you they were doing this stuff 30 years ago.

 

Unfortunately, in the distributed computer systems world, a lot of organizations have still not managed to successfully consolidate all of their IT infrastructure operations. I see a lot of companies who believe that they have made good progress, often they've managed to pull together most of the server and application operations activities, maybe minimized the number of monitoring tools that they use.

 

But when you dig below the surface, often there will be a separate network operations team, and maybe an application support team that owns a 'special' application. And of course the admins who are responsible for the roll out of the new virtualization technology - that just "cannot" be monitored by the normal operations tools and processes.

 

And that's the problem... Often there is resistance from a number of different angles to initiatives which try to pull end-to-end infrastructure monitoring into a single place. Legacy organizational resistance is probably the biggest challenge - silos have a tendency to be very difficult to 'flatten'.

 

Another common theme is that the technical influencers (architects, consultants, application specialists etc.) in the organization create FUD that the toolset used by the operations teams is not suitable for monitoring the new technology that they are rolling out. They need to use their own special monitoring solution or the project will fail. Because it's a new technology and everyone is scared of a failed rollout, management acquiesces and another little fragmented set of monitoring technology, organization and processes is born. Every new technology has potential for this - I've seen it happen with MS Windows, Linux, Active Directory, Citrix, VMware - the list is endless.

 

So what? I hear you say, what's your point? Well I'm seeing a lot of organizations revisiting the whole topic of consolidating their IT operations and establishing a single Operations Bridge - and making some significant changes.

 

Why now? Simple - to reduce the Operational Expenditures associated with keeping the lights on. In the current economic climate organizations are motivated 'top down' to drive cost out wherever they can. Initiatives that deliver cost reductions in the short term get executive sponsors. There is also a lot lower tolerance for the kinds of hurdles that used to be raised as objections - organizational silos get flattened, tool portfolios are rationalized.

 

It's not just about cutting cost of course. Simply reducing headcount would achieve that goal, but the chances are that the quality of IT service delivered to the business would suffer, and there would be direct impacts on the ability of the business to function.

 

Of course, the trick is to consolidate into an Operations Bridge, and be able to deliver the same or higher quality IT services to the business but with reduced cost. Often the economies of scale and streamlined, consistent processes that are enabled by an Operations Bridge will deliver significant benefits - and reduce OpEx.

 

This is where HP's Operation Center solutions have focussed for the last 12 or 15 years. In my next post I'll talk about where HP see the next significant gains being made - where are we focusing so we can help our customers to take their existing Operations Bridge and significantly increase efficiency and effectiveness.

 

In the meantime, if you want to read a little more about the case for consolidated operations, take a look at this white paper "Working Smart in IT Operations - the case for consolidated operations".

 

For HP Operations Center, Jon Haworth.

 

 

ROI for IT Infrastructure Monitoring - Measuring what Matters

I read an interesting post and related ebook by David Meerman Scott on why traditional marketing ROI measures lead to failure. His premise is that measuring marketing metrics such as number of sales leads captured and press mentions lead to the wrong behaviors and in some ways undermine one of the primary goals of marketing, which is to increase sales and market share. So, why is everyone in both marketing and IT so focused on ROI?

 

The answer is that focusing on the return of your investments in different parts of the business allows you to allocate scare resources and drive the best returns for the shareholders. They key is tracking the metrics that matter. Here are two examples, one from marketing and one from IT.

 

In previous positions, I have created marketing dashboards that charted many the items that Mr. Scott slammed. Why would I or other seasoned marketing professionals do this? One reason is that some metrics are relatively easy to track (such as leads captured at a trade show or the number of responses to a marketing campaign). Correlating these to the real goal of increasing sales is much trickier and requires much heavier monitoring infrastructure including obtaining accurate input from sales and customers about the number of touches and how individual marketing campaigns or programs influenced each stage of the sales process. Few companies have the will or discipline to do this.

 

On the IT side, there are also easily-trackable metrics. Server utilization, power consumption, and application uptime appear on many IT dashboards. While these are certainly important, what really matters is how the IT infrastructure supports the business goals. Business owners care about:



  • Availability - can my users access the applications they need?

  • Performance - does the application deliver an acceptable response time?

  • Data accuracy - does the application maintain data integrity?
 

Again, tracking these business-focused metrics is harder than focusing on ones that are easy to gather from element managers that often accompany systems. But, the right management software and some automated processes make it straight forward to create IT dashboards with mean. This is what the field of business service management is all about. BSM links the underlying infrastructure and applications to business outcomes such as those listed above.

 

To learn more about BSM, please visit my colleague Mike Shaw’s BSM blog or download a white paper about HP’s approach to BSM.

 

In future posts, I and my fellow bloggers will address how robust IT infrastructure monitoring contributes to delivering availability, performance, and accurate data

 

For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


 

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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