IBM Global Technology Services August 2011Thought Leadership White PaperGaining efficiency and business valuethrough better management of yourIT infrastructureEight challenges to overcome for effective service delivery and cost savings
2 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructureTable of Contents Introduction Managing today’s complex server environments, networks and 2 Introduction IT infrastructures is challenging. Most organizations have tools 2 Understand key challenges of infrastructure and disciplines in place to provide basic availability management, management including hardware and software monitoring capabilities. However, your staff may not have the skills or time to support 4 Plan for effective infrastructure management and implement notiﬁcation handling, performance and capacity management, security management, conﬁguration management 4 Detecting and handling incidents and problems and automation. With the pressure to do more with less, how 5 Handling changes with minimal impact on availability can you balance the need to drive down costs and also improve delivery of system administration, information access, remote 5 Preventing security problems access and problem and change management? 6 Using emerging or challenging technologies effectively This paper surveys the challenges and solutions for effective 6 Maintaining server software and ﬁrmware management of your server infrastructures and network devices. It discusses important disciplines, such as availability manage- 7 Having indicators of status and trends for speciﬁc ment, and the tools you need to support a complex IT environ- infrastructure activities ment. Use of outsourcing, managed and cloud services are 7 Having the right tools for the job discussed as strategic ways to drive efficiency and create business value. You may choose to use this paper as a tool or checklist to 12 Deploying infrastructure and tools rapidly with a evaluate and improve your in-house handling of infrastructure proper level of ongoing management management or to evaluate potential services providers.12 Focus on service areas of growing importance Note: Throughout this paper you will encounter special “call to 12 Batch processing and cross-platform workloads action” sections. These sections are inserted where most relevant to the main content, and are intended to further your under- 12 Backup and restore standing of the topic with information about efforts and research 12 Middleware and database support services undertaken by IBM to apply technology solutions to that ﬁeld.13 Consider outsourcing and managed services Understand key challenges of13 Summary infrastructure management An infrastructure typically consists of a broadly heterogeneous14 Infrastructure management checklist collection of elements such as servers, virtual machines, logical partitions, routers, switches, wireless appliances, disks, proces- sors, operating systems, middleware and database instances and batch jobs. All of these elements can be mapped, more or less, into a simple framework as shown in Figure 1.
IBM Global Technology Services 3 4. Using emerging or challenging technologies effectively. New technologies hold great promise for Applications and services businesses by enabling cost reductions and ﬂexibility. Even so, the beneﬁts from these technologies can be elusive, Middleware because of the learning curve that users face in understand- ing them and effectively dealing with their complexity. Operating system 5. Maintaining server software and ﬁrmware. Applying emergency security ﬁxes or even routine software changes Platform can be a daunting task for your staff. To avoid negative Computer and network hardware impacts on your application availability and performance requires planning and careful execution, including provi- sions for restoring to a previous software or ﬁrmware level.Figure 1: Software and hardware service layers in distributed systems. 6. Having indicators of status and trends for speciﬁc infrastructure and activities. Information on the status ofThe management of your distributed and complex IT infrastruc- systems and applications is important in infrastructureture is often a signiﬁcant portion of your total cost of ownership management, especially in problem situations. This infor-(TCO). Getting costs under control while also meeting your mation is also needed for capacity planning. However,service-level commitments requires a focus on the following obtaining and analyzing operational and trend informationeight infrastructure management challenges: is time consuming and complex. 1. Detecting and handling incidents and problems. 7. Having the right tools for the job. There are many tools, Incidents and problems are a way of life for systems that from commercial products to home-grown tools, which involve hardware, software and people. Detecting and can be used to manage IT infrastructures. Having just the handling problems effectively is simply not easy. Handling right toolset for your environment requires balancing problems requires discipline, imagination and experience. human aspects, types of tools, number of tools, level of integration and secure use. A lack of such balance is 2. Handling changes with minimal impact on availability. reﬂected in ineffective support for business goals or unduly Change is frequently required in today’s highly complex high software or staff operations costs. systems. Dealing with change while striving for minimum downtime requires a variety of skills. 8. Deploying infrastructure and tools rapidly with the proper level of ongoing management. The fast pace of 3. Preventing security problems. Security challenges change in today’s business environment requires the need are ongoing and constantly changing. Your management to rapidly deploy systems and the tools to provide ongoing solution should incorporate plans to address the threats to support, especially for the mission-critical components of your systems and information in the form of web-based your IT infrastructure. These activities can be routine, but attacks and hackers. are important for meeting service-level commitments and supporting new business initiatives.
4 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructurePlan for effective infrastructure Detecting and handling incidents and problemsmanagement In addressing this challenge, the goal should be to provideAs you evaluate your current infrastructure management robust incident and problem handling, resulting in thecapabilities and consider outsourcing and managed services smoothest possible operation. If possible, this solution shouldproviders, focus on solutions that address the key challenges use preemptive actions to prevent failures.presented earlier. A focus on value should shape your goals, withcost and complexity playing a major factor in your evaluation The proven tactics that can help achieve this goal includeand consideration. With this focus, you can then determine the proactive and passive monitoring to detect incidents andbest approach to achieving your goals in the context of speciﬁc problems. Using technology to automatically handle incidents,tactics, as shown in Figure 2. open problem records and assign priority is also important to reduce labor costs. The use of innovative tools and methods to anticipate and correct problems before they occur is another labor-saving approach (see sidebar on Parity that follows). It is also useful to provide automated software support that makes it Cost and complexity easier for a system administrator to resolve incidents and prob- lems. Assigning support personnel based on the severity of the incident or problem to improve response time is a proven way to prioritize work in conjunction with using a service level agree- Context Goals Tactics ment (SLA). An example SLA pertaining to Severity 1 problems would have the goal of resolving 90 percent of the problems in What are we What can less than four hours. Following rigorous problem handling and trying to we do to Value management steps to ensure effective problem resolution is also achieve? achieve it? important. So is involving a specialized service manager and a multidisciplinary team. The business value of effective detection and handling of Business alignment incidents and problems is reﬂected in higher availability of IT resources, which can result in infrastructure and applications that function better for the company.Figure 2: Strategy framework for an effective IT management solution.Based on this framework, consider the recommendationsthat follow for solutions to address the eight key challengespreviously identiﬁed
IBM Global Technology Services 5 To help achieve this goal, one proven tactic is to have the teamCall to action: Use innovative tools to anticipate and participate at least weekly in change-management planning.correct problems. Prepare for change by planning activities and estimating the time required. Test changes prior to their implementation andUp to 80 percent of system outage time is consumed by prepare remediation activities in the event of a failed change toefforts to determine the nature or cause of the problem.Once the source of the problem is determined, the recovery restore the system to its previous condition. Using a skilledactions take relatively little time to execute. This represents change manager is a proven way to improve the quality ofan opportunity for continuous improvement, and Parity was change success, because you can beneﬁt from their accumulatedcreated as a response. As it pertains to the support of dis- experience.tributed server environments, Parity is a combination ofelements—code, logic, known environmental relationships As shown in the previous example, the business value ofand administration paradigm change—that can enable handling changes with minimal impact on availability issupport teams to eliminate the problem-discovery process reﬂected in higher availability of IT resources, which can resultand proceed directly to recovery. in better-functioning systems and applications.IBM Global Services, in partnership with IBM Research Labs,created Parity. Parity is a tool designed for and used Preventing security problemsexclusively by IBM personnel delivering managed services In addressing this challenge, the goal should be to deliver serv-that uses patented technology to help improve the stability ices and support that effectively manage security risk while main-and efficiency of support, and provides support personnel taining the necessary business agility.with a tool kit to better equip them for day-to-day manage-ment of their environments. The tool kit can handle common To help achieve this goal, one proven tactic is to use informationproblems automatically. For example, it can be used to security controls based on an industry standard and explain themperform automatic log-ﬁle management for system and in a living document. Implement key security variables, such asapplication logs, including pruning, rotating and rolling. Parity password length and update frequency, early in the process andalso can be used to gather data so system administrationpersonnel can be more productive using a real-time graphi- perform security remediation as required for servers and othercal representation of the entire environment—dynamically devices to help refresh and update your security posture. Lookgenerated. This is useful in situations in which Parity cannot for security exposures during the ongoing support period. For aautomatically handle the incident. closed-end process, specify the frequency of these analyses with monthly reporting on key security attributes and activities related to servers and other devices.Handling changes with minimal impact on availability The business value you can achieve by preventing securityIn addressing this challenge, the goal should be to manage problems is the reduced ﬁnancial risk associated with securitychange in a manner that results in highly predictable outcomes. breaches.
6 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructure To help achieve this goal, one of the proven tactics is to focus onCall to action: Complement day-to-day security operations skills support for virtual machines and logical partitions, usingwith end-to-end risk management solutions. change windows to make dynamic changes to production servers—like adding processor or memory resources to anAs a complement to day-to-day security activities, end-to- image. Develop the skills of your staff in a variety of HAend risk management solutions help to protect against thelatest threats while reducing the costs and complexity of software, including HP Multi-Computer/ServiceGuardsecurity. An example of this is from the IBM X-Force (MC/ServiceGuard), IBM HACMP™, Linux HA or Redresearch and development teams that study and monitor Hat Cluster Suite, Microsoft Cluster Services, Sun Cluster orthe latest threat trends, including vulnerability, exploits and Veritas Cluster Services and VMware HA.active attacks, viruses, malware, spam, phishing and mali-cious web content. The X-Force team also publishes several The business value of using these technologies includes lowerpublicly available reports each year, among them the Trend costs, higher application availability and improved businessand Risk Report and the Threat Insight Report. The Trend ﬂexibility as compared to obsolete technology approaches.and Risk Report is intended to help clients, researchers andthe public at large understand the changing nature of the Maintaining server software and ﬁrmwarethreat landscape and what might be done to mitigate it. In addressing this challenge, the goal should be a balanced col-IBM has developed several technologies and solutions to lection of proactive and reactive activities supported by effectivehelp clients protect their critical assets from security threats. software products and tools.An example is IBM® Proventia® Management SiteProtectorSystem, which is designed to provide central management of To help achieve this goal, one of the proven tactics is to monitorsecurity devices, policies and events to help evaluate and servers proactively and use monitoring software. Startup taskscommunicate your overall risk posture. Another example is may involve refreshing operating system processes, establishingIBM Proventia Desktop Endpoint Security, which helps startup sequences and changing priorities, as appropriate. Othersecure your desktops and laptops against known and server support activities include patching, conﬁguring and main-unknown attacks, providing multilayered security functional-ity in a single agent. taining log ﬁles, using remote tools to perform operational pro- cedures, providing server security activities for identiﬁcation and access, and supporting virtualization software. The business value you can achieve through server monitoringUsing emerging or challenging technologies effectively and management is a more reliable server operation that proac-In addressing this challenge, the goal should be a focus on tively monitors systems, resulting in higher availability throughemerging and challenging technologies such as virtualization and early detection of incidents and problems. In addition, compre-high-availability conﬁgurations, resulting in sustained beneﬁts hensive management can result in fewer software compatibilityfrom the use of these technologies. Virtualization can provide issues. Finally, remaining current with software patches andﬂexibility to achieve rapid change and high utilization of your levels helps ensure support is available, when necessary, for theexisting IT resources. High availability (HA) technology helps software supplier.support business resiliency and your requirements for continu-ous application availability.
IBM Global Technology Services 7 The business value you can achieve by way of useful reportingCall to action: Innovate system patching and maintenance is to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the service beingapproaches. provided and to report on elements that may have been missed during the daily operation. An example is servers with outdatedPatching is an important ongoing system maintenance signature or antivirus ﬁles. Dynamic reporting can also be usefulactivity. It is a delicate maneuver: to “keep up” withrecommended, scheduled maintenance while working in supporting functional disciplines, such as performance andto reduce risk by not implementing the system patch too capacity management.near the release date of a given patch or patch set. It is alsonecessary, from time to time, to apply speciﬁc patches to ﬁx Having the right tools for the jobor resolve immediate problems. Most patching approaches In addressing this challenge, the goal should be to use maturerequire that the system be running; however, many environ- tools and processes that deliver optimal service and supportments have dormant VM images that require periodic your SLAs.updates.Researchers from IBM and North Carolina State University To help achieve this goal, proven tactics include the use of toolsrecently published a paper on a tool called Nüwa that per- that can support disciplines or activities that need to be carriedforms offline patching of images.1 The tool examines the out, such as those listed and deﬁned forthwith.required patches and converts patch instructions so theycan be executed in batch, which is often a more scalable and Availability managementefficient manner. The focus of basic availability management is to determine the operational status of a device or resource. An example of a tool that is designed to support this capability is IBM Tivoli®Having indicators of status and trends for speciﬁc NetView®, which can provide basic availability monitoring andinfrastructure and activities smart logic to minimize the occurrence of false alerts. The logicIn addressing this challenge, the goal should be a dynamic performs multiple checks to determine whether a device is trulyreporting capability that can yield monthly reports that provide a unavailable.good way to understand the activities and performance of theservice. An operational or business dashboard is also useful, if Hardware monitoringyou can justify the high cost of information integration. The purpose of hardware monitoring is to pay special attention to system events that affect hardware. These events may includeTo help achieve this goal, one of the proven tactics is to post power failure, tampering, temperature changes and voltagereports on a portal for easy access. Also, make use of tools that irregularities. IBM Systems Director can be an effective toolfocus on server resource management and generate performance for hardware and software monitoring of server resources.and capacity reports to help you analyze trends. It is also impor- Software monitoringtant to generate and post reports that focus on security manage- Software monitoring of server resources is aimed at periodicallyment. A portal can also be used to enter problem records and querying key system elements to determine if any irregularitieschange notiﬁcations, while providing links to other needed tools, exist. The presence of these irregularities, even if intermittent,portlets and services that support ongoing activities. usually indicates a loss of IT service quality. Monitored system
8 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructureelements include processor workload, processor status, processor Security managementconsumption and system thrashing. IBM Tivoli Monitoring soft- The focus of security management is internal and external.ware can make such monitoring possible. Three important areas for security are within a local system, among distributed processes, in data and over networks andNotiﬁcation handling communications.Notiﬁcation handling aims to inform systems administratorpersonnel that an event has occurred or a threshold has been Examples of security management tools are Fusion, a securityexceeded. The notiﬁcation can take a number of forms—email, compliance tool designed for and used exclusively by IBM per-short message or page text. TelAlert from Network System sonnel delivering managed services, and hosted vulnerabilityArchitects, Inc. (NSAi) is an example of a tool that can be used management, a comprehensive cloud-based program designedin this manner to notify teams or individuals of problems. to help organizations implement the tools, methodologies and best practices required to address today’s dynamic vulnerabilityPerformance and capacity management landscape. Fusion helps improve efficiency through centralizedPerformance and capacity management involves the gathering server management. Fusion functions include operating systemof and reporting on data that is speciﬁcally focused on the per- security patch management, antivirus status checking, securityformance characteristics of devices and their capacity over time. log management, compliance checking and workﬂow remedia-An IBM Global Services web application and service offering tion, systematic attack detection and server information.called Server Resource Management (SRM), for instance, can be IBM’s delivery compliance administration support teama valuable tool to assist with server performance and capacity uses Fusion and other tools to help manage efficient servertrend analysis. Figure 3 shows a sample performance report from security-audit compliance, based on the contracted securitySRM on virtualized partitions. policy and Authorized Program Analysis Reports (APARs) for operating systems.Figure 3: Performance report on virtualized partitions.
IBM Global Technology Services 9Conﬁguration management as necessary—in short, they perform most activities associatedThe focus of conﬁguration management is to identify, capture, with keeping servers up and running. An example of a systemorganize and maintain conﬁguration information for use by administrator tool is IBM Service Delivery Portal, a web-basedother processes. A key challenge associated with conﬁguration information integration platform for server system administra-management is supporting the dynamic nature of systems, tors that can be used to consolidate operational data from clientnetworks and applications. environments. IBM Service Delivery Portal is a single dashboard that can standardize and simplify the user interface, helping toConﬁguration tools vary greatly in scope—from keeping a basic achieve centralized and consistent execution of tasks.inventory of the items to using a complete data model thatemploys dynamic discovery capabilities. One such tool is the Information accessGlobal Asset and Conﬁguration Data Warehouse, which uses a The aim of information access is to provide easy access toconﬁguration management database to help maintain conﬁgura- reports, an operational dashboard and tools and related subsys-tion information about supported features and devices. tems. Information access is important, because it can provide visibility of the infrastructure management service.System administrationThe focus of system administration is to perform tasks that sup- Typically, access to information is provided by way of a portal.port devices, especially servers. System administration personnel IBM Services Connection, shown in Figure 4, is a primaryinstall and maintain software products and tools, patch software interface that organizations can use to access reports and tools. Itand perform problem determination, participate in change- can also support information access for IBM Remote Managedmanagement activities and support application programmers, Infrastructure Services.Figure 4: IBM’s Services Connection web portal for IBM Remote Managed Infrastructure Services.
10 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructureAutomationThe automation functional perspective, or discipline, is complex Call to action: Use autonomic solutions where they can beto describe, because it is both a stand-alone function and one found.that is embedded in other functional perspectives, such as opera- At the same time that databases are growing rapidly in scaletions and problem management. For example, Parity can be used and complexity, skilled database administrators (DBAs) areto proactively and automatically solve problems. Parity checks becoming more rare and costly, thus inspiring innovativewhen a process or communication of a software client is not efforts to automate many of those functions currentlyworking properly. If the process is not working because of a performed by people. One result of these efforts isdependent component on a different client, Parity uses known “autonomic databases,” the goal of which is to makerecovery methods to help restore the functionality of the databases self-conﬁguring, self-healing, self-optimizing anddependent client. self-protecting—in short, completely self-managing. This is part of a wider “autonomic computing” initiative byEnVision, another automation tool designed for and used IBM to provide technology designed to increase the effec-exclusively by IBM personnel delivering managed services, can tiveness of human intervention in computer systems byautomatically open problem records for access and handling. reducing the number and complexity of those interventionsDeveloped by an IBM team responsible for enterprise service through the use of automation, intelligent advice and learn-management infrastructure tools integration, the EnVision ing. These efforts can result in a reduction in the total costtool is a single sign-on, front-end web portal designed to of ownership (TCO) and increased business productivity.access and manage multiple problem management systems. Recently, IBM has extended its research in self-healingNear-real-time information from disparate systems can be systems to the challenges of problem determination, such as detecting, isolating and determining the root cause oforganized and consolidated into a centralized web portal for unknown problems, after ﬁrst determining whether theeasier access and management. The EnVision integration tool problem is known by matching the symptoms to a databasehelps collectively organize problem tickets, details, priorities of known symptoms. To learn more about the latest auto-and statuses from multiple problem management systems into a nomic features of DB2, visit: ibm.com/software/data/db2/single-access web portal. linux-unix-windows/features.html
IBM Global Technology Services 11Remote access the stability of your systems environment. An important consid-Remote access tools such as RemotelyAnywhere by LogMeIn, eration for change management is the need for written backoutInc. and OpenSSH, an open source tool for secure access, can procedures and a process to reduce the risks of failed changes.assist with reaching infrastructure elements, such as servers, in asecure and productive manner. OpenSSH is integrated into base ManageNow, another internal web-based tool for use exclusivelysystems such as OpenBSD, FreeBSD, BSDi BSD/OS, NetBSD, by IBM personnel delivering managed services, can supportComputone, Stallion, Cygwin, e-smith server and gateway, problem and change management, using enterprise systemsMac OS X Version 10.1, HP Procurve Switch 4108GL management infrastructure to store and manage problem and2524/2512, IBM AIX® and SunSSH in Sun Solaris 9. change information.Problem and change management The business value of having the right tools is measured inManaging problems is important because users expect timely terms of the effectiveness of the service at a manageable andcorrection and resolution. Change management is closely linked sustainable cost. Table 1 summarizes all the tools listed in thisto problem management because change can introduce risk to section, organized by activity or discipline.Table 1. Tools in context. Activity or discipline Tool example Basic availability management NetView with software logic to eliminate false alerts Hardware monitoring IBM Systems Director Software monitoring of resources IBM Tivoli Monitoring Windows OS Agent Notiﬁcation handling TelAlert Performance and capacity management Server Resource Management (SRM) Security management Fusion Conﬁguration management Global Asset and Conﬁguration Data Warehouse System administration Service Delivery Portal and Knowledge Base Information access IBM Services Connection Automation Parity and EnVision Remote access RemotelyAnywhere and OpenSSH Problem and change management ManageNow
12 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructureDeploying infrastructure and tools rapidly with a proper level Batch processing and cross-platform workloadsof ongoing management Planned, batch workloads are growing in signiﬁcance inIn addressing this challenge, the goal should be rapid deploy- midrange systems. It is important to handle this workload in ament through pre-engineered and solid ongoing support using a planned fashion using an automated tool. This way, as batchservice manager. windows decrease in duration, you can plan for and automate your batch and cross-platform workloads.The proven tactics for deployment to achieve this goal includeusing a model project plan based on prebuilt components, with a Backup and restoreproject manager to ensure that your deployment goes smoothly. Backup and restore, like batch processing, is an example ofA delivery architect—a specialized role—helps to serve as a a time-critical service that is subject to a shrinking or nearlytechnical complement to the project manager. nonexistent time window. Make the best use of the backup window by using technology to leverage automated approaches.The proven tactics for achieving ongoing support are to use Also, use backup-while-active when possible. For rapid restora-well-deﬁned ongoing support activities, using desk procedures tion of the operating system and environment following a diskto help provide your enterprise with an optimum degree of failure, backups should be independent of incremental copies.ongoing management. While a specialized service deliverymanager can help ensure the ongoing support goes smoothly, Middleware and database support servicesyou could also consider using other specialized roles, such as With the dominance of databases and middleware, managedsecurity specialists, change managers and duty managers. services providers have begun offering support for products in this category. Middleware and database services are not new, butThe business value you can achieve by deploying infrastructure extensive adoption by companies worldwide is making themwith a proper level of ongoing management is more rapid more relevant. Middleware that supports mobility devices isdeployment (time value of money) and more reliable and growing in importance, and support services in this domain arepredictable outcomes. important to help companies realize the productivity beneﬁts that come from effective employee mobility.Focus on service areas of growing The business value you can achieve from middleware andimportance database support services is assistance with the daily activitiesThree areas of growing importance include batch processing, of software management and the skill of experienced personnelbackup and restore, and middleware and database support who accompany the service. This can result in the ability toservices. better deploy existing support personnel, improve handling of problems and changes and more rapidly deploy new systems and applications.
IBM Global Technology Services 13 ● Experience with processes and tools. This experience isCall to action: Extend your support for collaboration particularly deep because these providers serve many clients,beyond the four walls. all of whom look for cost-efficient services. ● Lower cost for a higher level of service. Economies of scaleAdvances in mobility technology are helping organizations can make signiﬁcant process improvements more affordable.extend their capabilities beyond the four walls of the office—enabling employees to collaborate in real time and be pro-ductive wherever they happen to be. The more mobility This is not a comprehensive list of reasons, but a compelling list,devices supported by the collaboration software, the better, all the same for you to seriously consider using an outsourcingas it allows employees to own and use the device of their or managed services provider.choosing.Mobility features in IBM Lotus® Sametime® software canhelp you collaborate in real time—virtually anywhere you are Call to action: Use managed cloud services.working. The Sametime mobile client can extend many of thecapabilities available from the desktop Sametime client to IBM is developing the next-generation enterprise cloudthe Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry, Nokia, Samsung, service delivery platform, called IBM Smart Business Cloud,Sony Ericsson and Microsoft Windows mobile devices. And, offered in two tiers—IBM Smart Business Cloud-EnterpriseSametime 8.5 is designed to support a browser-based Apple and IBM Smart Business Cloud-Enterprise+. Currently,iPhone chat client. IBM Smart Business Cloud-Enterprise cloud is up and running around the world and IBM is piloting IBM Smart Business Cloud-Enterprise+ with key clients. IBM Smart Business Cloud-Enterprise+ will be available later in 2011. IBM’s Smart Business is a common IBM architecture andConsider outsourcing and managed platform for private, public and hybrid clouds and is basedservices on IBM hardware, software, services and best practices.Using outsourcing and managed services are strategic ways to IBM is committed to deliver, as a complementary service tohelp drive efficiency and create business value. These services the Smart Business platform, a robust set of services,can offer: including desktop, compute, storage, backup, SAP, security and uniﬁed communications.● Broad and deep skills needed to support a heterogeneous computing environment. It is obviously more difficult for you to employ these skills within your organization at an affordable cost. Summary● Redeployment of your key human resources to more Supporting a dynamic business and resilient IT environment strategic activities, rather than maintaining existing requires effective management of your server infrastructure and systems. Even as you use services providers to manage your network devices. By focusing on the activities or disciplines and infrastructure, your employees can build the future of your tools necessary to carry efficient support and delivery services, company. you can improve your own management capabilities and evaluate the capabilities of potential outsourcing and managed services providers.
14 Gaining efficiency and business value through better management of your IT infrastructureInfrastructure management checklistUse the following table as a checklist to help you evaluate your infrastructure management effectiveness.Table 2. Infrastructure management effectiveness checklist. Detecting and handling incidents and problems Maintaining server software and ﬁrmware ✓ Monitoring to detect incidents and problems? ✓ Proactively administering servers and using monitoring software? ✓ Using technology to automatically handle incidents, open problem ✓ Managing server platform support activities like patching and log ﬁle records and assign priority? maintenance? ✓ Using tools to anticipate and correct problems before they occur? ✓ Performing server security administration for identity and access? ✓ Providing automated support for system administrator to resolve inci- ✓ Providing speciﬁc focus and support for virtualization? dents and problems? ✓ Providing high-availability software support, including periodic ✓ Assigning support personnel, based on the severity of the incident or testing? problem? ✓ Using service level agreements (SLAs)? ✓ Following rigorous problem handling and management steps to ensure effective problem resolution? ✓ Using a specialized service manager and a multidisciplinary team as needed? Handling changes with minimal impact on availability Having indicators of status and trends for speciﬁc infrastructure and activities ✓ Implementing team participation in change-management planning? ✓ Posting reports on a portal for easy access? ✓ Preparing for change by planning activities and estimating time ✓ Providing tools that focus on server resource management and gener- required? ate performance and capacity reports to analyze trends and manage ✓ Testing changes prior to their implementation and preparing back-out security? activities in the event of a failed change? ✓ Setting up a portal to enter problem records and change ✓ Using a skilled change manager to beneﬁt from experience of previ- notiﬁcations? ous changes? ✓ Providing links to other needed tools, portlets and services that support ongoing activities?
IBM Global Technology Services 15Table 2. (continued) Infrastructure management effectiveness checklist. Preventing security problems Having the right tools for the job ✓ Using information security controls, based on an industry standard? ✓ Support for availability management? ✓ Implementing key security variables, such as password length and ✓ Hardware monitoring? update frequency, early in the process? ✓ Software monitoring of key computer resources? ✓ Performing security remediation as required for servers and other ✓ Flexible notiﬁcation handling? devices? ✓ Support for performance and capacity management? ✓ Looking for security exposures during the ongoing support period ✓ Support for security management? and specifying the frequency of these analyses? ✓ Support for conﬁguration management? ✓ Reporting monthly on key security attributes and activities related to ✓ Support for system administration? servers and other devices? ✓ Easy access to information? ✓ Automation of routine processes? ✓ Standardized remote access? ✓ Support for problem and change management? Using emerging or challenging technologies effectively Deploying infrastructure and tools rapidly ✓ Focusing on skills support for virtual machines and logical partitions? ✓ Use of a model project plan that is based on prebuilt components? ✓ Using change windows to make dynamic changes to production ✓ Use of a project manager to ensure that your deployment goes servers? smoothly? ✓ Developing skills in a variety of high-availability software like ✓ Use of a delivery architect? IBM HACMP and VMware HA? Proper level of ongoing management ✓ Well-deﬁned ongoing support activities, using desk procedures? ✓ Use of a service delivery manager? ✓ Use of security specialists, change managers and duty managers? Focusing on service areas of growing importance ✓ Use of planned batch processing and cross-platform workloads? ✓ Use of technology to make the best use of backup windows? ✓ Specialized support for middleware and database?