In Part Two of BSMdigest’s exclusive interview, Ariel Gordon, Neebula VP of Products and Co-Founder, talks about his new company and the role of BSM in today's dynamic IT environment.
BSM: What are the inherent IT management challenges introduced by cloud environments?
This is a question that deserves its own separate set of articles. There are so many challenges: which type of cloud suits your needs, how do you manage it, how do you manage the quality of services on top of it, how do you change your internal IT structure to support this environment? But if you have moved to a private IaaS cloud, the major challenge is how to manage the business services on top of it so that their performance and quality are not impacted. Most of today’s cloud management solutions are able to manage the infrastructure at an application component level and are not aware of the business service concept. And so managing and understanding all the components that need to support a service in this environment is a challenge which I have seen customers struggle to resolve on their own. Products like Neebula were built with this problem in mind.
BSM: What is required for a BSM tool to manage the cloud?
For a BSM tool to work in a cloud environment, it must have what I call a “Real Time Service Model”, as it must understand at any given moment the components of a service, their location and issues that are impacting them. This includes all the components of a service, the applications, storage, servers, and even the network. Then the BSM tool must be able to report on the status of the service and must be able to ask the cloud infrastructure to remediate issues that are impacting the service. The issue is that most of today’s BSM tools are unable to keep such a map up to date in real time and so are not fit for such environments.
BSM: Do virtual environments present the same challenges as cloud?
Virtual environments are not the same as cloud. One can move a physical server to a virtual server and then this server can live on the same hypervisor for many years without being moved. This is not a paradigm change from the BSM management tool's perspective. All you have done is consolidated your environment but things are still static. You still need to manage your consolidation correctly so that you do not have too many resource hungry VMs on the same hypervisor. The major issue there is to watch VM performance and move them to a stronger platform if needed, much like you would have done in the past, just that the move is easier. The issue is that virtualization also makes it easy to move and create new servers. And so very rapidly you start activating DRS and moving down the path towards an internal cloud.
BSM: What was the initial driver behind Neebula? What were you trying to accomplish?
There were two major issues that drove us to start Neebula. The first was the introduction of virtualization and cloud computing, and the issues they would bring to existing BSM customers. Managing business services is still a must in these new environments and there is a need for a tool that is able to extend the capabilities of the existing BSM tool for this environment. The major issue is Real Time Service Modeling. At Neebula, we set about to resolve it, and when doing so we also resolved a second issue, which was the cost of building and maintaining the service model in a “static” data center.
BSM implementations today are actually a journey. IT organizations are always in the process of implementation and improvements but do not fully achieve their goals. Neebula was built to help them get there much faster.
BSM: You refer to Neebula as “Adaptive BSM”. What does this term mean?
Adaptive BSM means that your BSM solution will automatically adapt to changes in the environment, the applications, and all the components that support a business service. So when a server has moved, you know it happened in real time. And when a new flow is put into WebSphere Message Broker that is now accessing a new component, you know about it without a need for manual intervention.
In a survey we did in 30 organizations that implemented BSM, 61% of them admitted that the service models they have are less than 75% accurate. Adaptive BSM comes to resolve that issue and get them closer to 100%.
BSM: How can models mapping business services to related applications, servers, network and storage devices be kept automatically up to date in a virtualized environment?
The idea is simple. The tool needs to separate the logical model of the service that contains the applicative structure of the business service and the physical model that contains all the components that support a service. The trick is then how – in real time – to discover and bind the physical model to the logical model in an economical way, in order to have the full service model. Neebula has patent pending technology to do just that.
The second issue is that even logical models are dynamic. Although this is an application change, this happens also more rapidly than you would want. In the same survey, 57% said that they have more than one change a week in their environment that would influence a service model. And so a way to keep the logical model up to date automatically is also needed as well – and this is exactly what Neebula can do.
BSM: Where does BSM need to go from here?
To succeed in the new environments, BSM tools have to be more adaptive. They must be able to understand how the new environment supports all the components of a service. This means that we are going to see much more real-time mapping capabilities. In addition, we are going to see BSM tools morph and integrate to the cloud management tools to enable better support for business services on the cloud. The support for cloud will extend hybrid cloud implementations e.g. support of services that span static IT, private clouds, and public clouds in all its different variants.
About Ariel Gordon
Ariel Gordon, VP of Products and Co-Founder of Neebula, is a well known expert in the industry, with more than 20 years of experience in systems management. Prior to co-founding Neebula, Ariel was Chief Technology Officer at BMC Software. At BMC, Ariel was one of the creators of BMC's Business Service Management (BSM) strategy and pioneered the creation BMC's BSM Atrium integration infrastructure. Ariel joined BMC through the acquisition of New Dimension Software, where he served as VP of R&D and CTO. Ariel was a driving force behind New Dimension's successful CONTROL product line which included CONTROL-M, one of the leading scheduling products in the market.
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