Keeping the lights on
IT management solutions are now about providing a holistic view of the IT infrastructure and applications
For all the talk about IT teams no longer being about ‘just keeping the lights on’, ensuring the proper performance of a modern IT infrastructure is still one of the biggest challenges facing CIOs. Happily, various solutions now exist to help manage disparate IT systems, from the software to the network. These monitor network flow, congestion, bandwidth management and faults, as well as provide a holistic view of everything on the infrastructure. But how can a CIO ensure that he or she is getting the most from these solutions to get the best performance from their infrastructure and resources?
Systems management is about tying together the different systems — such as routers, firewalls, servers, applications, racks and workstations — in the environment. And one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations today is the fact that each of these systems or functions is handled by different teams, creating silos. A solid IT systems management solution, however, will streamline and tie together each of these systems seamlessly.
“The biggest challenge organisations face today is that different functions of their business work in silos. This applies to the IT management of an organsation as well. An efficient IT management system will connect all the information in these silos, or departments, readily available. The advantage of such an IT management system is the information, which is made available, through which business intelligence can be gathered,” explains Sridhar Iyengar, vice president at ManageEngine.
According to Gartner, IT management services are divided into three key sub segments - operations services (for IT infrastructure), application management services and help desk management services. The main benefits to adopting these systems and services, according to Biswajeet Mahapatra, research director at Gartner, are better service quality, higher customer satisfaction, keeping the lights on, improved service delivery, and less down time.
“Prehistorically, it was all about network monitoring, then application monitoring, hardware monitoring, power and cooling monitoring, and facilities monitoring. [Vendors] kept on adding and now it is not just about monitoring but more about proactively detecting any issues in the entire system and automatically taking remedial actions even before any major incident happens,” he explains.
“That leads to maximum uptime and higher customer satisfaction. This can only happen with single topological view of all the aspects, having integrated and standard processes and adopting newer technologies like analytics in I&O, cloud, big data and social. So it has moved much beyond just a holistic view — it is more about what do you do with the information and how do you improve the services.”
Indeed, according to Ayman El Sheikh, solutions architect manager for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Red Hat, IT management systems now need to encompass a variety of processes, within IT and outside it.
“IT management systems (ITMS) — or, to be more precise, new cloud management solutions — are critical for system monitoring, capacity planning, and managing governance, security and compliance. Having an IT management system also enables the business to respond quicker to customer requirements and reduces time to market,” he says.
“A solid ITMS should be modular so as to be able to manage different resources across the IT landscape. Ease of customisation and interoperability is key to ensuring that the solution can be easily extended to fit various customer requirements.”
Iyengar adds that most CIOs already have a dashboard in place tracking the performance of the different network and application components in their environment. However, without a proper IT management system, he says that statistics and metrics from are often overlooked.
There are a plethora of solutions available on the market, and they all deal with various areas associated with IT systems management. According to Mahapatra, Gartner tracks the solutions that have matured, as well as the ones which are up-and-coming.