Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: Symbian, Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, PowerBuilder, Recurring Revenue, Artificial Intelligence, Log Management, Server Monitoring, @CloudExpo, Apache

Symbian: Article

Will Cloud Computing Confuse Network Management?

Traditional network management systems focus on measuring and monitoring technical metrics

Network Management at Cloud Expo

In today’s technology-dependent enterprise environment, the efficiency of most business processes depends directly on the effective performance of the IT infrastructure. Almost every single activity - from servicing a customer to shipping purchased products - is dependent upon one or more software applications and the underlying computing/network infrastructure.

This demand is already stretching traditional network management tools to the limit, given the universal adoption of multi-tier applications, distributed computing and web technologies in the last decade. The advent of cloud computing, the latest evolution in IT, creates a new set of challenges that require innovative tools to help businesses leverage the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud computing, while mitigating the risks.

Simply described, cloud computing uses virtualization, grid architectures and Software as a Service application delivery, both inside and outside the boundaries of the enterprise network. It promises significant cost savings and business agility compared with traditional computing approaches. In a cloud environment, a business application, for example, may leverage a combination of in-house bare virtual machines, pre-built storefront virtual machines from an external cloud vendor (e.g. Amazon), and an external application service (e.g. Salesforce.com). Additionally, a variety of network nodes and links are also part of the required infrastructure mix to ensure the proper function of the application. How will network management keep up in such a complicated environment?

Traditional network management systems focus on measuring and monitoring technical metrics and trends of individual nodes and components in the infrastructure. Although an isolated issue in the complex web of new technologies may impact one or more user-facing tasks in a business process, the current monitoring approaches are incapable of determining the business impact of such a problem.

In order to ensure the smooth running of business operations in a cloud environment, network management must move away from point monitoring of IT infrastructure to instead monitor business service availability and performance. Network management must go beyond just looking at the performance of individual nodes or components to include a holistic service-oriented view.

To ensure greater reliability of essential processes and systems in a virtual environment, Business Service Management (BSM) systems can help enterprises connect business processes with IT operations to achieve a more holistic perspective. By connecting the worlds of IT and business, BSM solutions are able to identify the affected business processes or services when problems occur in the complex, distributed and virtual IT infrastructure. BSM solutions enable preemptive and rapid identification of business issues, accurate identification of root causes and quick resolution of problems.

Traditional network monitoring products have made the implementation of BSM solutions a challenge. Older generation network monitoring products are unable to integrate fault/event, performance management and BSM within a unified system, and thus businesses are forced to deploy and integrate multiple systems to get an end-to-end view. This cumbersome approach involves linking multiple disparate applications across different layers and domains of infrastructure and business services. These solutions contain a confusing array of complicated features, require specialized application-specific expertise to install, integrate and manage, and involve execution of complex projects to complete an implementation.

All of this adds up to a significant investment in the initial deployment and ongoing administrative support, resulting in extremely high total cost of ownership.

Fortunately, innovative solutions have emerged to deliver the advanced BSM capabilities required by the enterprise, pre-integrated with the necessary underlying fault/event and performance management capabilities. These next-generation BSM systems leverage two key technical advantages that enable them to effectively support cloud computing environments.

The first, open and extensible APIs or data-capture plug-ins for integrating with external systems, allows for the easy addition of custom monitors to capture availability and performance data from any element within the cloud computing infrastructure, whether it’s a new external web service or a virtual machine.

The second, sometimes referred to as creating ‘service containers,’ involves grouping an organization’s IT infrastructure to create logical, business-oriented views of the overall physical and virtualized computing network. The ability to link applications and the cloud computing infrastructure with business services creates service containers that allow enterprise network administrators to monitor for multiple elements of the infrastructure, generate reports on service containers, get uptime information and real-time status for services, and receive alerts if services fail or exceed defined thresholds.

Next-generation BSM systems provide the ability to define container severities to support varying business needs and objectives. Users can specify rules to indicate when a container is identified as being in an undesirable state. For example, if there are two redundant network paths between two end points, this can be specified in a business container. If there is a virtual server farm behind a load balancer and an outage of some of the virtual servers does not affect the supported business service, this can also be specified in a business container. Similarly, if there is a single SaaS application that supports the same business service, the business container can be defined to indicate the status of the business service as being ‘critical’ if the synthetic test transaction with SaaS application fails.

As mentioned earlier, business processes are increasingly dependent on a complex mix of IT infrastructure and applications that that extend beyond the boundaries of the enterprise network. A new set IT management challenges have emerged in light of the rapid adoption of cloud computing technologies, such as virtualization, grid architectures and SaaS. To ensure smooth business operations, organizations need to deploy advanced BSM solutions that overcome the limitations of legacy network management tools by providing real-time visibility into the availability and performance of business services

More Stories By Vikas Aggarwal

Vikas Aggarwal is founder and CEO of Zyrion Inc., a provider of BSM & IT infrastructure monitoring software solutions. Vikas Aggarwal has been an entrepreneur and senior executive at multiple technology startups over the past 20 years. He was the founder and CEO of Fidelia, a venture-backed IT infrastructure management software company, where he led the company's growth to about 100 customers before their acquisition by Network General. At Network General, he was the VP of Product Management where he oversaw product strategy through their acquisition by Netscout in late 2007.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...