ITSM educational program: Why you need to manage IT services, and not just IT infrastructure

Original author: Kishore Ramamurthy
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imageI present the next translation of the article. Today is a short promotional article from Optanix's blog. “Why You Need to Manage Services, Not Just Infrastructure,” by Kishore Ramamurthy .

Why do you spend your time on another advertisement? Do not rush to draw conclusions. In my opinion, the article is interesting because gives a clear example of describing the value of a service approach to IT management. It can be taken as a template to justify the usefulness of CMDB and service-resource models to its management, both from IT and not from IT.

Interesting? I ask for cat. Do not agree? Please leave comments. Not only disagree, but also want to downgrade the publication rating? Especially please leave comments.

Hereinafter in italics, translator comments.

Imagine that you are going on a train ride. Come to the station and see the train ready for departure, but there are no signs, there are no clues on which platform it is, not to mention in what direction it should be. There are only half a dozen platforms with trains awaiting departure. How do you get to your destination? The entire infrastructure is in front of you, but nothing is known about the service trains leaving the station.

If you just manage your IT infrastructure, then you have a similar situation. You know where the servers, databases, storage arrays and network devices are, but you have no idea how the data is transmitted through the IT environment. For example, does the database support the e-commerce portal, or is it used to track production balances, or is it used in both cases?

Just understanding at the level of the individual components of your IT infrastructure is not enough. You need to understand how all these components work together to provide Business Services, otherwise this is tantamount to traveling to the blind. You need to know what components are involved in the provision of a specific Business Service and their relationship. And while this is not there, your Service consumed by the Business is at risk.

In order to avoid this, it is necessary to manage the Services.

Understanding the impact of change on the Business

The first reason is the change itself. Each time you make changes, you are the first and need to be aware of their potential impact on Business Services. For example, if you reconfigure a separate software module that supports the Service, do you hope that it will continue to work successfully with all other components of this software complex? If not, then this is the path to serious problems that will harm the Business: poor productivity, loss of customers or revenue.

As Business Services become more and more complex, an understanding of the relationship between Services and infrastructure becomes more and more important. This knowledge is now not only about an application running on one server and access to a database on another. Now many applications interact with each other, creating a multiplicity of basic technological elements. Virtualization adds complexity due to the ability of virtual machines and other components to dynamic changes that can occur autonomously. In the absence of an understanding of these multifaceted relationships, changes become extremely time-consuming and risky in their consequences. Understanding how infrastructure changes affect Business Services makes planning easier. For example, you may know that to upgrade the server you need to disable it. The consequences of this are known and inevitable. However, if you do not know what Business Services it supports, you have no chance to agree on a technological window for these changes or to notify the owners of Business Services of planned changes before they are implemented.

Avoiding Cases of Prolonged Service Failures

The second is the Availability of Services. When Business Services become unavailable after an accident or their quality deteriorates, your task is to restore the data associated with them and start them as quickly as possible. For example, Delta Air Lines, in the last five hours of downtime due to the failure of just one device, lost $ 500 million and received headlines in newspapers around the world. The reason for the incident was a cascade shutdown of equipment due to a failure of the power control module, which led to devastating consequences at other critical infrastructure facilities.

However, as always, things are not so simple. IT infrastructure is extremely noisy, creating thousands or even hundreds of thousands of alert events every day. Some of them are only symptoms, but the rest reflect the true causes of existing problems. To understand which alerts are related and give a true reason, you need to understand how the bowels of the IT environment generate them.

To identify the causes of problems, you need to know how the IT infrastructure delivers Business Services. Otherwise, you will encounter the unavailability of the Services and an avalanche of seemingly unrelated events, each of which may be the root (true) cause of the problem. Is it a data warehouse failure, or lack of network, or application crash? It is not yet known why Business Services are provided and what role each infrastructure component plays in this, it is difficult to determine the root of the problem.

Otherwise, if there is an understanding of these relationships, you can significantly speed up the diagnosis and elimination of the causes of problems with the Services. In fact, understanding this at the Service level is one of the main reasons why (the product went public) Optanix platform is able under normal conditions to identify the true cause of a problem with the Service in no more than 30 seconds. When every minute costs thousands of dollars or more, the appearance of the state of the Services is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Balance of quality and cost of service.

The third reason is the possibility of optimizing the Services, i.e. ensuring compliance with the required quality at the lowest possible cost. For example, it can be the leasing of excess capacity, the rationalization of IT architecture or the migration of IT infrastructure to you public clouds.

Again, this requires visibility of the dependencies of the Services. As long as there is no understanding of how they are provided, it is impossible to decide which functions ( here, apparently, the concept of a function as a complex of resources and organizational measures) should be planned at the backup data center as part of the Disaster Recovery Plan. Similarly, with partial migration to the clouds, there is no other way to ensure the continuity of the provision of the Services, how to know which components can only be moved together.

Also, the lack of understanding through which the Services are provided means the lack of opportunities with low risks to get the maximum value from the IT environment. This can be achieved by either searching and eliminating infrastructure bottlenecks, or redesigning Business Services for the sake of lowering prices, but without losing quality.

Let's summarize

Many IT organizations continue to manage infrastructure, not Business Services. Using the infrastructure approach that worked in the past no longer allows you to increase the complexity of today's Business Services. The lack of understanding of how your Business Services are related to your IT infrastructure leads to a more frequent deterioration in the quality of the Services and makes their restoration longer. That’s why it’s so important to look for IT management solutions that break down the fragmentation of the infrastructure and provide end-to-end visibility of the Services. If you do not, then put the entire Business at risk. Contact ( and advertise again ) with us today to learn more about how Optanix can help you manage critical Business Services.

That's all for today. Thanks for attention. Leave your feedback.

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