Links that I have found interesting for November 25th:
- Psytechnics Introduces New Service Desk Feature – Service-level management company Psytechnics (News – Alert) has come out with a new module, called Service Desk Manager, on its Experience Manager solution.
The new capability enables service desk staff at service providers to get first level call information on people that contact the desk so they are better able to help address their concerns. The Service Desk Manager also allows service providers to create workflow rules to ensure various problems are escalated to the appropriate divisions and people elsewhere in their organizations.
- On Service Levels (Jon on Performance) – Payments systems and customer-facing systems require two additional measurements of service level: transaction success and response time. Both are extremely important.
Response time is a traditional measure of service level: i.e., 98% of the transactions must finish within 2 seconds. Note that this is a distribution, not an average. An average could be stated as “the average response time must be less than 2 seconds.” Averages are terrible specifications of response. For example, one could have three transactions taking 3 seconds each and three taking 1 second each. The average response in this case is 2 seconds. But this scenario wouldn’t meet the 98% criteria, since its distribution (3 at 3 secs and 3 at 1 sec) would be only 50%.
Transaction success rates should also be tracked. In the real world of multi-stage transaction paths, it’s possible to interrupt a transaction somewhere in the path, deny it, and return it within the required response time.
- The Amber Point: Who’s Responsible for Sorting Out Failed Transactions? – When Transactions Fail, Which Group is Responsible for Sorting Things Out?
We got a variety of answers, as you’d expect. Not every organization handles failed transactions the same way. However, by far the most common answer was Application Support Groups. Operations was a distant second, followed closely by Business Units. Here are the results of our poll.
1) Application Support Group – 68%
2) Operations – 13%
3) Business Units – 12%
4) We just muddle thru – 7%
For companies that don’t have Business Transaction Management, it’s typically the Business Units who first hear about the issue—often from irate customers whose transactions did not complete properly. The Business Units then notify Operations and App Support (please note that I’m using the word “notify” here as a very gentle euphemism for the way they actually tell them about the problem).
- BMC Atrium CMDB Visualization – Many companies struggle to foresee what impact an infrastructure failure will have on their services to a client. This is caused due to an incomplete view of their Configuration Items (CIs) and more importantly – the relationships between the CIs. In other words – if a CI needs to be configured, how will my service to the client be effected?
This is where Data Visualisation comes in. It allows for better Service Impact Management, because it provides a graphical presentation of your CIs and allows you to quickly and effectively build a service infrastructure.
Two of Tiberone’s senior consultants provide an online demo of how BMC Atrium acts as a Data Visualisation Tool, followed by a short presentation on data visualisation.
- Service Level Dashboard 2.0 is available for SCOM 2007 – Service Level Dashboard 2.0 plugs into an existing SCOM installation to add new features. The premier feature is the service level objective (SLO). An SLO loosely aligns to the industry-standard term service level agreement (SLA). The critical difference is that an SLO within this tool does not enforce the SLA that you may have; it is used to configure service goals for the applications monitored.
Also, Service Level Dashboard 2.0 introduces a relatively quick turnaround, with reporting and visibility displayed at three minutes or less latency. SCOM reporting is generally very slow because there is a lot of data to aggregate and report when configured for large installations. Another new feature that the Service Level Dashboard introduces is the dashboard metrics to track measurable performance elements.
- CA Upgrades System Management Products – CA has upgraded several management software products to better supervise virtualized software assets and has introduced CA Spectrum Service Assurance as a new product.
The management console of CA Spectrum Service Assurance r1.1 displays both the physical and virtual parts of the infrastructure, maps them, and helps identify trouble spots as they develop, said Stephen Elliot, VP of business unit strategy for CA's Systems and Network Management unit.
CA Spectrum Service Assurance offers visualization of system data in simple-to-read charts and diagrams and enhanced analytics for pinpointing causes of slowdowns or outages. The new product is available immediately and is priced starting at $175,000, with integration of up to five system management data sources, Elliot said.
- How to Cut IT Energy Consumption Using Business Service Management – How to Cut IT Energy Consumption Using Business Service Management
For years, IT has been under intense pressure to implement an expanding number of new business services that are critical to the enterprise. To do so, IT staffs have typically added hundreds or even thousands of servers over the years, which has resulted in skyrocketing IT power consumption and energy costs. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Chris Rixon explains how companies can cut IT energy consumption and achieve other green IT objectives by using an approach based on business service management.
- BTM – the pain relief for CMDB? « Business Transaction Management Blog – I’ll put my head on a lance and state that Business Transaction Management (BTM) can add significant value to any CMDB project. When you start to monitor business transactions you start to acquire lots of key intelligence on how your business runs and maps to IT. You auto-discover transaction flows and the IT assets they interact with, all in real-time. It also gets better, you can store all this data historically so that you can report and compare business services and their CI’s before and after a change. You can even visualise how the business and IT asset dependencies change over time using transaction flow/topology diagrams as key evidence. When a change occurs on an IT asset you can instantly report whether this change had a positive or negative impact on your business services or transactions by reviewing related latency and SLA. I’m not claiming BTM is the answer to all CMDB pain but it solves some of the most basic and common challenges:
- Open Source Zenoss Core Project Makes Cloud Monitoring and Community-Led Systems Management Innovations – What's New in Zenoss Core 2.5, according to the company: – Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Monitoring – New Amazon EC2 monitoring provides dynamic snapshots of both the individual and collective performance of the instances within an account. In addition, Zenoss Core now includes the ability to immediately track performance without user intervention and to drill deep on performance issues with "inside-the-instance" monitoring.
- Knoa Delivers New End-User Experience Monitoring Solution for Virtualization, Cloud and SaaS – Knoa® Software, the leading provider of end-user experience and performance management software, today announced the availability Knoa Virtual/Cloud Experience Manager (VCEM). Knoa VCEM is the first truly ‘off-the-shelf’ product that monitors and manages real end-user experience for enterprise applications that are running in virtualized environments, delivered via SaaS, or provisioned via Cloud Computing.
Knoa VCEM extends this concept to the worlds of SaaS, Virtualization and Cloud computing with a streamlined, turnkey application designed specifically to support the management needs of the IT Operations team changing the provisioning model for business critical applications like SAP, Oracle EBS, Oracle Seibel and Microsoft.
- Survey Finds IT Departments Still Struggle with Application Performance Issues Despite Availability of Effective Management Tools – – OpTierÂ®, the leader in Business Transaction Management (BTM), today announced results of a survey that indicates that most organizations are experiencing significant IT issues including trouble resolving performance problems due to a lack of visibility into IT transactions, challenges collaborating between departments and poor alignment between business and IT priorities.
It found that 40 percent of organizations have experienced serious IT problems over the past year. While BTM has been proven as an effective technique for understanding complex architectures, 67 percent of respondents fail to track business transactions flowing through their systems. At the same time, 88 percent believe the number of transactions flowing through their IT infrastructure is increasing.
- The Problem with SLA Monitoring in Virtualized Environments | Virtualization Journal – This affects ALL performance metrics that rely on the operating system clock time to keep track of time which includes system counters like CPU or I/O Utilization. Performance Management solutions therefore run into the problem that the monitored metrics are inaccurate and can lead to incorrect enforcement of SLAs or wrong assumptions about application performance.
This blog explains the time keeping problem, how it impacts Application Performance Management in virtualized environments and what can be done to solve this problem.
- Caveat Emptor « Business Transaction Management Blog – Dear reader: If you are one of the IT professionals who are evaluating BTM solutions and having a hard time telling them apart, start by checking which solution evolved from a single-tier monitor and which was built for BTM from day one. Compare the platform coverage matrices, and take the time to verify each vendor’s claimed abilities to auto-discover and show complex business flows with many different protocols inside and outside of the data center. One of the nicer aspects of BTM is that you should see its value right away, literally a few hours after you install. If a tool can only show you parts of your topology, or requires you to install several different products and integrate them together, then it is probably not a BTM solution. Buyer, beware! The slides of many vendors may look alike, but only a few have real BTM technology as well as the expertise required to get it implemented in a way that will deliver on the true promise of business transaction management.
- Adventures in Open Source » Blog Archive » The Kindness of Strangers – Unfortunately, also like us, they seem to be the victim of code theft, or at least some very questionable licensing practices. A company called Firescope appears to have appropriated some of the Zabbix code. They have raised several million dollars in VC funding, lead by a company called Technology Advisors, and it seems they have used this money to put a prettier front end to the Zabbix code (sound familiar?). Apparently efforts by Zabbix to get this issue resolved have been a failure.
Note: Please read the comments below. The CEO of Firescope has responded to these claims with more information. I am hoping that Alexei will respond when he can. When I get some time I plan to download the trial version of Firescope as well as Zabbix and see for myself if the similarities still exist, but until then I will withhold judgement and I ask that you do as well.
- People Over Process » Contempory Root Cause Analysis – A short while ago, I did a webcast with RedMonk client AccelOps around the tried and true IT process of root cause analysis – hunting down what’s causing problems in IT. My part of the presentation spoke to how root cause analysis is effected by three new technologies: virtualization, multi-tier applications (OK, not so new), and cloud computing. AccelOps’ Scott Gordon spoke to how AceelOps All-in-One can help.
While my slides are above, if you’re interested you’ll probably want to check out the recording for the full run-down, including a pretty good AccelOps overview. You’ll have to fill out a form to see it, but it’s freely available.
Also, check out my review of AccelOps release from a few months back.