In an increasingly efficient global marketplace IT organizations must provide more information faster and with greater reliability and accuracy in order to remain competitive. Indeed, increased competition and new market opportunities are driving widespread changes in the way organizations use information technology.
The changing nature of technologies, combined with insufficient system management tools, has left IT organizations with environments that are expensive to manage. This struggle gets worse as the demand for mission-critical computing grows. Customer demands raise expectations of acceptable service levels. As a result, the entire network must be more reliable, available around the clock, and easier to manage and service. Systems must run continuously for longer periods of time without interruption. Problems must be diagnosed and repaired without impact on business operations. Disruption of platform availability during routine service must be avoided and critical applications and services must always be available.
While every organization strives to meet the rising challenge of providing increasing levels of service, it is imperative that associated support costs remain low. IT organizations must manage the enterprise infrastructure, including desktop, WINTEL and iSeries servers, data storage subsystems, and the networks that connect them, yet maintain high levels of service. To be effective, IT organizations must also reduce complexity and cost. They must harness the existing limited skill base, lower human capital expenditures, and consequently minimize the number of people required to keep the enterprise operating at peak efficiency.
These vast demands have left IT organizations struggling with the complexity of the enterprise and the networked systems they employ. Rapidly changing trends are widening and deepening the breadth and depth of knowledge required, making it difficult for existing system administrators to keep pace with technology advancements. While the number of trained personnel is decreasing, the cost of maintaining them is rising. One important way to reduce costs is to simplify the job system administrator’s do most—systems management.
An Enterprise Management System is a solution that enables organizations to manage systems and the networks that connect them. Achieving the continuous operation of iSeries and WINTEL servers, desktops, storage subsystems, relational databases and transaction monitors, are difficult and time-consuming tasks.
Focusing on the management of the hardware platform, operating system, and network components, Enterprise Management Systems provides the monitoring; performance, and resource management that is essential to ensure systems remain operational. In addition, storing data for trend analysis enables effective planning and resource management. When systems such as these operate at peak efficiency, organizations are better equipped to make better decisions faster—a factor that can mean the difference between surviving and thriving in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
* Throughout this guide, Windows NT, 2000 and 2003 are collectively called WINTEL servers.
Issues Driving the Enterprise Management System
When systems such as these operate at peak efficiency, organisations are better equipped to make better decisions faster—a factor that can mean the difference between surviving and thriving in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Computers and software are spread throughout most organisations and often around the world.
Disparate systems and resources are being brought together across enterprises as managers try to maximise the use of IT within the business. System managers and administrators are under pressure to provide a high level of service while grappling with too many systems, too many devices, too many requests for change, too much data, too few resources to respond and too little time. These problems will only get worse as the complexity of networks grows and the interconnectivity of workers increases. The use of e-servers for 24/7 online customer interaction have made them an integral part of business relationships.
The service provided to users is threatened by system failure. Recent research indicated that:
- On average over 50% of operational tasks are performed manually.
- Operator error is generally the largest cause of service failure.
- Configuration errors are the underlying cause of failure over 50% of the time.
Too often System managers are managing in the dark. They are unable to look across the entire enterprise to monitor the most crucial aspects. Many organisations that rely heavily on IT establish service levels agreements with their IT departments. Failure to meet these service levels can translate into potential lost revenues, customer dissatisfaction and competitive disadvantage.
What Is Required in an Enterprise Management System?
To deliver maximum value, IT Managers need solutions that are capable of being deployed rapidly providing a short route to ROI.
Users are seeking greater productivity through increased system availability. User managers will only have confidence they can deliver productivity increases if they have the peace of mind from knowing the risks of system failure have been reduced.
To harness technology to improve the management of the enterprise, IT Managers need:
- A holistic view of the enterprise. The big picture enabling them to take control.
- To be able to automatically monitor from one console every server and device across the enterprise no matter where they are located.
- To be able to identify issues in real time, before they become problems. Enabling them to respond more quickly and deliver a higher level of service to support the business.
- To be able to automate appropriate actions as far as possible.
- To be able to filter out routine and low importance issues to focus on the most critical situations.
- To be able to identify and resolve reliability and performance issues before they become serious problems.
In short they need more control and less complexity. They need to use technology to manage technology. System administrators need the tools to be more effective managing their enterprise and, to ensure a low cost of operation; the cost of managing and administering these solutions must remain low.
A successful System Manager needs a thorough understanding of the issues and the ability to manage the complexity of a mixed iSeries and WINTEL enterprise. Their Enterprise Management System needs to automate the process of managing the network enabling event management, proactive monitoring and alerting, as well as reporting and analysis.
What Does an Enterprise Management System Deliver?
An Enterprise Management System acts as a silent partner, proactively monitoring all aspects of the system with less human activity.
An Enterprise Management System should enable:
- Reduced management overhead for the systems it’s managing, requiring fewer people to manage more systems.
- Increased system availability and user productivity.
- Integrated information for improved informed decisions.
- Reduced cost of managing the system itself.
An Enterprise Management System should be invisible to users, monitoring activity across the enterprise, with limited impact on network performance and system resources. It should continuously survey the enterprise monitoring all servers and devices and notify the IT Manager of any issues that need attention and should enable technology to monitor itself and report significant events or failures to one central point.
Automation of all monitoring can be controlled through a central console providing a single, overall picture of the status of the enterprise with limited manual interaction.
An Enterprise Management System allows system managers to harness their IT systems and deliver increased levels of service availability to the business. To achieve this it should be capable of:
- Filtering events and error messages;
- Dealing with routine issues by pre-programming a sequence of different automated actions to mirror what a real life operator would do in specific situations;
- Responding to alarms with pre-determined actions and escalating alarms as necessary; and,
- For critical issues, raising alarms on the central console when an operator is in attendance, while out of hours on call staff should be notified by emails or mobile text message.
An Enterprise Management System supplier should have:
- Expertise in a range of hardware and software environments and be experts in system management
- Experience of the world of system management from both a user and a vendor viewpoint
- A track record of developing easy to use, reliable and cost effective solutions
- A friendly, responsive and professional support service
An Enterprise Management System automates the monitoring performance and resource management that is essential to ensure systems remain operational. It enables IT organisations to manage the enterprise infrastructure, including desktop, WINTEL and iSeries servers, data storage subsystems, and the networks that connect them and maintain high levels of service.
An Enterprise Management System reduces the complexity and cost of an IT organisation harnessing the existing skills base, reducing human capital expenditures and minimizing the number of people required to keep the enterprise operating at peak efficiency.
An Enterprise Management System provides trend analysis enabling effective planning and resource management. With an Enterprise Management System an organisation is better equipped to make better decisions faster and so thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.