ISM and zEnterprise
Judith, it is a pleasure to have you as a guest blogger for Integrated Service Management (ISM) on System z. You have written extensively on ISM, including my personal favorite, a short booklet titled “Service Management for Dummies” and the recent white paper “Bringing Automation to the Data Center”. Currently, Hurwitz and Associates is in the forefront of the analyst community that is assessing the potential impact of IBM’s new system zEnterprise.
I’d like to spend a few minutes with you to understand the importance of the revolutionary hybrid technology introduced with zEnterprise and the impact on Integrated Service Management.
But, first, in general, how can ISM help extend the value of mainframes to the rest of the data center?
A - At the core of what organizations now want from their data centers is predictability; predictable costs, predictable staffing levels and predictable performance levels for IT users and customers. Mainframe computing is predictable. It is the most reliable and the most scalable of technologies. And, with today’s specialty engines and virtualization capabilities, the cost is both predictable and manageable. The overall workload for the data center is increasing because new applications are added and new connections are demanded by partners, suppliers and customers. Many of these new requirements render the new technology in place obsolete and unable to keep up with demand.
Smart IT leaders are making it a priority to control the chaos that ensues when a vast array of distributed resources are managed in a disconnected and siloed manner. These executives are looking for a new way to unify the management of complex multi-platform environments to ensure the delivery of services to customers at the right time and for the right price. Implementing a cohesive service management strategy is one of the most effective techniques to begin managing highly distributed resources as though they were a single unit. It is imperative to have a single point of control for all computing resources including the centralized data center, departmental systems, networks, applications, middleware, virtualized environments, and cloud computing environments. Applying an Integrated Service Management vision and methodology to a data center configuration with the mainframe as the centralized hub for management creates an environment with the potential for the highest quality of predictable service.
Q - Will customers adopting zEnterprise be able to leverage service management to extend the value of the mainframe to the rest of their datacenter?
A - The IBM zEnterprise System is a computing platform designed to help enterprises simplify and consolidate large-scale data centers to improve the management of complex and diverse workloads. These workloads may reside in data centers, in virtualized environments, or in private and public clouds.
To have overall end-to-end service management, organizations need a uniform and consistent control mechanism that links all critical processes together across disparate platforms. Without the ability to have this consistent control mechanism, hidden cracks between processes that exist on different systems can and often do lead to business disruption. Even with the expansive capabilities of the zEnterprise, organizations need a higher level of service management designed to incorporate environments that are outside of the scope of the zEnterprise. While the zEnterprise provides tight integration to most efficiently manage workloads for the platform, organizations also require overall management for the heterogeneous systems level. This is where Tivoli’s Integrated Service Management provides key capabilities.
Q - What are the characteristics of management software that will exploit the cost savings and simplification zEnterprise offers?
A- As we pointed out in the paper you referenced, a holistic approach to data center management is imperative for the success of today’s large enterprises. A number of factors clearly demonstrate the need for a more holistic approach to management:
Compliance and security requirements from multiple sources
The need to improve the efficiency of power consumption and resource utilization
The need to implement and manage virtualization technologies in order to improve resource productivity
Automation of business process across highly distributed environments
The need to improve the way these processes are managed.
If each service component works well in isolation there is no guarantee that the customer experience is satisfactory. All of the components have to be managed from a quality of service perspective. For example, services delivered in a department, in the data center and in the cloud all have to work in unison to meet customer expectations.
Q – The new zEnterprise introduces a level of management for workloads executed within the new environment. Can you please discuss the relationship of ISM and the new Unified Resource Manager?
A - Back to basics. Ultimately the goal is to manage any kind of workload and to do so we can identify 6 software components involved: Governance, IT process automation, workload automation, change management, configuration control and dynamic provisioning. Governance and IT process automation rely heavily on organizing operational staff to make them as effective as possible. Workload automation and change management apply specifically to business application software. And, configuration control and dynamic provisioning deal primarily with hardware and how software is deployed on the available hardware. It is also valid to view these six components in two groups of 3. Governance, IT process automation and workload automation involve organizing the workloads that run in the data center. Change management, configuration control and dynamic provisioning involve managing the environment to keep the hardware, operational software and the application software working together coherently and efficiently.
The zEnterprise is designed to support customer requirements to improve the management of complex and diverse workloads. Workload management firmware, called the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager, has been created to simplify the integration and automation of these environments. The Unified Resource Manager can manage the hardware and virtualization layers that are built in to the zEnterprise platform in a consistent, secure, and efficient way.
Even with the expansive capabilities of the zEnterprise, organizations need a higher level of service management designed to incorporate environments that are outside of the scope of the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager. For example, there is a need to manage the environment that is closest to the customer. This includes the actual operating systems (in the case of zEnterprise this includes both zOS and Linux), the middleware, and the applications and solutions.
It is imperative to connect the operations of the physical and virtual systems to the company’s applications to ensure business services are sustained at the level of quality demanded by all constituents. An organization needs to think about overall manageability from the perspective of the impact on the business and how the level of service relates to overall business practices.
All of the components have to be managed from a quality of service perspective. For example, services delivered in a department, in the data center and in the cloud all have to work in unison to meet customer expectations. Workloads have to be optimized, overall performance has to be monitored, and security has to be assured. Integrated service management that is based on automation of business policy and rules is the only way to minimize mistakes that impact the quality of service for customers, suppliers, and partners. It simply doesn’t matter if each individual component is best of breed if the overall environment does not meet or exceed customer expectations. In this type of complex enterprise environment there needs to be a single point of control for the entire heterogeneous computing environment
IBM is a client of Hurwitz & Associates and has provided compensation to Hurwitz and Associates for participation in this interview.
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