BSM Concept or Reality
June 16, 2011

Matthew Barnier

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Well, this is my first blog on this site following being asked to contribute by BSMdigest. I have been around this market for a long time and probably seen too much.

The interesting thing I come across regarding BSM is the gap between concept and lab with the reality of the client consumption. Let's face it, a full blown, all concepts, process and product BSM solution is an expensive proposition and a journey rather than a purchase or a project.

The products are fluid and the crossover gaps and integrations between them moving. The other aspect that cannot be ignored is the people aspect or relative maturity of the company to absorb this. I have seen companies scared of BSM as they see it as a threat to their jobs, big brother monitoring them, true visibility into the infrastructure and a concern of what it might show them - or show them up for. Boards also must be prepared to invest to these levels and never forget what is it we are trying to achieve. There is a balance and a point of diminishing return on these investments.

Many organizations I come across have some pieces of BSM, many are struggling to get simple problem and incident under control, few have an integrated CMDB with problem, incident & change integrated let alone monitoring tools. A journey as I said, many of the moderately advanced concepts of BSM such as true service impact modelling and predictive performance are dependent on a series of pre requisites in place which many organizations are grappling with still and in many cases year away from.

I must admit it is exciting when we conceptually talk advanced BSM. When the systems proactively predict loads, change requests are raised and executed kicking off orchestration tools to spin up a bare metal provision of a VM on a blade and load balance it, all just in time.

Alternatively spin up a cloud resource if we don't have the assets available. This without humans needed based on the business rules defined - of course de-commission after the load subsides. Really cool stuff and when you start to map the infrastructure and automation there is no end of ideas to replace people and reduce costs - but at significant cost of capital and project labour. The balance of what's right for the company is the key, not BSM for the sake of BSM cause it's really cool.

SaaS is no surprise and ideally suited here. Business is frustrated with the cycle of an enterprise product purchase, the often months of implementation work to bed it in, only to have the new version released, generally in three year cycles where the cliff upgrade dictates a complete re-implementation. So enter SaaS, works well. But it still has a ways to go to catch the mature on premise solutions. But then this on premise technology is now near 20 years old in many cases with retrofits for web made etc or some new some old as the vendor bolts the acquisitions together. The new SaaS platforms are built for the web so a paradigm shift emerges both in technology and to SaaS. Some of the majors have set about a me too also with SaaS offerings but the rub is these are the on-premise solutions put on a hosted server, that was an ASP! Their engineers are busy trying to fix performance and a range of other issues making old technology work in this new paradigm. The future is a hybrid environment.

One of the most clear conceptual explanations I have heard that personally helped view clearly and wrap a perspective on all this for BSM is that BSM is the Operating System for the Date Centre. Think about that for a while. Like an operating system you can use a little or a lot and be inexperienced or very experienced depending on what you want to do with it. Also be careful what you wish for.

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