Infrastructure Management Software Blog

SPI DVD for OMW 9.0 - just released!

Did you know that HP Operations SPIs (Smart Plug-ins) are now available for OMW 9.0?  Just released last week, you can now use SPIs with 64-bit, OMW 9.0 servers.

Professional services firm improves collaboration using HP OM (success story)

A small professional services company was recently challenged with lack of visibility across disparate IT domains. By using HP Operations Center products like Operations Manager, SPIs or Smart Plug-Ins, Agents, and SiteScope, they were able to greatly improve collaboration among different groups within their IT organization.

Telco company reduces number of IT monitoring groups by using HP OM (success story)

A global 500 telecommunications company was recently challenged with managing multiple monitoring teams for disparate IT domains. By using HP Operations Center products like Operations Manager, SPIs or Smart Plug-Ins, and SiteScope, they were able to reduce the amount of time spent diagnosing a typical IT problem by approximately 1 hour.

Data Collection: Smart Plug-Ins (SPIs) explained in deeper detail ...

This post is basically a follow-in to my post from February 16, 2010 entitled “Smart Plug-Ins (SPIs) and Agent-Based/Agentless Data Collection Explained: What you need to manage your IT environment”.


To reiterate, an HP Operations Manager solution consists basically of two things: an Operations Manager management server and data collection technologies. Data collection technologies, at a very high level, are either agent-based or agentless. The purpose of this post is to go into further detail around agent-based data collection – specifically, how SPIs or Smart Plug-Ins assist in agent-based data collection.  Referring to the graphic in the attachment to this post, I will be talking about that little thing labeled “App SPI”:


Application SPIs reside on a node that hosts the application you want to monitor.  Each SPI is basically a “bundle” of functionality that addresses detailed monitoring of a specific application and assists in the following:



  • monitoring availability of the application

  • discovering applications on an automatic basis

  • collecting performance data of the application at a regular interval

  • sending alert messages to HP Operations Manager in the event of a threshold violation

  • visualizing performance behavior of the application over a period of time, by providing data to HP Reporter (when used with HP Operations Manager)

  • providing instruction text along with alert messages


The process of data collection and alert generation is governed by sets of rules called policies, which must be deployed on the managed nodes in order to start collecting data. A policy is essentially a combination of several rules and specifications that define:
• Types of data that can be collected from the node
• Mechanism to collect the data
• Collection interval
• Mechanism to generate an alert at the event of threshold violation


Policies are comprised of attributes, each of which has a specific value or setting.  The value of each attribute determines the manner in which the policy behaves to collect information. For example, the polling interval of Microsoft’s Active Directory Directory Information Tree (DIT) —ADSPI-DIT_TotalDITSize, a Microsoft Active Directory SPI policy—is set to 24 hours. This attribute value defines how frequently this policy should poll data from the node.


Every HP Operations SPI is equipped with out-of-the-box, default policies, which allow you to quickly start monitoring your applications. You can customize these out-of-the-box policies - using HP Operations Manager - to enhance the application monitoring process and optimally manage your IT environment.  Continuing with the ADSPI-DIT_TotalDITSize policy example mentioned above, you could set the polling internal of this policy to 12 hours by changing the appropriate attribute. As soon as you change the attribute value, the SPI creates a new version of the policy. Basically, you are changing the base version (the original version of the policy) and creating a new customer version of the policy—the version that includes the customization done by you.


There are many application SPIs for HP Operations Manager, either developed and offered by HP or developed by third-party vendors, that cover the following areas:



  • databases such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, Informix, and Sybase

  • web application servers such as WebLogic, WebSphere, and JBoss

  • ERP/CRM such as PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel, and TIBCO

  • mail servers such as Exchange and Lotus Notes

  • BlackBerry environments

  • document management such as EMC Documentum and IBM FileNet Image Services


I hope you have learned something from this post and, as always, please feel free to comment on it or send an e-mail to me at asksonja@hp.com.  I would love to hear your thoughts and/or ideas on other topics of interest that should be discussed in this blog.


Sonja Hickey


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.

Simplify your life! Upgrade you HP Operations SPIs with ease!!!

I’m a big time Quicken fan and just upgraded to the latest version. As with many upgrade processes, here are some of the issues I encountered before, during, and after the migration process:


- First, I hesitated – for 3+ years - to upgrade to the latest version of Quicken. I really wanted to take advantage of all the great things Intuit has introduced, but was concerned that the upgrade would be difficult and time-consuming.


- During the upgrade process, I ended up doing a lot of manual spot checking and comparison of data between my older and newer versions of Quicken. Certainly a frustration …. as well as VERY time-consuming!


- After the upgrade was complete, I soon realized that a lot of the customization and personalization that I had done over the past 3+ years was lost – gone for good AND not apparent to me during the upgrade process.


Sound familiar???


It’s a shame that something as seemingly simple as moving to the latest version of a product can be so daunting, complex, and time-consuming – causing you to ultimately delay performing the upgrade.


Well, this is not the case when upgrading your HP Operations SPIs (Smart Plug-ins) because of a great new tool we’ve introduced – called the SPI Upgrade Toolkit  or SUTK.  Now you can quickly and easily move to the latest version of a SPI, so that you can take advantage of the enhanced and/or new monitoring and management capabilities of your IT environment; in other words, better monitor and manage and technologies and environments such as virtualized servers, BlackBerry applications, application servers (JBoss, WebLogic, and WebSphere), databases (Oracle, Informix, and DB2), and much more. Like my Quicken dilemma, you shouldn’t hold off upgrading because you fear what the upgrade process is going to be.


We’ve made it easy to upgrade your SPIs!!!


This toolkit allows you to quickly and easily upgrade to the latest version of a SPI as follows:


- Any customization(s) you have done around policies are NOT lost during the upgrade process, ensuring all work and effort you have done in the past stays intact.


- Changes made to any policy during the upgrade process are reported and brought to your attention BEFORE they are made, thus eliminating the possibility of overwriting policy customizations you’ve done in the past.


- From a performance standpoint, the process is quick, as it takes less than one second per policy comparison.


- Again, the process is quick, as you are provided – in a summary format – policy comparisons that are in an easy-to-read and digest format.


- The toolkit has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that allows you to quickly and easily perform an upgrade.


The attachment to this post shows how the upgrade would work if you have customized any policies associated with a SPI that you are upgrading.


Best of all – the toolkit is FREE! Simply download it (ftp://sutk:Andante0@ftp.usa.hp.com/) and then launch it from HP Operations Manager and you’re ready to go! (Note: This is a large download.)


And, per usual, we’d love to get comments and feedback on the toolkit. Feel free to comment on this post or e-mail me with your input on how your upgrade went when using this tool! I look forward to hearing from you.


Sonja Hickey


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.

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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Smart Plug-Ins (SPIs) and Agent-Based/Agentless Data Collection Explained: What you need to manage your IT environment

Have questions about HP Operations Center SPIs like the infrastructure SPI or the SPI for virtualization? Wondering what agents you need to get? And how many? The following post is a good high-level summary of what you need and where you need it. Read on …


In general, an HP Operations Manager solution consists basically of two things: an Operations Manager server along with data collection technologies. Data collection technologies, at a very high level, are either agent-based or agentless. The purpose of this post is to explain the latter two: agent-based data collection and agentless data collection and what you need to implement a solution comprised of both. The following two figures provide high-level architectural representations of the following discussion.



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 



Agent-based data collection explained


HP Operations Manager agents collect, aggregate, and correlate monitoring information to manage data and events collected and aggregated from multiple sources. The agents can suppress irrelevant and duplicate events and correlate the remaining relevant events to produce actionable and enriched management information. In addition, dependencies and propagation rules show the cause of an incident, which assist in reducing mean-time-to-recovery and downtime. Agents are installed on each managed system or node, regardless if it is a physical or a virtual machine, and have the following additional capabilities:


· Allow the addition and customization of monitoring sources not included in out-of-the-box monitoring policies.


· Collect and analyze performance data from operating systems and installed applications and use historical patterns to establish performance baselines.


· Autonomously perform automated corrective actions (in isolation from the Operations Manager server) and manage by exception (forward only actionable events to the Operations Manager server through the use of intelligent filtering, duplicate suppression, and correlation techniques).


· Set up HTTPS communication with the Operations Manager server – even in outbound-only communications configurations.


· Support monitoring data center technologies such as virtualization and clusters.


Agentless data collection explained


Agentless data collection, through the use of HP SiteScope monitoring probes, complements agent-based data collection by providing flexibility in how information is gathered from the IT environment. Like agent-based data collection, agentless monitoring is performed on both physical and virtual systems and has the following capabilities:


· Gathers detailed performance data for infrastructure targets without installing an agent on the managed node.


· Provides easy monitoring of the IT infrastructure.


· Has an intuitive user interface.


· Allows actions to be initiated automatically when a monitor’s status changes.


· Provides solution templates that enable quick deployment of monitoring probes, which include specialized monitors, default metrics, proactive tests, and best practices for an application or monitoring component.


· Has the ability to monitor previously unmanaged or hard-to-manage systems and devices through easy-to-use customization tools.


Infrastructure Smart Plug-Ins – what are they and where do they fit in?


Infrastructure Smart Plug-ins supplement agents by collecting data at the infrastructure or managed systems level. They provide out-of-the-box, packaged, and intelligent management and are comprised of the following three SPIs:


· The “system” SPI discovers operation system and platform resources, generates alerts on system diagnostic events, monitors system services and processes, and monitors resource utilization.


· The “cluster” SPI automatically discovers and represents cluster nodes and configured resource groups in a clustered environment, monitors cluster services and processes, and enables monitoring of clustered applications - even as they move “on-the-fly” between cluster servers.


· The “virtualization” SPI -which is supported on the most common virtualization hypervisors - discovers and monitors virtualization platforms (both host and virtual machines) and provides graphs and reports on resource utilization.


Application SPIs – are these different than infrastructure SPIs?


In a sense, yes and no. Yes because they basically perform the same functions as infrastructure SPIs in terms of collecting, aggregating, and correlating monitoring information. No in terms of what data they are responsible for. Infrastructure SPIs, as mentioned before, do this at the system level, whereas application SPIs do this at the application level. The following picture builds on the previous one, but more clearly depicts where application and infrastructure SPIs reside:


 



 


And does HP have SPIs! We have SPIs for databases (Oracle, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2), web application servers (IBM WebSphere, JBoss, Oracle WebLogic), storage (HP Storage Area Manager, Veritas NetBackup and Volume Manager), and ERP/CRM (PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel) products. Not to mention lots of SPIs developed by HP partners around Cisco, Novell NetWare, and Documentum products.  


New Licensing of Agents and SPIs!


Yes, we’ve changed our licensing structure for both SPIs and Agents. They are now instance-based, meaning you have one per operating system or application instance. Plus, we’ve got this great new “Operating System Instance Advanced License”, which includes the following:


o Operations Manager agents


o “System” Smart Plug-In


o “Cluster” Smart Plug-In


o 15 agentless monitoring probes/points


If monitoring a virtualized environment, a “virtualization” SPI - although an infrastructure SPI like the “system” and “cluster” SPIs - is purchased separately from the Operating System Instance Advanced License. One virtualization SPI is required for each monitored Virtual Server host.


I hope that this has helped explained agents and SPIs. If you have any questions about this post or instrumentation in general, please feel free to comment on this post.


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.

Virtual Infrastructure Management (Q&A from HP-VMware webinar)

Thank you to everyone who attended the joint HP-VMware webinar on how to “Reduce Costs and Gain Control of Your Virtualized Infrastructure with Consolidated Management.” The speakers were Terry Lyons, Technical Alliance Manager, Enterprise Systems Management, VMware Corporation and Mike Shaw, Director of Product Marketing, HP.


If you missed the live event on October 7, 2009, you can view a replay here.


Here are the questions that people asked during the event, along with the answers.






































Question  Answer
Great to see you are working closely with VMware. What are you doing to support other hypervisors?  For now, the HP Virtualization SPI supports VMware ESX and Microsoft HyperV. We are looking at adding other hypervisors, based on our customer’s needs.
Can you explain the difference between siloed management compared to Central? What is the benefit to centralizing? Siloed management refers to managing each IT silo using a separate element manager.
Centralized management relies on a single event console to consolidate and correlate events from disparate IT domains. Using a single event console can reduce costs and speed the time to problem resolution.
How do you plan the systems and applications for the data center capacity?
Which kind of instruments/solutions do you use for the capacity planning? 
Please see our blog post on capacity planning, written by Hyperformix.

What is the minimum release of HP Operation Manager that enables the VMware API integration, or is the VMware SPI the only dependency?  First, the Smart Plug-In (SPI) is called the Virtualization SPI, because it supports hypervisors beyond just VMware, although that is the most commonly requested platform.
The Virtualization SPI works with Operations Manager on Windows 8.10, Operations Manager on Windows 8.16, Operations Manager on Unix 9.0, and Operations Manager on Linux 9.0.
Can you talk about how HP SIM fits in to this? i.e. hardware and VM Management. thanks,  HP Operations Manager consolidates events from all the various element managers across the enterprise. In the scenario you mention, SIM will send its events to Operations Manager where a single team can monitor the HP servers and any other infrastructure. There is a SIM Smart Plug-In (the SIM SPI is available at no charge) that integrates between SIM and Operations Manager. If an operator needs to perform advanced troubleshooting of the HP servers, he or she can launch SIM through the Operations Manager console.
Can this solution allow me to generate FTE savings?  We answered this during the webinar. This solution centralizes event management to a single Operations Manager console, leaving vCenter as the expert tool for advanced troubleshooting or escalations. This shifts event management to your tier 1 operators in the Operations Bridge, freeing your virtualization administrators (very hard to find these days) to work on more strategic tasks.
What specific HP software products are needed to implement the scenario presented?  We answered this during the webinar. You would use Operations Manager, agents for each of the managed nodes, along with the Virtualization SPI to manage the hypervisor.


 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.

Managing Virtualization and BlackBerry Ecosystems (Q&A from Vivit technical webinar)

Thank you to the 90 people who attended the Vivit webinar on What's New In Operations Management: Virtualization & BlackBerry Smart Plug-Ins Demo". Jon Haworth and Dan Haller presented on how to get more from your existing Operations Management environment by adding the new smart plug-ins for Virtualization and BlackBerry. 



If you missed the event, you can view a replay of the webinar on the Vivit web site.



Here are the questions that people asked during the event, along with the answers.































































































Question



Answer



Managing Virtualization - System Support



We have OVPM for UNIX. Does VISPI still only work with OVPM for Windows? Currently we have a work around from HP Support to run with OVPM for UNIX. Will newer versions of VISPI work with OVPM on UNIX?



VI SPI 1.5 is supported with OMU 9.0 - so OMU on Solaris and HP-UX and OM on Linux. We now include Performance Manager (PM) with new installations of OMU 9.



Can you run the virtualization SPI if you only have the operations agent and not the performance agent?



No, you need both agents. Stay tuned for some updates regarding our agents. This issue will become moot on November 1.



Does VM SPI require both an OV agent and an OVPA agent on all the Virtual machines and Hosts?



No. You can choose to monitor the VMs with OM agents if you wish. If no OM agent is installed on a VM then a Target Connector license is required.



Does the agent install on ESX3i version 4 USB drive?



With VI SPI 1.5 the agents are no longer installed on the ESX / ESXi hypervisor - they are installed on the vMA (a virtual management appliance VM supplied by VMware). If your ESX3i version 4 USB drive has a vMA installed or is monitored by a remote vMA then the VI SPI (on the vMA) will be able to monitor it.



Do we have any plan for supporting Solaris and HP virtualized environment?



We are investigating other virtualization technologies. We named this product the Smart Plug-In for Virtualized Infrastructure specifically to indicate that it is not constrained to monitor just (e.g.) VMware.  The first version of the VI SPI supported only VMware ESX. Version 1.5 added Hyper V and ESXi. While we cannot comment on specific product plans, you can follow the trend.



Is a LINUX VM guest required?  We only have Windows guests.



The Linux vMA (Virtual Management Appliance) is provided by VMware - you just download it from their web site. It's pre-built so you do not have to 'know' anything to utilize it. VMware has information on vMA on their web site. http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/vima/



Managing Virtualization - Licensing



When is 1.5 of the VI SPI going to be released



It achieved Manufacturing Release status week of September 28th and is just ready for shipping now.



How much is System Infrastructure SPI?



It is included with the OM agent.



Is there a limitation on the number of virtual machines that can be monitored?



We are suggesting that a single VI SPI is limited to monitoring 200 instances. Each host, guest (VM), resource group and cluster counts as one instance. We have tested considerably more than this but are using 200 as our recommendation.



Do you need a SPI license per ESX host or per vma?



Per VM host (ESX/ESXi or Hyper-V)



Is the VISPI different than the Nworks VMware SPI and can this be used as well?



Yes it is a completely different SPI to the Nworks / Veeam SPI - and has a fundamentally different architecture (high resolution agent based monitoring as opposed to agentless monitoring).  I guess you could use both products but I'm not sure exactly what you would gain.



Managing BlackBerry Ecosystem



How does licensing of BES SPI work?



You purchase on BES SPI license for each BES server that you wish to monitor (physical or virtual). It is a flat price structure (no tiers etc.). Obviously you also need an OM agent for each BES server in order to be able to deploy the BES SPI.



Is the BES SPI available for OM 8.1 or is it only available for OMi?



The BES SPI includes the OMi Content Pack. So you could purchase the BES SPI for your OMW 8.10 system and make full use of its "SPI" functionality or, if you have OMi connected to OMW, you can also make use of the OMi features such as Health Perspective Views and Topology Based Event Correlation.



Is there any reference data that shows how BES performance improves when using SPI?



Not right now although we would expect some of the existing application and service availability / performance improvements for OM to be valid



Can the BlackBerry SPI account for devices that are turned off or out of range when monitoring the number of messages waiting to be sent?



The total queue size of unsent messages and calendar updates that are enqueued for all handhelds is monitored. A report (by device) of pending messages is not available at this time.



Does the HP smart plug-in for BES support a Lotus Notes environment?



Not right now. This capability is under investigation.



Other Operations Management Questions



How do I get more information about the integrated OVO and OVP agent...what is this new agent called?



At present this is just a licensing change. We will provide more information on November 1. We will be executing on some technology updates in the future so keep listening for news.



How often data are collected from devices and how? 



As per all OM message threshold policies the schedule is easily configurable.  Out of the box, some are collected every two minutes, some every 5 minutes and some less often.



For HP Operations Center, Jon Haworth.


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



Join the HP OpenView & Operations Management group onLinkedIn.

2 upcoming virtualization webinars

It seems that every conversation about IT infrastructure management eventually turns to virtualization. To help you better understand how we help you reduce the cost of administering virtualized environments and better manage performance of applications running in a virtual machine, we have two virtualization webinars next week.


1. Wednesday 10/7/09 Reduce Costs and Gain Control of Your Virtualized Infrastructure with Consolidated Management (HP and VMware)


2. Thursday 10/8/09 What's New in Operations Management:  Virtualization & BlackBerry Smart Plug-ins Demo (HP and VIVIT)


Details and registration links appear below:


Webinar 1
Webinar title:  Reduce Costs and Gain Control of Your Virtualized Infrastructure with Consolidated Management
Webinar date :  Wednesday, October 7, 2009 12-1 PM Eastern Time, 9-10 AM Pacific Time


Abstract:  Virtualization is hot!   Even in this tough economy, virtualization was cited as the top spending priority for CIOs in a 2009 CIO Insight survey. Most organizations are seeing real benefits in flexibility and utilization but virtualization also creates some unique management challenges.   Join HP and VMware, industry leaders in virtualization and infrastructure and application management for this one hour webinar to learn how you can reduce management costs and gain increased visibility and control of your virtual infrastructure.
During this webinar, you'll learn:
• How virtualization can introduce new management silos and actually increase the time and cost to detect and resolve issues
• How consolidated event and performance management can reduce costs and regain control
• How new technology from HP and VMware can pinpoint the root cause of system issues and eliminate duplication of effort chasing symptoms
Don't miss this chance to get maximum value from your virtualization investments.



Register now.


Webinar 2
Webinar title: What's New in Operations Management:  Virtualization & BlackBerry Smart Plug-ins Demo
Webinar date :  Thursday, October 8, 2009 12-1 PM Eastern Time, 9-10 AM Pacific Time

Join us for an exclusive webinar on October 8th and be one of the first to see a demo of the new HP Operations Manager Smart Plug-ins for Virtualization and BlackBerry Enterprise Server. During this webinar and demo, we'll show you how to get more from your existing Operations Management environment by adding the new smart plug-ins for Virtualization and BlackBerryEnterprise Server.  These new smart plug-ins include domain-specific discovery, fault detection and performance data collection policies that provide explicit insight into the application and their impact on the entire IT ecosystem.



Register now.


 


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.

VMworld - Day 2: Vision for virtualization aware IT management (podcast)

Podcast added on 9/16/09


Shay Mowlem, Director of Virtualization for HP Software, presented on his “Vision for virtualization aware IT management.” During his talk, he made the case that Virtualization goes beyond the surface objective of server consolidation. The real promise of virtualization is to create a dynamic environment in which IT can assemble systems and services around business use cases. In short, virtualization allows IT to be more responsive.


Shay presented a vision in which the IT infrastructure scales based on granular usage patterns, which of course change with the needs of the business. While virtualization resolves some of the hardware issues, it introduces some new management challenges. There is much more complexity with the additional virtualization layers, which means more moving parts in any business service.


So, management means creating a consolidated view of service elements and standardizing on common management platform. In such a dynamic environment, automation is essential. In fact, Shay stated that virtualization is the biggest driver for automation he has ever seen.


He presented an integrated approach for virtualized service management.



  1. identify vulnerability

  2. isolate root cause

  3. identify required changes

  4. submit change request

  5. implement changs

  6. verification and compliance


Having an integrated view of events and performance, physical and virtual, is critical.


Software license governance becomes an even bigger issue with virtualization. It was a problem before, but now with virtual machines, it is even more challenging.


Podcast of Shay Mowlem discussing the impact of virtualization on IT operations.



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.

VMworld - Day 2: Virtualization is about NOT building a new $100M data center

I attended a great session at VMworld called “Conquering cost and complexity in virtualized environments”. It was a panel discussion moderated by Mark Linesh, VP at HP. The key speakers were Michelle Bailey, VP at IDC, and Rob Taylor EDS (an HP company).


Michelle ran thorough some statistics related to trends in virtualization. Here are some highlights:



  • Spending on new servers has been flat since 1996.

  • The number of installed servers has increased from 5 million in 1996 to 35 million in 2009.

  • The number of physical servers is predicted to flatten due to virtualization.


The admin cost, however, is expected to increase. This cost grows with the number of servers, both physical and virtual. The “hidden cost of IT” is the number of system administrators. This is why the cost of people is the largest cost in the data center.


Power and cooling costs also scale with number of servers. Where this was a rounding error back in 1996, these costs are becoming very significant today.


Organizations need a new set of economics around the datacenter. Virtualization is the answer!


Virtualization helps contain the number of new physical systems coming into data center. In fact, the number of virtual servers is exploding. Administrators still need to address the management costs of patching and maintenance on virtual as well as physical servers. Automation will address this problem.


The application workload relies on servers, storage, and network.


IT management cost is still 70% maintenance and 30% innovation. (Here’s that ratio again.) Companies need to flip that ratio.


2009 is the tipping point in which the number of virtual servers will match number of physical servers. This will require a fundamental shift in the way people manage their infrastructure.


Virtualization has solved the CapEx problem. It has not yet addressed the OpEx problem.


Virtualization also introduces some interesting dynamics regarding long-time IT processes, for example, server provisioning. Some shops can set up a new virtual machine in 20 minutes. Imagine the organizational impact if their user base knew this and called in expecting such a fast turn-around time for all requests. So, this company still makes their constituents wait 3-5 weeks to prevent them from asking for a new machine every 20 minutes. In essence, they keep the same business processes in place as before. More progressive companies may want to take a different approach. But one key lesson is that standardization and discipline are critical for managing sprawling IT environments.


The panel discussion closed with the following summary:
Virtualization is about avoiding or delaying building a new $100M data center.


Follow the action at VMworld on Twitter at #HPVMW.


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.

VMworld - Day 1: Ann Livermore announces Virtualization SPI

The first main day of the VMworld show was great. Over 10,000 people filled Moscone center to learn about how the hottest trend in IT can help them reduce their operating expenses and improve the quality of service. (Follow us at the show on Twitter #hpvmw)


In the main keynote, Paul Maritz, President and CEO of VMware reiterated the statistic we often hear in our conversations with customers and analysts. “70% of IT budgets are spent on keeping the lights on.” He reminded the crowd that IT needs to focus on delivering more business value. In this economy that is more important than ever.


In the next keynote, Ann Livermore, Executive Vice President, Technology Solutions Group, mentioned the new virtualization SPI (Smart Plug-In). Readers of this blog will know that SPIs supplement our agents in collecting data, performing some autonomous management based on policies, and sending alerts to the Operations Manager console. The virtualization SPI supplements the agent on collecting virtualization-specific metrics on both host and guest systems. This provides a single management console, freeing the virtualization administrator to work on more strategic matters than managing a separate event console for the virtual environment.


Concurrently with Ann Livermore’s address, HP issued a press release on our new virtualization offerings. My colleague, Michael Procopio summarized it on the Business Service Management Blog.


The theme of “convergence” is pervasive at the show. Just as virtualization spans servers, storage, and networks, the management software must also span these domains on both physical and virtual devices. Deploying Operations Manager allows organizations to have a single event console, saving money on licensing, training and maintenance costs. Even more important, it improves service quality by providing a single location for all events, speeding time to problem resolution and eliminating confusion about which events are symptoms and which is the true causal event.


Stop by and let’s chat in HP’s booth #2023 .


For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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


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Everything you wanted to know about OMi... (Q&A from Vivit technical webinar)

Thank you to everyone who attended the Vivit webinar. The recording is now available for viewing on Vivit’s web site. You can also download or view the presentation slides in PDF format. There were many questions from the audience. Jon Haworth and Dave Trout's answers appear below. I have grouped questions by topic.


Product Structure


















Are these 3 different modules to be purchased separately? (topology, event and service views) Yes three different modules. OMi Event Management Foundation is the base product and is a requirement before either of the other two products can be installed. OMi Health Perspective Views and OMi Topology Based Event Correlation are optional modules.
How is the licensing done? There are three separate OMi modules. OMi Event Management Foundation is the base product and is a requirement before either of the other two products can be installed. OMi Health Perspective Views and OMi Topology Based Event Correlation are optional modules. Each module is priced / licensed separately and the pricing model is 'flat' - you purchase the license(s) required and that is all (no CPU or tier or connection based pricing).
How does that scale to thousands of machines? Since we have just introduced OMi, we don't yet have a lot of "real" scalability data to report. However our internal testing so far indicates that OMi can handle the typical event rates handled by OMW/OMU in terms of forwarding events. Like OM today, the scalability of the total solution is not so much limited by how many thousands of machines are being managed but on the total event rate being handled.


Integration with Operations Manager, BAC, UCMDB














































Is there any description about the interface between OM and OMi. There are two interfaces used: 1) Message forwarding from OM to OMi, and 2) Web Services interface for message changes and Topology synchronization.
How is the integration with Operations Manager on Unix? As mentioned during the webinar, OMi requires either OMU or OMW as the event consolidation point for forwarding events into OMi. The event forwarding is configured in OM exactly the same way as if forwarding to another OM server. For message updates and topology synchronization, a Web Services interface is used.
Since it was mentioned it works with both OMU 9.0 and OMW 8.10, does it work with the mentioned SPIs on both platforms ? Yes. We are updating the SPIs to be "OMi ready". What this really means is that we're adding  a little extra information to the event messages (via Custom Message Attributes) to make it 'easier' for OMi to associate a message with the correct CI in the UCMDB and to include specific indicators needed for the TBEC rules in OMi. For OMU 9 we will release some updated SPIs soon which include enhanced discovery - very similar levels of discovery to what OMW has. The discovery subsystem is an area that we enhanced in OMU 9 and we want to be able to use the SPI discovery data as the 'starting point' for populating and maintaining CI and relationship information in the UCMDB - which is what helps to drive the logic in OMi.
How flexible are the integration with BAC products? Are these factory built and need factory to modify due to target environment requirement OMi and BAC use the same UCMDB instance so they are tightly integrated 'out of the box'. OMi is completely built on top of the BAC platform technology. It supports the same security mechanisms, the same HA configuration options, the same user/group definitions, etc. In short, OMi is just like any other BAC "application" that is leveraging the platform.
In the installation guide, it says that one of the requirements is to install the "BSM platform". What exactly do you understand on "BSM platform"? BSM platform means "BAC". OMi 8.10 requires BAC 8.02 as the BSM platform.
Can you run OMi without BSM? No, the BSM platform provides the user interface 'framework' and the runtime UCMDB. OMi plugs into the BSM foundation.
Which security model will take precedence - OMU responsibility matrix or the BAC security for views? OMi security is entirely based on the BAC platform features. Access to OMi views, admin UIs, etc. is all controlled through the standard BAC security features (users/groups, roles, permissions, etc.)
Which security model will take precedence - OMU responsibility matrix or the BAC security for views? OMi security is entirely based on the BAC platform features. Access to OMi views, admin UIs, etc. is all controlled through the standard BAC security features (users/groups, roles, permissions, etc.)
What is the price policy if you have / have not BAC already installed? Having BAC installed makes no difference to the price. OMi includes all components needed (runtime UCMDB etc.) in the license. Pricing is based on a 'flat' price for each of the three modules (see earlier question). You need to contact your local HP sales representative to obtain local pricing.
CI treeview scale? The CI Tree view is basically a UCMDB VIEW/TQL under the covers. TQLs in UCMDB are tuned for VERY efficient retrieval of CI information.


Integration with Ticketing Systems (Service Manager, Service Center)






















How does OMi interact with any ticketing system like Service Manager or Service Center. Will the Ci's health be reflected based on ticket info? In this first release of OMi, there is no direct interaction with a ticketing system. The interaction is driven through the existing OM (OMW or OMU) to Service Manager / Service Center interface. Because OMi synchronizes message changes back to the OM server that it is connected to, trouble tickets can be triggered from that OM server.
How does this interface to Service Manager 7? The interface to SM 7 is driven through the existing OM (OMW or OMU) interface to Service Manager. Because OMi synchronizes message changes back to the OM server that it is connected to, trouble tickets can be triggered from that OM server.
The slides implied "assignment" which looked similar to NNMi. How do the new features of OMi integrate to Service Manager? The concept of assignment is 'internal' to OMi. In many organizations the tier 1 support personnel will deal with non Business Service impacting issues without raising a trouble ticket. NOTE: this is purely dependent on the individual process and organization structure that is selected, we know that a lot of companies work this way to minimize the number of TTs. Some organizations insist that every actionable 'incident' becomes a TT. Where an event is dealt with in OMi then assignment makes sense, where events are forwarded to SM7 or another TT system then assignment will likely take place in the Incident / Helpdesk system.
Will OMi integrate with ITSM (change management app from Front Range)?  Also, I'm assuming that we will need to purchase CMDB for event correlation regardless - is that true?  Cannot comment on the Front Range application. It is likely that an integration may be possible but it would be wise to verify with the vendor what external interfaces they provide for integrating event management systems with their product. No you do not need to purchase UCMDB - we provide a 'free' runtime with OMi.


UCMDB, Discovery and Smart Plug-Ins (SPIs)


































Is it necessary to have UCMDB to have OMi? OMi ships with a "BAC 8.02" media kit. This actually provides the BSM PLatform - including UCMDB - and is licensed using your OMi license key. If you do not have an existing UCMDB then this will provide a runtime UCMDB as part of the OMi product package. If you have an existing BAC 8.02 installed (which includes UCMDB) then you can utilize that for OMi.
Is discovery best done in OMi or uCMDB? All discovery data is maintained in the UCMDB. The 'base' discovery for OMi will be provided by the Smart PlugIns that have been deployed from the OMW or OMU instance that OMi is connected to. Additional discovery data can be added to the UCMDB - for example from NNMi or DDM - and OMi will make use of this discovery data if it exists.
If using DDM for discovery, DDM-Advanced is recommended since it can discover not only hosts but also applications and their relationships.
Can you please tell me if DDMi can be used as a feed? Yes. Servers discovered by DDMi are inserted into UCMDB. However be aware that DDMi does not discover applications and dependencies/relationships. DDM-Advanced is the recommended discovery approach if you plan to use OMi and leverage the TBEC rules in particular.
If uCMDB already has CIs populates by DDM, would the new sources like NNMi , SPIs conflict with them , in other words do we need a clean uCMDB ? No. A clean UCMDB is not required. OMi is designed to work with CIs reqardless of how they are discovered and inserted into the UCMDB. In general, reconciliation of CIs discovered from multiple sources is handled automatically.
Can you clarify what you mean by "we are including these SPIs"? Does this mean it's part of the shrink wrap deliverable with OMi?  What specifically will the virtualization SPI provide?  We were considering another product for that space, but want to hear more about those capabilities. We are not including SPIs with OMi. We are including pre-defined content (event type indicator mappings, health indicators, TBEC correlation rules) for the SPIs that we noted. If you have these SPIs deployed then the time to value when OMi is deployed will be very quick. HP released a SPI for Virtualized Infrastructure monitoring earlier this year. Initial focus is on VMware but we will be providing an update soon with more features. You can contact your HP Software Sales Representative to get more details of the specific functionality provided.
 What is the virtualization SPI? Is it nWorks SPI ? No. HP released the Smart PlugIn for Virtualized Infrastructure early in 2009. This is a HP developed and marketed product.
nWorks is the "SPI" we were considering This is a different SPI and is based on a different architecture (agentless polling). It has no OMi content at present and it will be the responsibility of Nworks / Veeam to provide this.


KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)


















What is a KPI? KPI - means Key Performance Indicators
where do you define the KPIs? OMi provides four KPIs to the BAC platform: Operations Performance, Operations Availability, Unresolved Events, Unassigned Events. These are defined by OMi, not by users. What IS configurable is which Health Indicators (HIs) are assigned to impact either the Operations Performance or Operations Availability KPI for specific CI Types. This is done using the Indicator Manager in OMi.
If the difference is KPI, why data is not collected from PM. Instead I see that the data is collected from OVPA & OV agents. OMi is focused around event processing. Events (alerts) are 'collected' from OVPA and OV agents to enable operations staff to understand what needs to be 'fixed'. PM (Performance Manager) is one tool that can be used to assist in the analysis / diagnosis of performance problems. PM is actually integrated into the OMi user interface.


Topology-Based Event Correlation (TBEC)


























In the slide with "Carol" and "Bill", they applied their knowledge to (I guess) develop some rules?  Is that work that still has to be done manually?  What were they developing - KPIs? No not KPIs. The example is there to show how TBEC rules are simple to create but that the correlation engine 'chains' them together to provide quite complex correlations logic which adapts based on the topology that has been discovered. We (HP) are providing content (Event Type Indicators, Health Indicators, TBEC rules as per "Carol and Bill") for a number of our existing Operations Manager Smart PlugIns with OMi and we will continue to add additional content moving forwards. The example in the slide is there to illustrate the process (simple process) of creating very powerful correlation rules which adapt to changes in the discovered infrastructure. You would only need to undertake this process where HP does not provide out of the box content with OMi.
I have some questions regarding the TBEC, is there any experience regarding the performance?
How many events can be handled by the correlation engine per sec?
The engine is tuned for very high performance. It is basically the same engine that is used in NNMi for correlations.
With topology synchronization with NNMi do you have to have OMi licenses for every node in NNMi as well? ... I.E. if you are using Topology Synchronization with NNMi will it only show the nodes from NNMi that have OMi agents installed? No. All CIs in the UCMDB are visible to OMi. No additional license costs are required for NNMi nodes which are added to the UCMDB.
Which language is used for the correlation rules? And where are the rules defined ? (UCMDB?) TBEC is configured in the OMi Correlation Manager GUI, there is no programming language involved. The rules are based on topology (a View from the UCMDB) and on specific Health Indicators with specific HI values.
Does OMi support the execution of validation routines when closing an Alert/Event that also closes other related items? Not currently out of the box. There are several configurable settings which affect TBEC behavior (e.g. correlation time window, automatic extension of time windows, etc.), but currently this is not one of them. We are considering additional options for the future.


OMi Features


























Scalability, High Availability Cluster Support?  Estimated max seats before going distributed? OMi supports the same cluster/HA features as supported by BAC. For example, you can have multiple gateway servers connected to a clustered Data Processing Server and a remote database server. In this case, OMi software is installed on each of these separate servers (gateways and DPS). In general, the "max seats before going distributed" (i.e. adding gateway servers) would be driven by the same considerations as documented for BAC itself. More information specific to OMi environments will be available over time as we have a chance to do further testing and characterization.
Does OMi have a reports generator showing things like daily TBEC, etc.? Not currently. However the BAC reports (e.g. KPIs over Time) can be used to look at how the OMi KPIs are changing over time on CIs.
Comment: We feel that most of these features being discussed in OMi should have been as an upgrade to OMW. Too many modules to buy and try to integrate ourselves. For example we wanted a better version of the OVOWeb to come as an upgrade in OMW8.1. Too many products to buy just to manage our network. OMi is providing discreet and incremental value above and beyond what is provided in OMW or OMU. We are continuing to enhance both OMW and OMU (for example the recent release of OMU 9.0) and customers who are happy with the capabilities of these platforms can continue to move forwards and take advantage of the enhancements that we are providing. There is no requirement to move to OMi.
We feel we are being charged for features that were supposed to be in products that we already purchased. We are not happy about the tactic of releasing new products to fix features that were advertised in prior software. As a consultant, even I get lost in the vast amount of monitoring tools being sold by HP. OMi  is providing discreet and incremental value above and beyond what is provided in OMW or OMU. This functionality was never offered as part of OMW or OMU - it is new and unique to OMi. The reality is that it would have been extremely difficult, and time consuming (slow to release) to provide the high value capabilities of OMi within OMW or OMU. The strategy we have choosen is to base these new capabilities on a 'clean' build based on contemporary technologies - but HP has specifically ensured that existing OM customers who wish to take advantage of these new capabilities can do so without having to disrupt their existing OM installation.
I had some issue when trying to setup and run the synchronization tool and event forwarding. Who can I contact? You should contact your normal HP support channel for assistance.


Other














Is there an estimated time line for detailed technical training on OMi? We have just run a series of virtual instructor led training sessions for our partners. HP Education Services will be releasing an OMi class in the near future.
Where can I get an evaluation version of OMi? You can request a DVD from the trial software web site. A download will be available at http://www.hp.com/go/omi soon.


 


 For HP Operations Center, Peter Spielvogel.


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


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Q&A from EMA webinar on incident management and OMi

Thank you to everyone who attended the EMA webinar on “What is New in the Not-so-New Area of Event Management: Five Tips to Reduce Incident Resolution Costs” (view the archived webinar by clicking on the link).


We had many great questions at the end, some of which we did not have time to answer. Here is a complete list of all the questions that were asked, along with the answers. If you have additional questions, please post them in the comment field on the blog.


 


What effect will cloud computing have on the management strategies you discussed?


In many respects, Cloud computing – if it’s to be successful as a responsible answer to optimizing infrastructure for business applications – will accelerate the need for consolidated event management and its associated technologies.  Cloud computing places many new complexities and a stress and real-time awareness in front of IT managers, including how to manage performance, change, and costs effectively across virtualized environments and potentially across a mix of external service providers wedded together in a dynamic ecosystem.  These requirements will force service providers to become more transparent in support of SLAs, performance management, infrastructure discovery, CMDB Systems and CMS involvements, and shared cost analysis, along with compliance, security and risk management issues.  In other words, Cloud computing cannot succeed except as a niche opportunity without embracing the best practices and process-centric programs within IT to optimize its own internal effectiveness.


As you all know, security event management is a domain in its own right, and there is as much interest in cross-domain integration of security processes & tools as in other areas, if not more so in some cases. How can unified event management help security and IT ops team achieve their common goals?


Security event integration with an overall consolidated event management system is one of the more challenging and also more valuable areas of consideration.  This is partly because rather than being a “component-defined” part of the infrastructure or SW environment, security is pervasively associated with all domains and all disciplines.   It is something like the “phantom” in event management-a more logical than tangible entity.  But as such, defining polices for integration and reconciliation are more complex and overall less evolved.  Of course security has its own well established history in event management, in particular with SIEM—but once again this evolved as a way of consolidating security-related event issues, rather than being a more holistic approach to integrating security events with performance and change related events.  And so to a large degree this challenge still remains unanswered by the industry as a whole.


Is OMi a replacement for OM?


No. OMi is a separate product that adds on to Operations Manager. OMi introduces advanced functionality such as system health indicators and topology-based event correlation using Operations Manager as the event consolidation platform. We designed the products in this way to allow our customers to gain significant new capabilities without disrupting their current Operations Manager deployment. There is no rip and replace, just adding a new component on top of the existing monitoring solution.


OMI looks alot like BAC, are they tightly coupled?  Do I need both?


So is BAC and OMi the same product now?


Great observation. OMi is built on the BAC foundation so they do share a common look and feel. OMi performs advanced event management. BAC handles application management, transaction monitoring, and problem isolation. You can mix and match to components from the two product sets to meet the needs of your organization and you only need to purchase the components that fit your needs. So, OMi and BAC are separate products, just tightly integrated.



Sounds great, but what is the cost?  Is there some way to justify the big cash outlay for IT organizations in SMBs?


The return on investment should be apparent. As we covered in the presentation, if you assume the cost per manually handling an event is $75 and OMi will eliminate processing of around 10% of events (conservative estimate), just determine how many events your Operations Bridge team handles per day/week/month/year and do the math.
And, of course, that ignores the benefits associated with a more rapid fix-time for incidents which will enhance business service availability.


For pricing on OMi, please contact your local HP sales representative.


Can OMi run on the same server as Operations Manager?


No. You need to run the two products on different servers. OMi will run on its own Windows based platform and will be connected bi-directionally to a nominated OM server.


Do I need OMi to use the runbook automation capabilities of Operations Orchestration?


No. Operations Orchestration can use the events from Operations Manager as the trigger to launch flows. You do not need OMi too. Like OMi, OO leverages the power of OM and its agents. I strongly recommend you contact your HP sales rep to schedule a demo of Operations Manager and Operations Orchestration working together.


If everyone uses the same console, how will domain experts perform advanced troubleshooting?


The OMi console is designed for Operations Bridge personnel to view events, identify the causal event, and resolve the incident. Likely users will be Tier 1 operators and subject matter experts (SME) starting to troubleshoot problems and determine what to fix. The SMEs will then use their specialized tools to investigate the problems in more detail within their domain. For example, someone on the server team might see that a server is down and then use HP SIM (System Insight Manager) to identify that a fan has stopped working.
OMi includes the concept of “user roles” so that specific users can be provided with access to the events, infrastructure views and tools that are appropriate for their role. Domain experts could have user roles defined which include direct access to tools utilized for advanced troubleshooting.


Is there any special configuration I need to run OMi?


You need Operations Manager to consolidate events before feeding them to OMi. You can feed events from other tools (such as SiteScope for agentless monitoring) into Operations Manager to get better visibility of your enterprise by expanding the number of managed nodes. Operations Manager can also consolidate events from other domain managers such as Microsoft SCOM or IBM Tivoli.
You do need a recent version of Operations Manager – either OMW 8.10 with some specific patches or OMU 9.0. Existing Smart Plug-Ins will work with OMi but we’ve also been making some enhancements to provide tighter integration and to enable the Smart PlugIns for OMU to populate the topology maps automatically. So in general you need a recent OM version and later SPI versions are ‘better’.
Other than that, there is no special configuration.


Does OMi require ECS (event correlation services) to be built out?


No. As a general rule it’s a good idea to ‘refine’ the event stream that is processed by the OM server and passed to OMi. There is absolutely no point in passing lots of noise to OMi – stuff that we know is noise – so we would recommend making good use of all of the traditional event consolidation and filtering technologies in OM. Time and count based correlation on agents, de-duplication etc.
ECS – Event Correlation Services – can also be used to further refine the event stream as it arrives at an OMU server but it is not a requirement for OMi.


Any issues or challenges to be utilize OMi in duplicated IP addresses environment for company like MSP (managed service providers)?


OMi should work in duplicate IP address environments providing that appropriate DNS resolution and IP routing OR HTTP PROXY CHAINING is in place to enable outbound connections from the existing OM server to the managed nodes (agents) to work correctly. The support for dup-IP is something we included in the HTTP communications protocol which can be used with OM agents after version 8.x of the OM servers. There are a number of different ways that the network 'resolution' can be set up - including http proxies and NAT - and we cannot commit to testing every possible configuration. However, with an appropriate configuration OMi will work in these environments. In general, if you have a dup-IP environment working with your existing OM server then OMi should also work.


Does OMi take into consideration HA (high availability) configurations such that it can identify business degradation as opposed to an outage?


Yes. This is one advantage of having health calculation and event correlation which is dynamically driven by the discovery of the infrastructure. Consider a cluster running some Microsoft Exchange Resource Groups, or a number of VMware hosts with some virtual machines which participate in delivering a business service. In either case, if we have a hardware issue then we may move the ‘application’ (resource group or VM) to another host. This may happen automatically.
The Operations Manager Smart Plug-In (SPI) which is monitoring these resources – so the Exchange SPI (which is cluster aware) or the Virtualization Infrastructure SPI – will detect the movement of resources typically within 1 to 2 minutes. The SPI will update the discovery information in OM and this will be synchronized into OMi a short time later. OMi’s perspective of the topology of the infrastructure will change and the health and event correlation rules will adapt.
OMi will now ‘understand’ that the hardware events which arrived from the cluster or VM host do not impact the business service which is supported by the specific Exchange Resource Group or virtual machine.


 


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.

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