Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Interesting ITIL discussion ... but was the key point missing?

I've been following a thread within an ITIL forum where a company is just starting to use incident and problem management processes and a thought struck me - does ITIL address the possibility of automation and "connecting the dots" when it comes to Incident and Problem Management?

From 2.5 hours to 25 hours. Poor collaboration leads to a long flight home.

A series of airline problems recently caused the time for me to return home to increase by a factor of 10. Could better software have improved the situation? How could this happen in perfect weather? How can all traces of a flight “disappear”? Could this happen to you?

Automating Operations Management (free webinar and white paper)

Automation has become a hot topic in IT. The NY Times recently posted a blog titled “Beware, Humans. The Era of Automation Software Has Begun”. It contains quotes from HP’s Ann Livermore, Executive Vice President, HP Enterprise Business.


I am speaking at a webinar tomorrow that discusses how to automation IT management using a combination of HP Operations Manager and HP Operations Orchestration. My colleague Ralph Capasso will also be speaking and running a live demo of how Operations Manager and HP Operations Orchestration work seamlessly together to diagnose, triage, and repair IT problems.


If you are tired of spending your IT budget on fixing the same recurring problems, then this webinar is for you.


Here is the abstract:


Automating Operations Management
HP Operations Manager & HP Operations Orchestration better together


Manual processes are resource-intensive and error-prone yet over 70% of 2009 IT budgets go into keeping current operations running.
 
With use case scenarios, customer case studies , and demos, learn how HP Operations Manager and HP Operations Orchestration together can help you:


• Reduce time to resolve issues from hours to seconds
• Automate the handling of up to 65% alerts from your IT infrastructure
• Save over $4M annually by automating handling of alerts
 
Learn how to create a predictable and cost-efficient approach. HP Operations Manager and HP Operations Orchestration work together to automate routine processes that isolate and diagnose service-impacting problems in complex environments.


Register now at www.hp.com/go/oodemo.
(If you read this post after September 30, 2009, this link will take you to a recording of the webinar).


The registration process is a bit clunky, so please follow these steps to avoid confusion:


1. visit the site: www.hp.com/go/oodemo
2. click on register



3. complete the form and click on “submit” on the upper right side of the page (you will need to scroll back to the top)
4. Wait for the top panel to paint and select the live “Automating Operations Management” event. It will then provide you a calendar entry with the login details.



If you want to learn more about the topic prior to the webinar, you can read the attached white paper. See bottom of this page to download the PDF file (EMA_HP-OO_WP_20090812b_4AA2-8864ENW.pdf), next to the word "attachment".



For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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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.

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 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.

Making the Best Use of the Tools You Have

I spent the day today at our executive briefing center with a customer that provides online spend management services. They have a number of our data center products, so we spent most of the day discussing integration. The agenda was simple. They wanted to learn how to:




  1. Make the best use of the tools they have


  2. Determine where they should be looking next

First, let’s examine their environment, which in turn drives their requirements.


Hardware
They have a variety of hardware, some HP servers and storage and some from other vendors. Some of this hardware is at the end of its lifecycle and in line for replacement. They want to dramatically reduce their power consumption with the replacement servers. Part of the savings will come from consolidation onto fewer, more powerful machines; part from newer hardware that is more energy efficient. We did not discuss replacement hardware explicitly today, but one topic of concern was that their current infrastructure management software must have the flexibility to manage future hardware purchases.


Virtualization
They are very interested in moving aggressively towards virtualizing most of their IT infrastructure. They want to be able to manage both physical and virtual servers and storage using a single set of instrumentation.


Software
Service Desk. They are using most of the modules within HP Service Manager. This allows them to manage their help desk efficiently and track changes throughout the enterprise.
Configuration Management Database. They have HP’s uCMDB (“u” for universal), which manages all the configuration items (CI) within their enterprise. In an effort to streamline their operations, they also purchased our Discovery and Dependency Mapping (DDM) software to automatically discover their IT infrastructure and populate the CMDB. The CMDB is the foundation layer that ties together all the components within our Business Technology Optimization suite. In addition to maintaining state and configuration information about individual CIs, it understands relationships among them, and how these align with business services.
Network Management. They use an open source network management software.
End-User Monitoring. They use a commercial product (non-HP). They purchased it last year to replace home-grown scripts. It runs synthetic scripts (similar to our End User Management software)
Operations Manager. They just purchased Operations Manager, along with agents, but have not yet deployed it. The prospect of consolidating several existing management consoles was one of the main reasons driving the purchase.


Presenting a Complete View of the IT Infrastructure
We started with the usual slide presentations that showed all the nice relationships among the products. Of course, heads nodded in agreement when we mentioned self-inflicted IT problems, the finger-pointing among groups during troubleshooting, and the challenge of seeing everything through a single console.


The key problem emerged that they lack a holistic view of the entire environment. Fortunately, once they deploy Operations Manager, this will solve the problem. It provides a “single pane of glass” in which they can view events from across their entire infrastructure, including the non-HP servers, non-HP network management, and non-HP user monitoring, in addition to all their HP hardware.


Generate (Enriched) Service Tickets from Events
And, Operations Manager can automatically open tickets in Service Manager. In addition to opening tickets based on events, Operations Manager enriches the events with all the relevant information from the CMDB including the affected business service. Once the incident is closed, either manually or automatically, Operations Manager will clear the event in its console and then tell Service Manager to close the ticket .That wrapped up the section on making the most of what they already have.


Automation Cuts Costs
Then, things got really interesting when we went to the white board. We outlined how much money they can save by implementing Operations Orchestration, our runbook automation solution, to automate some of the routine actions an operator would perform using Operations Manager. We used an example of another customer who saved $400K per year just by automating a database fix that takes only one minute to fix. That problem occurs 400 thousand times per year. At $1 per minute for support costs, do the math.


This paints a clear picture of where they should be looking next. And, all the discussions were based on released technology that is available to anyone today.


Let us know how you are making the best use of the tools you have. We’ll give you some expert guidance about what steps to take next that will further increase the return on your investment in infrastructure management software.


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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