Friday, May 15, 2015

BMC simplifies complexity with Cloud Lifecycle Management



It’s no secret that moving to a Cloud environment is the right thing to do for many organizations, services and applications. And, there are no end of vendors, consultants, SME’s ready to tell you how great it’s going to be after you’ve made the move. They’ll even point out the myriad of detailed decisions and choices you’ll have to go through as you choose a supplier. And, there is plenty of advice and support to help when choosing this or that supplier.

There has been much less focus on what happens AFTER purchase. Where’s the help when you’re faced with maintaining, supporting, monitoring, administering, tracking, provisioning, de-provisioning, etc., in short operating and managing the Cloud. And, whether fully public, totally private or a mix, in most cases, significant, pre-existing infrastructure doesn’t go away and will still be in use.

The problem isn’t simply managing the new infrastructure. It is monitoring, managing and operating the total infrastructure to optimize operations to meet organization needs. Inevitably, a task much more complex and challenging than it appeared during the pre-sales presentations. 

The problem isn’t managing individual elements; plenty of solutions exist that are able to handle all the servers, apps, etc. It’s making it all work together in a coherent, integrated manner. What’s missing is an end-to-end, integrated solution. What’s needed is a solution that smoothly handles a multi-cloud, heterogeneous, end-to-end environment. One designed to assure optimal operation across the platforms to assure that compliance policies are enforced while infrastructure capacities scale up and down.

BMC’s Cloud Lifecycle Management 4.5 (CLM) tackles the challenges of integrated infrastructure and cloud management and compliance.  It addresses the need for integrated management to assure that the enterprise will actually realize the value that motivated not only the move to the Cloud, but the purchase of the entire IT infrastructure.  Let’s look at this new release.

What sets BMC apart?



Figure 1 Multi-cloud Automation & Governance
BMC was a ground-breaking leader in automating infrastructure management. In keeping with this tradition, they set their goals for this new release very high. They are delivering “multi-cloud automation and governance” extending from the corporate datacenter though Clouds private and public (Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure). (See Figure 1.) All under the guidance and control of corporate IT while offering all users extensive access thru self-service portals.  CLM has been designed for environments that include multiple different cloud implementations to manage and monitor both physical and virtual devices. It includes monitoring and policy-driven management for reliable, secure compliance with operational and regulatory rules, comprehensive change management and CMDB administration.

How is this done?

Cloud Lifecycle Management 4.5 delivers new functionality in three areas:
  1.  Digital Service Innovation – using BMC’s MyIT provides users direct, easy access to a wide-range of services and service definitions using catalogs. The goal is to provide an exceptional user experience using the latest in technology. With access across all available infrastructure using a consistent, common interface, Service consumption and usage can be tracked and costs monitored for efficient control.
  2. Trusted Cloud – Analyze and manage your cloud and datacenter operations on easily customizable health monitoring and value tracking dashboards. Only BMC provides fully integrated CMDB and change management support allowing for detailed collection of data on all changes so you can track  what is being used, by whom and how frequently, etc. , this facilitates the management of  the cost and consumption of services as well as overall operations in the cloud and datacenter environments; easily integrates with Remedy and other ITSM solutions
  3. Simplified Complexity – one of the strongest aspects in this release is BMC’s focus on simplifying complex tasks, e.g. aiding developers as they adopt container technologies. The Service Blueprint Designer allows definition and creation of a multi-tiered application using a graphical representation to generate a reusable model of the services, resources, and relationships which can be   saved, and displayed in a services catalog for reuse.

 CLM provides a lot more functionality, visit BMC’s CLM website[1] for the details.

Summary

BMC has provided an impressive set of new and leading edge technology to manage Cloud as an integral, integrated piece of heterogeneous data center and enterprise operations. They focus on putting together solutions to simplify complex tasks. They aren’t alone in that effort.   But, BMC’s focus is on solving the daily challenges that confront their operations and development staffs.  They want to create and deliver solutions that accelerate and improve the ability of IT to complete its tasks, and provide visibility to the ways IT contributes to successful enterprise operations.

The difference between the crowd and BMC is that BMC is delivering products that deliver as promised and appear to be getting better at it every time. Take a look for yourself.

Monday, May 4, 2015

BMC brings radical improvement to Database Solutions with Next Generation Technology for DB2 for z Systems®

By Rich Ptak

BMC is stirring up the mainframe solutions market with a radically new approach that promises to dramatically reduce the costs, effort and time spent on managing data on the mainframe.  This announcement[1] focuses on one of the most prosaic of tasks, i.e. data base management and reorganization to optimize performance and retrieval times. This allows the enterprise to successfully meet service delivery commitments and assuring an exceptional customer experience. Explosive growth in the amounts and variety of data collected, analyzed and reported has been escalating the cost, complexity and importance of this function.

Several generations of improvements in the mainframe architecture itself, largely outpaced the capabilities of existing utilities to economically deal with current problems. A new foundation was needed, built around the latest in technology, able to exploit the power of the latest z Systems and speedily deal with massive amounts of every format and data configuration imaginable. And, this had to be available now.

BMC’s Next Generation Technology (NGT) for DB2 for z Systems® provides that foundation as it combines the best of BMC’s existing products with the newest technology developed from recently acquired CDB (see blog[2]). This release includes DB2 for z Systems includes BMC Utility Manager for process management and BMC LOBMaster to “find and fix problems with unstructured data before they impact…digital customers.”

The savings described in BMC’s press release include “reductions in CPU and elapsed times of 65-75% and storage savings of as much as 85% through advanced processing techniques”. The immediate reaction is skepticism which disappears as BMC walks through the details of completely updated technology operating and leveraging the latest mainframe improvements. Let’s look at reorgs.

Integrating new technology with leading edge applications allows for full, truly automated real-time reorgs (from process definition and creation to continuous process optimization) that can run 24x7 on large data bases. The management and optimization is done without interrupting the operation of applications using the data base. The traditional lag between problem determination – process definition – process creation – reorg implementation is eliminated. Operations staff defines what they want to accomplish. The BMC Utility Manager automatically generates processes, timing and task workflows to achieve the desired end. All management and optimization follows predefined policies. The intelligent management includes on-going analysis so adjustments can be made to assure optimization and management tasks are done in the most efficient and effective manner.

We discuss more about the capabilities in our commentary entitled “BMC’s NGT = DB2 utilities for the 21st Century[3]”. We think you will want to follow-up with BMC to get the technical details.
BMC is offering this as an optional upgrade to customer’s with their management products. They provide customers a gradual path to this next generation of technology.

There must be something about being privately owned that stirs a company to action. At last year’s analyst event, CEO Bob Beauchamp promised that they were going to move faster and innovate more freely than was possible before. He’s kept his word. They are introducing solutions faster and more radically improved than have been seen in years. This past quarter has seen a number of announcements for cost management and reduction in the mainframe space from all the big time players in that management space.

BMC is redefining IT solutions for the management and optimization of not only data bases but IT infrastructure. Their move can be expected to provide long-lasting benefit to both the business and IT. They are raising the expectations of IT staff for management solutions that are easier to use, more comprehensively integrated and cost effective.

It’s a real challenge to other vendors. We look forward with great interest to future developments and offerings!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

BMC’s NGT = DB2 utilities for the 21st Century

BMC will be providing details on next generation utilities for managing DB2 at IDUG on Tuesday, May 5th.You can read why this should interest mainframe operations staff in the commentary we just published. It provides an early peek at some of the innovation and radical new functionality that has excited users. These include the ability to perform fully automated reorgs done as often and as many times as you want without impacting the apps that use the  data base.


The IDUG session is:  BMC Next Generation Technology for DB2 - The New Paradigm.

Monday, April 27, 2015

IBM and Peugeot extend partnership to speed creation of value-added services for Smart Cars




The announcement by PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe’s second largest car-manufacturer), of a partnership with IBM to create and build mobile services for connected cars is big news. The partnership will use existing and evolving next-generation technologies to broaden access to the ability to create and deliver mobile services. The agreement allows the pair together as well as with other companies to develop, create, commercialize and sell new services. New and existing clients can propose new services and work with the partners to bring them to market.

The partnership will leverage IBM expertise in Big Data and Analytics along with IBM MobileFirst to create services based on the data collected from sources that span the spectrum of those providing services related to auto maintenance, travel, transportation, entertainment, traffic, hospitality, etc. 

This is an agreement that aims from the start to push the boundaries of technology to expand mass market access to personalized mobile services. The combination of connected automobiles with the escalation in the amount and variety of accessible data and mobile computing combined and revenue driven entrepreneurship could unleash a cornucopia of personalized services. The deal sets up both companies to benefit themselves, clients and consumers by speeding access to services that can radically improve and enhance travel by auto.

This will be fun to watch!

IBM’s Cloud Business = delivering value to clients!

By Rich Ptak

IBM and its Cloud business attracted some significant commentary recently. First, Cloud received a call out in a front-page Wall Street Journal story as one of IBM CEO ‘Ginni’ Rometty’s successful moves. Unmentioned was the little detail that Cloud’s rolling 12 month revenues exceeded $7.7 billion. Clearly, IBM is at the forefront with its sophisticated offerings of value-adding Cloud services. 

Additionally, IBM’s 2015 First-Quarter Results had Cloud reporting revenue growth in excess of 75%, making it a significant contributor to overall reported revenues exceeding 20% (30%+ if adjusted for currency and divested business). Finally, Cloud services posts a very respectable $3.8 Billion 2015 annual run-rate (versus last year’s $2.3B).

Overlooked is the background to this highly respectable performance. IBM quickly acted on their early recognition as Cloud began developing into two distinctly different market segments. This is a common phenomenon as IT markets mature, but one that started early for Cloud.

One segment provides low-end, commoditized Cloud services; characterized by volume-pricing, infrastructure-as-a-service, basic support, combinations of self- and roll-your-own services and cut-throat competition. The other segment provides sophisticated services aimed at leveraging Cloud for higher-value, higher profit opportunities. The focus is on realizing enterprise value from the proper use of technology. This is the segment IBM pursues.

Examples from IBM’s first quarter deals include ShopDirect[1], one of the largest UK’s retailers, and the Weather Company, that provides weather data to a wide variety of companies and industries to help them better manage their businesses[2].  Both have a low-end Cloud provider satisfy their infrastructure-as-a-service needs.

However, when it came to data gathering and applying analytics to gain insight for their own and customer use in a Cloud environment, they turned to IBM.  

•         ShopDirect is working with IBM to scale their mobile offerings; they add value by identifying and understanding mobile buying patterns to customize marketing offerings.  
•         The Weather Company is working with IBM to analyze and apply weather data collected from millions of sensors to provide unique weather-based insights that serve the business needs of their customers in a variety of industries, e.g. insurance and retail.

This trend is becoming increasingly common across Cloud clients. IBM Cloud first quarter announcements included:

                  Marriott will use IBM Cloud to offer faster digital services to web-savvy guests as well as to acquire insight to improve services to this traveler cohort at over 4,000 properties across the globe.
                  The U.S. Army will integrate the IBM Cloud with other existing Army IT systems to process more than 40 million transactions each day.
                  In a multi-million dollar agreement, Coca-Cola Amatil will move its Asia Pacific customer planning and relationship management systems to the IBM Cloud. Hosting the workloads in IBM’s two Australian SoftLayer centers speeds CCA’s response to customer needs while delivering significant savings.

To accommodate the increased demand, IBM is adding six new date centers (total 45) and expanding capacity in nine locales. In the last quarter, new cloud centers were opened in Sydney and Montreal.  And we are investing more than $1 billion in IBM Bluemix, a cloud development platform, which allows ecosystem partners and clients to develop cloud-based apps, such as analytics apps, and apply those apps in all manner of cloud environments.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

BMC TrueSight Operations Management 10 for the Digital Age

By Rich Ptak

BMC introduced its TrueSight family of products last fall. They promised “to help improve the user experience, optimize service levels, and reduce ownership costs”. They would accomplish this by first seamlessly integrating their capacity optimization and operations management solutions with real-time and predictive analytics for root-cause analysis. Second, they announced a strategic initiative focused on enabling a speedier, more successful transformation to the Digital Age with solutions that bring “IT to life”. They will produce intuitive tools that facilitate collaboration between IT and business staffs “while fostering delivery of digital services that directly engage customers, partners and stakeholders.”

We liked their approach at the time and subsequent announcements[1] reinforced our opinion. BMC’s announcement of TrueSight IT Operations Management 10 offers new levels of sophistication, innovation, simplification and effectiveness.

Modernizing IT Operations in response to Digital Change
Succeeding in today’s Digital Age requires modernizing management, analysis and reporting of IT Operations. IT staffs have had to juggle multiple screens, unintegrated and unconsolidated data coming at them from a variety of sources. The problem wasn’t a lack of data, but the inability to quickly assemble a coherent, informative view.  BMC focuses on three areas to address those issues. These are: 1) Smart Operations, 2) User-centric performance, and Proactive Analytics. Here is what BMC is providing in each of these.

Smart Operations
Digital Age enterprises must be able to rapidly respond to changing customer and market demands for services. Service delivery depends upon application performance which is directly linked to consistent, reliable infrastructure operations. Dependencies that extend and interact across multiple, different infrastructure devices and elements pose a management challenge. Adding to the complexity is handling combinations of infrastructure and apps that are increasingly dynamic and mobile. The piece-meal, siloed approach of yesterday’s solutions complicated the task of just visualizing end-to-end relationships across infrastructure and applications, let alone identifying and correcting problems.

Smart Operations allows IT and business staff to create customizable converged, end-to-end views of infrastructure and application that are meaningful to them. Problem identification and analysis is faster and easier. Data from multiple sources including events, devices, health, performance, status, etc. can be consolidated to provide application-centric views of what is happening.

Customizable dashboards allow creation of converged views that reflect the interests and responsibilities of operations and management staff. Workflows can be created to speed analysis and facilitate drill-down to identify and rectify problems. Baselines are automatically and dynamically created along with notification of abnormal events. Probable cause analysis reduces alarms and false positive using enterprise specific rules. 

User-Centric Performance
Today’s market for service development and delivery is increasingly competitive and global in its expectations and operations. Fickle customers demand a perfect or near-perfect experience in every exchange. IT operations staff cannot afford to wait for a user’s complaint of poor service to initiate efforts to identify a problem. They need a User-centric Performance view along with an understanding of how application and infrastructure performance impacts the user’s experience. IT operations staff needs information that allows them to know if undetected problems are causing service disruption.

This approach marks the next step in the logical evolution of Application Performance Management (APM) for IT operations. By converging the perspective of applications and infrastructure, IT can more quickly resolve problems (when they cannot be avoided) and proactively manage their environment so those problems don’t crop up again.

Proactive Analytics
Today’s users have been conditioned to expect an exceptional experience. They demand rapid resolution when (expectedly rare) problems do occur. IT must be able to detect and even anticipate when changes in application and infrastructure performance indicate potential service delivery problems. IT operations must be able to monitor health, performance and availability data on all infrastructure and applications involved in service delivery. In practice, this means the hardware, the OS, any middleware, and finally the application. They must be able to detect anomalies, identify and assess the potential impact on service delivery and decide on the appropriate action to avoid disruptions. To do this, IT operations staff must have access to Proactive Analytics able to rapidly process large amounts of the full range of data (log, event, machine, structured, unstructured, etc.). 

In addition, BMC’s TrueSight recognizes the difficulty in handling problem determination across multiple suppliers. It is capable of handling the events and data from most 3rd party suppliers. It will use this data in the analytics engine for a probable cause analysis. It is also able to collect and index data and events across a wide range of environments to help pinpoint the root-cause of a problem.

Summary
BMC’s TrueSight 10 is a significant step forward for IT operations management. It should materially reduce the number of false positives that IT departments have had to waste time on in the past. Moreover, it offers new functions that will make IT a more valuable and attractive partner to the business functions in the company.

It’s our opinion that the introduction of BMC‘s TrueSight approach accelerates a much needed advance in the modernization of IT’s abilities for proactive monitoring, managing and resolving the increasingly complex problems of delivering IT services. This approach places them at the "head of the pack" of those offering operations management solutions. No other vendor has adopted and implemented an equivalently comprehensive integration of function with a comparable focus on the user's experience. And, that's how competition benefits everyone!





[1] See our blogs on BMC announcements at http://ptakassociates.blogspot.com/.