Monitoring IT Business Services

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1 A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Zenoss How Too Many Tools Can Impact Your IT Operation Efficiency January 2013

2 Table Of Contents Executive Summary... 2 Achieving Business Goals Through An Efficient Use Of IT... 3 The Challenges Of Managing Business Services... 7 Improving The Situation With A Better Management Solution Key Recommendations Appendix A: Methodology Appendix B: Supplemental Material Appendix C: Demographics/Data Appendix D: Endnotes , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to [1-KVGR3B] About Forrester Consulting Forrester Consulting provides independent and objective research-based consulting to help leaders succeed in their organizations. Ranging in scope from a short strategy session to custom projects, Forrester s Consulting services connect you directly with research analysts who apply expert insight to your specific business challenges. For more information, visit Page 1

3 Executive Summary In October 2012, Zenoss commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the issues surrounding the management of IT applications and business services. In conducting a survey of 161 IT professionals with direct responsibility for business-critical applications, Forrester found that all enterprises surveyed had fundamental issues while managing the availability and performance of these applications and business services. Each evolution of application technology and business services has brought another level of complexity and has increased the obsolescence of traditional Our survey shows that almost half (49%) of the IT operations surveyed waste more that 20% of their operational resources to track and correct problems and that businesses experience losses of more than $100,000 for 1 hour of downtime of their most critical applications. IT management processes and tools, especially in the area of performance prediction. Yet, numerous studies have linked business productivity and client satisfaction with application availability and performance. This emphasis on performance is reinforced by the current technology evolution: Smart devices, which are now ubiquitous in all facets of business services, require apps availability and fast response times. Looking at the survey data shows a number of trends that make an ideal management solution: 1) the ability to model applications dependencies on infrastructure components; 2) the ability to bring together data from all these components in a way that allows it to be shared by the issue investigation teams; and 3) the ability to combine crossdomain insights and rapidly identify the components at fault and the root cause of problems. Key Findings Forrester s study yielded the following key findings: Lowering operational costs and an efficient use of IT is the key objective. Efficiency is defined as providing the expected quality of service while constantly reducing the budget. Business service issues are the main factors affecting end user productivity. Because it is so difficult to receive meaningful alerts and precise information on the root cause of application issues, time is wasted in IT, resources are consumed, and the business bottom line is affected. IT professionals want proactive alerting and root-cause identification. A complete solution that includes the ability to model applications and monitor all components involved in delivering the business services, as well as integrating all events, is seen as an ideal solution to foster better and more effective cooperation between IT operation teams. An integrated solution is the preferred choice. Because of the breadth of coverage needed to answer the challenge of managing applications, a top-to-bottom and end-to-end integrated solution is the preferred choice. Page 2

4 Achieving Business Goals Through An Efficient Use Of IT Business goals are always translated in economic terms of increasing revenue and decreasing the cost of revenue. Within a given business model that is specific to the enterprise activity, cost avoidance becomes a major objective that can be translated by an increase in workforce productivity, a theme that a majority of our survey respondents acknowledge. The need to contain cost is the primary objective of 76% of respondents. This far outpaces the business process or customer retention goals at 37% (see Figure 1). Figure 1 Cost Reduction Is A Major Business Objective What are your company s top three major business imperatives? Lowering the company operating costs 76% Improving business workforce productivity 60% Improving quality of products and/or processes 57% Driving innovative new market offerings or business practices 37% Acquiring and retaining customers 37% Re-engineering core business processes 32% In this context, IT has a capital role to play as a major source of workforce productivity improvement. The IT infrastructure and business services, as well as the corresponding organizational structure, exist solely in any enterprise for the purpose of supporting business processes. This is not an easy feat. On one hand, the economic value of IT as a business tool requires more and more sophisticated functions that must be provided at a near constant level of service. On the other hand, the cost of delivering these functions has to be constantly reduced to maintain a competitive business value. But technology progress has so far played a major disruptive role. The exponential expansion of technology leads to smart and smarter devices, an explosion of business services, and increased complexity for IT operations professionals. IT is not only tasked with delivering current business services at the highest quality level and the lowest possible cost, it is also required to absorb the new technology and innovate (see Figure 2). Page 3

5 Figure 2 IT Organization Efficiency Defined In your opinion, what are the key criteria by which your organization defines an efficient IT organization? Constant improvement: providing the expected quality of service while constantly reducing the budgets 33% Innovation improvements: Improve IT services through innovation and the deployment of new technologies 32% Cutting costs: reducing all budgets (hardware, software and personnel) across the board 19% Best effort: Providing service quality within fixed/defined budget 9% Focus on quality of service: providing the best possible quality of service regardless of cost 7% Technology evolution doubles the capacity and performance of components every two years, while the cost of the same components decreases exponentially in the same amount of time. The consequence has been clearly stated by the late Watts Humphrey, who reached the conclusion a few years ago that software size is multiplied by 10 every five years, and in fact follows a corresponding exponential growth as hardware does. This has a direct impact on the number of problems in application. For example, Watts Humphrey commented that, if the development process does not evolve in parallel with the size of software, the ratio of errors per thousand of lines of code will tend to stay constant, meaning that the total number of errors in an application effectively doubles every two years. 1 2 N-tier composite applications are the result of this trend and are fast becoming critical for today s business services. Each new level of complexity increases the obsolescence of traditional IT management processes and tools. The tight coupling between business results and IT service levels brings inevitably a strong dependency of the former on the latter, and the benefits of IT services can very quickly be nullified by poor service quality (see Figure 3). Page 4

6 Figure 3 Business Objectives Are Jeopardized By Application Availability To alleviate the business service quality issue, many IT organizations rely on IT management software tools. However, in many instances, these tools lag behind application complexity and prove to be inadequate for the task (see Figure 4). Page 5

7 Figure 4 Management Tools Are Seen As Critical, But Lacking Essential Features An IT operation manager in a US-based power and gas distribution company confirms these survey results: We are attempting to go at this from a couple of different angles. We have an operation center. We have some element managers that we bring together [in our network management console] and element managers to look at network devices as well as server devices. It is pretty heavily infrastructure based. Page 6

8 The Challenges Of Managing Business Services The challenge of managing business services efficiently is epitomized by these words of another IT operation manager in financial services shows where the problem resides (see Figure 5): We have 15 different management products, each vendor and technology silo specific. End-to-end integration has proved to be difficult. Each silo brings their own tool set to the table and correlating all the data is impossible. Figure 5 The Difficulties Of Aligning Siloed Tool Sets Among the critical industrial processes, IT is probably the only one where control and management comes as an afterthought. Blame it on product vendors or on immature clients, but managing business services takes a back seat to Page 7

9 developing critical functions aligned with business requirements. But as the application is actually the automation of a critical business process, service continuity deserves a priority level as high as the pure functional aspects. Issues with an application, whether born from development, capacity sizing or configuration errors, show themselves in production. As these errors are related to specific parts of the service delivery engine, they tend not to show themselves at the same time; they appear haphazardly, as a consequence of the particular environment of a business process phase. This creates a business and IT crisis that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible to avoid productivity and business losses. There is consequently a rush to select a magic bullet that resolves the particular problem du jour. The consequence of this knee-jerk reaction to selecting management products is a key factor in the proliferation of technology specific tools (see Figure 6). Figure 6 The Proliferation Of Siloed And Non-Integrated Tools How many different infrastructure monitoring and application monitoring tools are currently in use in your IT operation (including network, servers, database, and application monitoring)? 50 or more 10% Don't know 4% Less than 10 27% Between 30 and 49 17% Between 10 and 29 42% How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? 1= Strongly disagree 2= Disagree 3= Neither disagree or agree 4= Agree 5= Strongly agree The multiplication of infrastructure / application monitoring tools creates more challenges than it solves 4% 38% 44% 14% Page 8

10 This multiplication of independent tools becomes a challenging proposition when teams are asked to cooperate to find a solution to a critical issue, or simply when trying to correlate data from different sources. As witnessed by the following statement of an operation manager for a large telecommunication service provider: I have five excellent monitoring tools that provide a wealth of information. They all report on different consoles. They are perfectly useless. The direct consequence is that complex issues take more than 24 hours to resolve and involve a lot of IT resources. This of course sends business productivity tumbling down and IT costs spiraling up, which is exactly the opposite of initial business objectives (see Figure 7). Figure 7 The Consequence Of IT Management Challenges Our survey shows that almost half (49%) of the IT operations surveyed waste more that 20% of their operational resources to track and correct problems and that 47% of the businesses experience losses of more than $100,000 for 1 hour of downtime of their most critical applications (see Figure 8). Because 61% of the respondents have 98% availability or less of their most critical applications, 47% of enterprises working 9 hours a day in 2012 would actually see 45 hours of downtime and lose $4.5 million as a consequence. For IT, solving this or minimizing the waste of resources would result in a net gain of 20% of its workforce an improvement that any VP of operations would welcome. As stated by the operation vice president of a financial institution: Page 9

11 It is so bad that sometimes transient issues take months to fully resolve and it take six to 10 people to work on it part time. Figure 8 The Loss Of Business Productivity And The Rise Of IT Costs (percentages may not total 100% due to rounding) Improving The Situation With A Better Management Solution Business services are made of IT functions that directly support a business process. If the link between a business process and the infrastructure is the application, then an application represents a business service, and service management is the capability to make applications available to the end user, provide levels of performance that are compatible with the business processes, and ensure that the data used in this process is available and not corrupted. It does sound like the primary objective of system management and IT operations since the dawn of time, and it actually is, but this goal has been promised many times and has never been really achieved by IT operations. 3 Page 10

12 In a typical illustration of Zeno s paradox, application technologies forever precede management capabilities, and management solutions are most of the time aftermarket products purchased in a crisis reaction mode. 4 The consequence is that most IT operations have become a collection of experts, each with a bag of tools preferably independent and incompatible. As application architectures evolve exponentially in complexity, experts are facing increasingly complex situations that overwhelm the analytic abilities of any single person. While most of the information needed to effectively manage the new application architectures may be collected by many products already available, gathering several experts and manually aggregating data from multiple sources into a meaningful view of a business service is at best extremely painful, resource intensive, and usually a complete waste of time. Improving the situation would take a solution that presents better alerts, integration, and complete visibility into the structure of business services (see Figure 9). Figure 9 More Effective Tools Are The Key Providing intelligent data aggregation brings the promise of faster problem resolution and impact assessment, and consequently, an effective and efficient way to manage services based on complex and tightly coupled technologies. This approach is based on: The creation of service models. A service model describes all the components used in delivering a service and is a fundamental template that is used to reach a more effective problem resolution and impact analysis. Page 11

13 The determination of service goals consistent with the business objectives and derived from service-level agreements. The real-time monitoring of these service goals, and an effective alerting mechanism. The capability to identify quickly, based on the service model, which component is at fault and why. Because they reduce the sample of information to be correlated, application models are the cornerstone of an integrated monitoring strategy, and this is clearly expressed by the respondents in this study: 16% state that mapping or modeling applications to infrastructure components is the key feature of an ideal management solution (see Figure 10). Figure 10 Application Models Are Critical To Service Management The complement to application modeling is the ability to collect data and events consistently across all components of the business service or application. This provides complete visibility and the ability for siloed teams to share the same data and eventually effectively cooperate within a single source of truth (see Figure 11). Page 12

14 Figure 11 A Single Source Of Consistent Data Is The Ideal Complement To Application Models What do you believe are the benefits of using a single integrated solution for all service monitoring and management tools? The data collected on infrastructure are consistent and normalized and more likely to yield accurate information It makes our IT organization more efficient and helps prioritize activities It greatly reduces downtime and brownouts of critical applications and/or business services 40% 48% 47% It will improve user and business satisfaction The solution is better integrated 30% 34% The tool deployment is easier and less costly It will improve business workforce productivity It frees important operational resources The support is better 25% 24% 21% 19% None; I don't believe there are any significant benefits to using a single vendor for all service assurance tools Don't know 1% 4% The criteria for selecting such a solution is not based on the notoriety of vendors, but on simple economic and functional considerations. The link to open source solutions is seen as a definite plus (see Figure 12). Page 13

15 Figure 12 Selection Criteria For A Management Solution Even More Complex: The Future Data Center As technology growth shows no sign of slowing down in the coming years, an onslaught of demand is on the IT horizon. The challenge of the next five years calls for a different approach to the increased complexity of the future data center. As business requirements have mounted, generations of technology have been implemented to try and stem the tide. The result: data centers characterized by complex, static physical configurations, incomplete virtualization efforts, and multiple silos of management. Adding public and private clouds as well as potential business driven software-as-aservice (SaaS) applications will add an order of magnitude to this overwhelmingly complex environment. The only solution to bring this mix of new and legacy technology under control is to abstract this complexity through a management software layer that presents a single management interface for all the different technologies in place. This is where an integrated suite of management tools based on service models represents not only a better way to manage infrastructures and applications today, but also a better preparation for managing the ever growing complex environment of tomorrow. Page 14

16 KEY RECOMMENDATIONS This study shows that business services availability and performance problems have the greatest impact on an enterprise bottom line, but they are the most difficult issues to resolve. The lack of tools for proactive alerting and root-cause identification is a major obstacle to rapid resolution. This leads to not only important business costs, but also to a fragmented and inefficient use of IT resources. IT organizations need the right tools to be efficient. To serve a dynamic IT organization, the tool set used must have broad domain monitoring capabilities that can be abstracted in a way that focuses on services and therefore be able to model business services dependencies on the underlying infrastructure that is used to deliver each application. The result promotes cooperation across teams, better resource prioritization, and more streamlined troubleshooting. The tools must provide the right information. An important part of the tool integration is the ability to understand the dynamic context of each business service and the ability to model which infrastructure components are used in delivering the service to the end user. This is the basis needed for an accurate analysis of issues. The right information must promote team cooperation. Infrastructure and application management is also teamwork. Multiple constituencies intervene at the different stages of the incident and problem management process. Each of these participants must not only find the right information to perform their tasks, but do so in accordance with the other team members. A common, integrated view of all component data is a key feature of a management solution. Page 15

17 Appendix A: Methodology In this study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 161 IT organizations with more than 1,000 employees in North America to evaluate the current state of application availability and performance, the consequences of availability and performance issues, and the desires for an ideal service management automation solution. Survey participants included IT decision-makers across all major industry with the responsibility for network systems and/or application delivery. The study began in September 2012 and was completed in October Appendix B: Supplemental Material Related Forrester Research Business Service Management: Beyond 2012, Forrester Research, Inc., September 24, 2012 Develop Your Service Delivery Monitoring Strategy, Forrester Research, Inc., September 6, 2012 I&O Execs: It s Time To Rediscover BSM, Forrester Research, Inc., May 13, 2011 Appendix C: Demographics/Data Figure 13 Respondent Demographics Page 16

18 Appendix D: Endnotes 1 Watts Humphrey ( ) developed the Software Capability Maturity Model while working at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Managing the Software Process, and was considered a worldwide authority in software engineering. 2 See Watts Humphrey s columns, The Watts New? Collection: Columns by the SEI's Watts Humphrey, Carnegie Mellon University (http://www.sei.cmu.edu/library/abstracts/newsletters/wattsnewcompiled.cfm?dcsext.abstractsource=relatedlinks). 3 IT management solutions are successful, but they follow the market appearance, by their nature, of the technology that they are managing. 4 Zeno s Achilles paradox illustrates the hypothesis that a continuum (the evolution of technology) cannot be represented by a series of discrete events (the installation and use of management software solutions). Regardless of how fast solutions are brought to market, they are always behind the technology that they manage. Source: Zeno and the Paradox of Motion, MathPages (http://www.mathpages.com/rr/s3-07/3-07.htm). Page 17

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