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6 Posts authored by: Andrew Harsch
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Your Recipe for Value Maturity

 

Have you ever heard the saying, “Anyone who can read a cookbook can cook”? That may work if the recipe is well tested and the cook has a basic knowledge of cooking terms and processes. However, culinary experts —professional chefs — have a deeper knowledge of how various factors can affect the results. This includes how the freshness of ingredients or an alteration in cooking temperature at the right time can influence the outcome of a dish.

 

They are likely to taste-test frequently,monitoring the cooking progress and adjusting seasonings or cooking procedures accordingly. This close attention to detail is often the difference between a good meal and an excellent one.

 

Likewise, real-time monitoring and management plays acritical role in day-to-day IT operations, often making the difference in how well you achieve your business objectives. The effective implementation of availability and performance management tools enables organizations to understand the current state of IT,with a growing number of IT organizations using these tools to understand how well they are supporting critical business services. To this end, application performance management is considered a core subset of availability and performance management, which provides visibility into how well user and application transactions flow across the IT infrastructure in support of these business services.

 

Analyst firms continue to create and enhance their maturity models to help their clients understand the value of technology, as well as provide a path toward greater organizational and process maturity. New technologies, approaches, priorities, and challenges have changed how IT is,and should be, monitored. The focus has moved from monitoring faults and outages to managing performance degradation. It has also moved from a reactive approach based on mean time to repair (MTTR), to a proactive approach that uses behavioral analysis to avoid outages. In addition, there is a need to understand how end users are working with IT,and how new IT service delivery models (e.g., public and private clouds) are being used. These factors, plus a growing reliance on IT, are fueling the need for more effective ways to monitor IT applications and end-user behavior — no matter where those applications are located or how users choose to access them. For example, many users now access applicationsfrom their smartphones, tablets, televisions, laptops, and other devices.

 

This paper explains the shortcomings of traditional,analyst-developed IT maturity models for informing and guiding the evaluation of IT monitoring capabilities, the purchase of monitoring tools, and the creation of effective monitoring strategies.

 

About the Authors

David Williams is a Vice President of Strategy in the Office of the CTO, with particular focus on availability and performance management, application performance management, IT operations automation, and management tools architectures. He has 29 years ofexperience in IT operations management. Williams joined BMC from Gartner, where he was research vice president, leading the research for IT process automation(run book automation), event correlation and analysis, performance monitoring, and  IT operations management architectures and frameworks. His past experience also includes executive-level positions at AlterPoint (acquired by Versata) and ITMasters (acquired by BMC), and he served as vice president of Product Management and Strategy at IBM Tivoli. He also worked as a senior technologist at CA Technologies for Unicenter TNG and spent his early years in IT working in computer operations for several companies, including Bankers Trust.


Leslie Minnix-Wolfe is Lead Solutions Manager for Proactive Operations and the Service Assurance products at BMC Software. Minnix-Wolfe has more than 25 years of diverse development and marketing experience, primarily in the IT systems management domain, with a broad base of other experience, especially in BSM and predictive analytics. She previously held product and development management positions at several high-tech start-ups, including Netuitive and Managed Objects. She holds a BS in math/computer science from the College of William and Mary.

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In this Buzz on IT Automation Podcast, Ben Newton and Tim Fessenden of BMC talk about building a business case for automation and educating the decision makers about investing in resources for the rollout,ongoing development, and maintenance of an IT automation platform, and creating  a customer "Center of Excellence."

 

Bios:Ben Newton is the Sr Manager for Operations Buyer Marketing and Tim Fessendenis Product Line Executive for Data Center Automation at BMC Software.

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BMC Software  today announced that the company received a “Strong Positive” rating in Gartner’s recent report entitled, “MarketScope for Network Configuration and Change Management (NCCM).”

BMC’son going investment in NCCM was evaluated based on the following criteria considered in the report: current product capabilities, product strategy,overall viability, sales execution and market responsiveness.

“Webelieve that Gartner’s recognition of the quality of our integrated architecture confirms BMC’s approach to NCCM as an integral component of our cloud computing, full-stack provisioning and network assurance solutions for business service management in dynamic IT environments,” said Tim Fessenden,vice president of research and development, data center automation,BMC. “Our ‘Strong Positive’ rating is a testament to BMC’s strength in NCCM and the value we deliver to our customers as they work to improve staff efficiency, address network compliance audit requirements and automate provisioning in multi-tenant environments.”

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BMC recently announced that it had acquired Streamstep, an innovative player in the quickly emerging area of Development operations application management or DevOps.  I had a chance to recently sit down with Jody Hunt, Lead Solutions manager, and Christopher Little, Lead Solutions manager, to find out more about this acquisition and the added capabilities to the BMC portfolio as BMC Release Process Management or BRPM.

 

This is Part III of this interview;

 

 

 

How does BMC Release Process Management integrate with other automation solutions?

 

Little: BRPM integrates with other automation solutions through secure shell(SSH) or BMC Application Automation. With SSH, BMC Release Process Management can call any script or CLI (command line interface) on remote servers. For BMCApplication Automation, BRPM  leverages its capabilities including Role Based Access Control (RBAC), jobs and agents to drive application automation on a wide range of server platforms. The solutionis also integrated with BMC Middleware Automation and BMC Database Automation via their CLIs, invoked through SSH on remote servers.

 

 

If a customer wants to automate using BMC Release Process Management, can they re-use their existing scripts and automation?

 

Hunt: Yes, this is a unique differentiator of the solution because it does not require customers to change their current release process implementations. Customers usually reuse their existing packaging and deployment scripts. Scripts can be set up to run via the BMC Release Process Management processes in just a few minutes.

 

How does BMC Release ProcessManagement work with repository systems?


 

Little: BMC Release Process Management  integrates with existing code and build repository systems via Web Services or command line APIs.  BMC Release Process Management can query the repository to present users with a list of build products. Additionally, users can drive specific actions on artifacts in the repository – including builds and deployments. If developer teams are providing pre or post-commit notes, BMC Release Process Management can make these available to the release and testing teams –enhancing visibility of release progress. Once testing is complete and signed off – the solution can ensure that only approved artifacts are deployed to controlled environments, such as stage and production.  streamstep_lifecycles.jpg

 

How does BMC Release Process Management work with a CMDB?


Hunt: BMC ReleaseProcess Management integrates with CMDBs via Web Services or command line APIs– and forms part of a customer’s “Federated CMDB” solution.   In this capacity, the solution stores highly transient version information for custom-developed software components and applications.  The solution also leverages CIs related to the build, packaging and deployment processes for these artifacts.  When a CI is deployed,BMC Release Process Management can update the CMDB accordingly. Additionally,BMC Release Process Management can trigger BMC BARA to run audit jobs tocompare the CMDB information with the deployed environment. BMC Release Process Management can use the central CMDB to store and reference all CIs to provide acomplete end-to-end view.

 

 

Does BMC Release Process Management work with BMC Atrium Orchestrator?

 

Little: BMC Release Process Management complements BMC Atrium Orchestrator.

 

While BMC Atrium Orchestrator supports fully automated processes -BMC Release Process Management helps teams coordinate release flows that contain manual and automated steps. Today many release teams are using spreadsheets and conference calls to coordinate these highly variable and frequently updated processes. BMC Release Process Management enables the entire team to get on the same page for fluid real-time release events, while readily invoking BMC BladeLogic and BMC Atrium Orchestrator automation.

 

For process improvement, BRPM provides metrics and reports that help teams identify additional automation opportunities for BMC BladeLogic andBMC Atrium Orchestrator automation - delivering more value from an automation  investment.

 

How does BMC Release Process Management work with change management systems?


Little: BRPM integrates with change management solutions via Web Services orcommand line APIs.  The current integration provides for both creating and synchronizing with Request-For-Change tickets from the change management system. Depending on the change management system implementation, for an individual RFC, all relevant fields such as status and dependencies can be both retrieved and updated.

 

This sounds very interesting, so a natural question is going to be, how is it priced?


Little: BMC Release Process Management is priced on the “per managed asset – server endpoint” unit of measure.

Release Process Management is licensed similarly to the other BladeLogic Automation products. To determine the license quantity, c ount the number of physical and virtual OS instances that the product will manage. For mainframe environments, count the number ofphysical and logical mainframe OS instances.

Example: you have 750 Windows servers, 200 Unix servers and 100 VMs in your environment. That would total License qty=1,050

 

 

What are the system requirements forBMC Release Process Management?


Little: BMC Release Process Management is a web application that runs on most major browsers.

  • Firefox 3.0 or greater
  • Safari 4.0 or greater
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or greater
  • Chrome 9.0 or greater

 

 

Where can I get more information?

 

BMC Release Product Management


Video library: http://www.youtube.com/user/StreamStepVideos

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BMC recently announced that it had acquired Streamstep, an innovative player in the quickly emerging area of Development operations application management or DevOps.  I had a chance to recently sit down with Jody Hunt, Lead Solutions manager, and Christopher Little, Lead Solutions manager, to find out more about this acquisition and the added capabilities to the BMC portfolio as BMC Release Process Management or BRPM.

 

This is Part II of this interview;

 

 

Why is this important to BMC customers?

Hunt: BMC automation customers and prospects will be interested in BRPM’s out-of-the-box integration with our other automation products (BSA, BAA, BMA, BDA).

 

And BMC ITSM customers will be interested in how BRPM complements and integrates with their Change Management Lifecycle including the ticketing and approval processes.

 

How is BMC Release Process Management different from development or change-ticketing solution, including RallyDev, Mingle, IBM Rational ClearQuest, Borland StarTeam and Atlassian JIRA? (even our own BMC ITSM Change & Release Management)

Hunt: These solutions are variations on ticketing systems, which track enhancements, bugs or change requests (CRs) for the development or release process. Each batch of CRs blows out into a release checklist that has to be managed. Our software provides tooling for the actions and granular steps of release coordination itself.

 

 

How is BMC Release Process Management different from build automation solutions like BuildForge or CruiseControl?

Hunt: Build automation solutions are targeted to the individuals who are tasked with building the code. BMC Release Process Management is designed to create and to execute an end-to-end development, QA testing, packaging and deployment process. This comprehensive process could include invoking a build automation solution as well as packaging, deploying and smoke testing the application (verifying it is up and running) in a pre-production environment.

 

How is BMC Release Process Managementdifferent from workflow solutions?

Little: The BMC solution provides purpose-built tooling for Development and Operations to collaborate: to support  release planning, team coordination and integrated automation. Workflow solutions work well for known and repeatable activities that don’t vary much over time and thus don't require extensive planning or coordination.

 

However, many IT processes, such as application release and IT migrations, are highly variable and often change from run to run. Few companies have adopted workflow for these processes because the frequent process changes require an extensive development and testing effort. In contrast, BMC ReleaseProcess Management allows customers to plan and coordinate manual and automated activities while maintaining controlled flexibility and supporting agile variation.

 

How long does it take to set up and deploy?

Little: Most customers can start using BMC Release Process Management immediately with just a few minutes of setup. With BMC Release Process Management, typical customer setup times range from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the complexity of the environment and release activities. Customers can upload existing environment information using a comma-delimited format (CSV) into BMC Release Process Management to accelerate the set-upprocess.

 

 

 

Still to come; Part 3

 


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Automation tools play an increasingly important role in day-to-day IT operations, however automation can be found in a wide range of software and IT management tools. In IT operations, automation is a word used everywhere.

 

To understand and measure automation, value can be very hard to quantify and in many cases describe. Automation lives at many levels in IT operations including at the operating system with batch and scripting, at the task level with job schedulers, workload automation brokers and configuration and provisioning tools, at the process level with run book automation tools and at the change management level.

 

Automation value can be accomplished at each level, however automation can be difficult and complex due to the need to integrate tools. To understand and get control of automation requires an understanding of how the tools provide automation, and how they work together.The BMC Automation Value Maturity Model provides a roadmap to unraveling this complexity.

 

In this Buzz on IT Automation Show, Ben Newton and David Williams give some insider tips to understanding how the BMC Automation Value Maturity Model provides a roadmap to unraveling the complexities of IT automation. Ben is the Senior Manager,Operations Buyer Marketing and David is the Vice president of strategy in theOffice of the CTO, both at BMC Software.

 

 

For More information view this short video of how Automation is changing IT

 

 

 

 

 

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