• Andy Jonak

What do we mean by Consolidated Operations Management?

This month I want to discuss the management of the IT enterprise within today's datacenter environment.   Let me put it out there right away:  most organizations have solutions in place that they already use to manage the technology within their datacenters.   And most of these solutions also happen to do a fairly good job at managing the technology they are meant to manage.  So why are we talking about this, this month?   Here it is in a nutshell:  while most IT departments are using solutions that let them manage part of their environment (think servers, storage, network, security, etc.) and are pretty good at it, many do not have a way to aggregate these different management tools in to a single, consolidated platform to manage their environment in its entirety.   That's what we refer to as Consolidated Operations Management.  Let's talk about why it's important.


Organizations are so reliant upon technology for their operations and tend to use more of it than ever before, even with fairly recent trends of consolidation and virtualization.   They might not use as much of it in terms of quantity within a single technology category (less x86 servers needed with virtualization, etc.), but they do use more types of it.  Different types of servers, lots of different applications, different networking components, different security solutions, not to mention all of the IP based devices throughout their offices, environments, and datacenters.   And for each of these different categories, there tends to be a different and distinct management tool used for management and monitoring.  You might even need completely separate tools to accomplish the same thing within a category such as HP tools to monitor HP x86 servers, IBM tools to manage IBM x86 servers, etc. 


This creates silos of management platforms that may each have different owners without a way to consolidate all of these views without difficulty.  And consolidating is not just about a single pane of glass and central console to see an aggregate of what is happening, it's a about resolving issues and challenges quicker and making sure critical services stay up and running to serve the needs of the business.   It's about correlation and finding dependencies when issues do happen so you can understand why that server went down, why that VM crashed, why that backup failed, that network segment went down or any that application is running slow.   The value is about being able to look across all management silo solutions within an enterprise to create actionable information to solve issues and keep services running with the quality that is expected and demanded of the business.  It's about creating a Manager of Managers, irrespective of the types and manufacturers of those individual management solutions.


Does that mean that these silo management solutions are not valuable or rendered less important for what we are advocating here?  No, quite the opposite.  A Manager of Managers takes the best and most important information from these tools for consolidation and correlation to quickly identity the root cause and provide few prioritized actionable alerts.  It allows Subject Matter Experts to leverage their system tools more efficiently to resolve problems faster.   So, a Manager of Manager approach actually makes these individual silo solutions more important and invaluable in a scenario like this and does not look to displace them.  It allows for utilizing the best features that all of these tools have to offer.  That's what makes it so enticing and exciting for the customers that we see embracing this methodology today.  


That's what Consolidated Operations Management is all about.   Bringing your key information together so it can be aggregated, used and acted upon in ways not possible--or very difficult--with only those silo management solutions.   This allows for much greater operational efficiencies and ultimately a way to reduce costs, which, or course, we all know is critical today and really what efficiencies are all about.   And IT is able to take advantage of these efficiencies and cost reductions while improving its overall service capability to the business which it serves, which is a very good thing.


We would encourage you to give Consolidated Operations Management a look to see if it might make sense or provide value to you and your organization.  In the end it's something that can appear to be very difficult to do, but can be fairly straightforward to realize if done correctly.  And it provides a new way to look at a holistic view across the enterprise. 

Andy


ajonak@vicomnet.com

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