Infrastructure Management Software Blog

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


 

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.

 

 

Search
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
Follow Us


HP Blog

HP Software Solutions Blog

Labels
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation