Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Top 3 IT Operations predictions for 2011

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



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.

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).

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.

Virtualization provisioning: 6 minutes to server! 6 hours to service?

(A guest post from Kalyan Ramanathan, virtualization expert from HP’s Business Service Automation group.)

It is one of the key promises of virtualization - it makes IT move very fast. You can scale up and down in minutes - all you do is stand up more virtual infrastructure and you are done.

But, does it really work as advertised? Are you just scaling servers or launching full business services?

It turns out that making this new infrastructure IT service-ready isn’t exactly that simple. While provisioning a virtual server is fairly simple now - all you is clone the server template and start the new virtual server (and many virtualization vendors already provide tools to do so), the virtual server still needs to be provisioned with storage and network resources to make the server usable. And this requires coordination with the storage and network teams - tickets need to be created, server/storage/network details need to be provided and cross-silo tasks need to be orchestrated to make this all work. And this “weakest link” can now eliminate the agility benefits of virtualization.

A virtualization customer recently described the problem as the 6 minute, 6 hour conundrum – it takes 6 minutes to provision the server and then it takes another 6 hours to provision and configure storage and network resources and scale up the service.

The HP Business Service Automation suite focuses on provisioning complete business services, across applications, servers, network and storage. The solution accelerates the time to scale the IT service. It includes the following products.
• HP Operations Orchestration coordinates the end to end process and the various steps in the process
• HP Server Automation provisions the virtual servers and applications
• HP Storage Essentials creates and provisions storage to the virtual server
• HP Network Automation configures network resources and settings
• HP Client Automation can configure thin clients and server images to support the scaled up service.

All these solutions work across physical and virtual infrastructure from HP and other vendors.

Is your IT group bragging about 6 minutes to a new server while the line of business managers are left waiting for their service to go live? How long does it take you to provision a service so it is completely ready to run?

For business service automation, Kalyan Ramanathan.

Virtualization: IT Nirvana or CapEx for OpEx Tradeoff?

Today’s post is from Kalyan Ramanathan, who manages virtualization initiatives for our data center automation group. This is the first in a series of posts on how organizations use automation to improve their IT infrastructure management.
- Peter

Even in this down economy, data center virtualization is all the rage and that is for a good reason - virtualization brings many benefits, including infrastructure consolidation, reduced power usage, data center footprint etc. Not everything is rosy in this picture, though. Virtualization also introduces several challenges and IT management is definitely a critical one.

The beauty of virtualization is that this dirty little “management” monster only rears its head once you are deep into the dungeon!

Let us explain what I mean in the context of a recent conversation that I had with the data center managers of a large financial enterprise. This enterprise started out with a consolidation project and instantly found value by virtualizing its servers. By consolidating its Windows and Linux servers, IT was able to see a 20-30% reduction in servers counts. Fewer servers meant lower power usage and freed up data center racks. Managing the initial virtualization candidates – print server, Web servers was not that bad either, and a basic set of scripts and tools sufficed. The CIO is thrilled with the instant CapEx saving and IT became a hero.

Fast forward a year.

With their initial success, data center managers pushed to virtualize a large portion of their data center. So now that same IT department has 3x the number of servers. IT has more vendor technologies to contend with – VMware, Microsoft HyperV, Xen, etc. and each of these servers – hypervisors and virtual machines - needs to be configured and patched in a economy that prevents any IT headcount increases. And what about the agility and flexibility benefits?

While managing the homogenous Web farm servers was simple, the same cannot be said of complex applications that depend on resources such as storage, network etc. The data center managers were facing a severe operational issue. Left unattended, this problem was only going to become worse. “We traded CapEx for OpEx”, noted the director of operations, as he articulated their management challenges.

Are you seeing similar problems in your datacenter? Post a comment about your key management challenges.

You might want to read a free e-book by Realtime Publishers on Virtualization and Service Automation for some shortcuts on how to start a virtualization initiative and several pitfalls to avoid.

For Business Service Automation, Kalyan Ramanathan

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