Many IT departments are spending time and effort on projects to map their ever-changing and complex IT infrastructure to the business services they support. In this post I want to explore the potential benefits and provide an insight to the approaches used to achieve this.
I have seen this approached in many ways with varying levels of success. The major differences are around discovery of IT Infrastructure, mapping the IT infrastructure to the applications and services, maintaining the maps over time, and consuming this information to add business value. So why map in the first place?
To keep it simple, the answer is to align IT to the business. The business is typically not thinking in terms of servers, databases, networks or storage. It is concerned with running the business, increasing revenue, customer acquisition and customer retention. Can customers place order? Do staff have the IT applications available to do their job? Will staff get paid on time? Can products be delivered to customers on time?
By mapping the IT infrastructure to applications and services allows IT to:
- Understand the impact of potential change to the services they support
- Monitor availability and performance by service and prioritise accordingly
- Capacity planning can be based on the service
- Incidents can be linked to the service and prioritise accordingly
- Planning for Cloud, Virtualisation, Consolidation or Datacentre migrations can all be done with the service being considered
- Prioritise the security and remediation of vulnerabilities to crucial or high risk services
If we move on to the how, then this comes down to the discovery tool used, the tools capabilities to create service maps and how this integrates with your CMDB, ITSM, Monitoring/Event Management, automation tools and Capacity Management solutions
BMC Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) discovers and maps the relationships and dependencies between hardware, network, storage and software assets. With its agentless discovery, fast and easy deployment and broad coverage of all operating systems, virtual platforms and storage –ADDM continually discovers and validates what makes up your IT environment. When ADDM and uControl are used together we can reduce the cost and time in providing application dependency maps by up to 80%. Allowing the application owners to easily input, review and maintain what makes up their applications and services. Coupled with the drift management capabilities of uControl, maintaining the accuracy of maps and iteratively improving data quality becomes easy – no need to continually remap every 6,12 or 18 months. This eliminates the maps becoming out dated and inaccurate, and the cost of revisiting the process from the start.
IT can provide real business value from mapping IT Infrastructure to Applications & Services. With the right approach and the right tools, then this value can be achieved, and importantly maintained, in a time relatively short time-scale.