As IT ramps up business agility with cloud computing, business users engage directly in cloud sourcing, and consumer-driven IT drives higher service expectations, IT must step up to support an agile cross-domain service model. Cloud computing puts management and security at the forefront, and managing business service is no exception. Rather than adding yet more manual labor, or continuing to focus on low-level change and configuration management, cloud drives an urgent need for a more flexible and dynamic management practice based on automated service operations management.
This is driving a new generation of service management that can assure quality business service in real-time, even as infrastructure and applications rapidly change, and which can trigger workflows across data center and cloud resources to rapidly remediate service quality and availability problems.
Next Generation Service Mapping
In an ever-changing cloud environment, it is not enough to rely on static or historical service definitions of on-premise components running a limited set of Java or .NET applications. Next generation solutions must actively map business services across multiple infrastructure domains, components, applications, transactions, and languages. In agile environments, infrastructure and service components change in a heartbeat. It is crucial for next generation service management to discover, visualize, and analyze services in context of how your infrastructure and your business operates right now, not how it was operating yesterday, or how it was designed to operate last month.
Next Generation Service Measurement
Next generation service management must also allow IT to know how services are performing in a dynamic business and IT context, to help diagnose problems the instant they occur - or even before! Static service metrics are barely meaningful in a rapidly changing, dynamic cloud-enabled business. Automatic, model-driven service management is needed to keep up with the dynamic requirements of social, mobile, cloud, and Web applications, without having to root through event logs and alert queues manually, across multiple systems and multiple domains.
Next Generation Service Impact
In dynamic environments, service assurance must provide real-time insight into service problems and their immediate impact on users, so IT can prioritize remediation according to current business priorities. When infrastructure can be repurposed in seconds to service alternate applications, service management must be able to identify service impact in real-time, not with a historical analysis. It must be fast too, with dynamic model‐driven impact analysis, instead of slow and error-prone manual event rules and correlations. This is at the heart of IT-business alignment, as it allows IT to address service issues rapidly, according to their business priority.
Next Generation Service Remediation
Finally, next generation service assurance must fix service issues as soon as they occur - or even earlier - before they impact business operations or consumer expectations. Fast remediation has always been a priority, but cloud reduces cycle times and increases expectation, making even faster problem resolution critical. This requires intelligent automation that identifies, records, and fixes problems at computer speed, not human speed. Manual remediation wastes time, diverts human resources, and increases the cost and duration of downtime. Integrating service management with process orchestration means new service desk tickets can be opened, notifications escalated, or corrective actions implemented - all without manual intervention, according to defined policies, with full audit built in.
Next Generation Operations Insight
Next generation service management delivers a level of real-time operations insight that helps IT provide better service at every step along this critical path of quality assurance. In cloud-connected enterprises, static, dated, predefined, architectural views are not enough. Next generation service assurance provides accurate and up-to-date insight into the dynamic operations of IT-based business services. It evolves IT from reactionary and event-driven to proactive and service-focused, by delivering real-time insight across complex and dynamic composite federated services.
As more and more organizations adopt cloud computing for mission-critical production services, we will see next generation service management become mandatory, as IT needs to improve service insight, simplify service visualization, accelerate problem triage, and reduce MTTR (mean time to repair) across complex hybrid physical, virtual, and cloud-based services.
Andi Mann is Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies.