An Interview with BMC VP of Strategy - Part One
January 11, 2011
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In Part One of BSMdigest’s exclusive interview, Herb VanHook, Vice President of Strategy in the Office of the CTO at BMC, talks about BSM and cloud management.

BSM: What management challenges are keeping organizations from moving applications to a cloud?

HVH: When considering moving applications to public infrastructure clouds, the top issues are related to security and compliance concerns, as well as a lack of robust Service Level Agreements for public clouds. Those issues are gradually being addressed by cloud service providers, and we are seeing rapid evolution in these areas – from secure cloud connections to wider adoption of virtual private clouds.
When organizations are considering building an internal, or private, cloud for their existing applications and workloads the top challenges are process maturity to support speed and agility, cultural issues with transitioning to a shared resource IT model, and breaking organizational support silos to support an end-to-end cloud lifecycle model.
Despite the challenges, we are seeing strong early adoption of cloud computing. Cloud has given organizations new principles and models for how IT services can be delivered.

BSM: What are the keys to changing the way IT operates from an IT group to a service provider?

HVH: Many IT organizations are striving to become an internal shared services provider to their business. Some of the key things that have to be addressed for this transition are:

IT Service Offerings – Productizing and packaging how IT is delivered (in business terms) is critical. This is often done through service catalog adoption.

Service Level Agreements – These form the contract between IT and the business.

Cost of Service Delivery – Understanding the true cost of IT and how that cost translates into value for the business is important. Some organizations take this to the next level as they implement and manage IT chargeback models.

Responsiveness – Both long-term and short-term business needs must be addressed.

BSM: What does it take for a monitoring solution to be considered a BSM solution?

HVH: Mainly, the monitoring solution must be able to understand the business service model. It must be able to aggregate status from component resources and present them in a filtered, combined way to indicate status of the business services. The monitoring solution must be able to incorporate these service models without complex configuration or service “building” within the tool itself.

BSM: How does BSM impact the planning stages of cloud?

HVH: The whole idea of BSM – making sure that IT is responsive to and supportive of overall business goals – applies to planning for cloud. The two key goals of cloud computing are improved agility (IT agility leading to business agility) and reduced cost of computing. These have been long-time goals of BSM as well. During cloud planning, not only are infrastructure and application workload choices made, but organizations have to understand how cloud can impact service management processes as well as key BSM components, such as CMDBs. In fact, one of our key BSM initiatives at BMC is the Cloud Planning solution we use to help customers discover their current environment, perform capacity projections for their cloud environment and build out the cloud project plan.

BSM: Explain how one platform can be used to manage physical, virtual and cloud.

HVH: With the right architecture and infrastructure interfaces, a management platform can handle all three environments equally well. Once you get past the physical infrastructure layer or the virtual container layer (and cloud is just an extension of these virtual models), the operating systems, the middleware, the databases, the applications are essentially the same.

The key is the platform has to know the unique management needs and differences between the three worlds and address them with appropriate monitoring, provisioning, configuration and capacity management all governed by a common service management approach -- ideally, using the same incident, problem, change and asset practices no matter the target environment. We have customers doing this today with BMC solutions.

BSM: Why is it important for cloud management to combine both performance and capacity management in one tool?

HVH: It is important for performance management tools and capacity management tools to have a common view of the cloud and to leverage the same data, but the end functions they perform are different.

Performance management focuses on overall availability, performance and fault management. This needs to work at the individual workload level (i.e., a single cloud user) as well as at the cloud resource level (i.e., across a set of cloud resource pools). Performance management often deals with what is happening “in the moment.”

Capacity management is used to manage the aggregate workloads and cloud resources across time. Capacity management can be used for workload balancing, workload consolidation, prediction of resource constraint, etc.

BMC delivers complementary solutions here with our ProactiveNet Performance Management offering as well as our Neptuny Caplan capacity management product. Both of these solutions are optimized for cloud environments and understand the unique needs of shared IT resource models.

BSM: What aspects of cloud management should be automated?

HVH: In addition to virtualization, the other efficiency enablers of cloud computing are automation and self-service. In reality, cloud computing cannot be realized without automation. At the base level, organizations want the cloud service provisioning and deprovisioning to be automated. However, we are seeing requirements that go beyond that. The cloud services are becoming more complex, with sophisticated network environments needed, database configuration desired, etc. Users are demanding automation across the board to ensure all these resources are in sync and available in a cloud environment.

Additionally, automated monitoring, automated response to problems such as resource constraint, scaling resources up and down, automated notifications to users and the like are also on the requirements list.

IT organizations adopting cloud are maturing quickly in what they are looking for on the automation front. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management is BMC’s core solution to build clouds and to provide end-to-end automation for provisioning and configuration of cloud resources. BMC ProactiveNet Performance Management extends the cloud into the performance automation areas customers expect.

Click here to read Part Two of the BSMdigest interview with Herb VanHook, BMC's VP of Strategy

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