Introducing Granular Configuration Automation

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Take control of even the most granular level of your IT environment's critical configuration!
This eBook introduces the new field of Granular Configuration Automation and highlights the role it fills in reducing production risks for physical, virtual and cloud environments.

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Introducing Granular Configuration Automation

  1. 1. Introducing Granular Configuration Automation Take control of even the most granular level of your IT environment's critical configuration This eBook introduces the new field of Granular Configuration Automation and highlights the role it fills in reducing production risks for physical, virtual and cloud environments. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary eBook 1
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Something is Broken in IT .......................................................................................................................................................................3 Downtime In Headlines ...........................................................................................................................................................................4 Costs and Scope of Unplanned Outages ...............................................................................................................................................5 The Devil is In the Details .......................................................................................................................................................................6 Actual Examples of Misconfigurations Causing Outages .......................................................................................................................7 Why Now ..............................................................................................................................................................................................10 What is Granular Configuration Automation .........................................................................................................................................13 Pillars Of Granular Configuration Automation Effectiveness ................................................................................................................14 Potential Applications ...........................................................................................................................................................................15 Granular Configuration Automation Enhances ITIL V3 Initiatives .........................................................................................................16 Taming the Vitualization Beast .............................................................................................................................................................17 Virtualization Benefits Are Being Undermined ......................................................................................................................................18 Virtualizing IT Environments – Real Configuration Challenges ............................................................................................................19 How Granular Configuration Automation Helps ....................................................................................................................................20 Granular Configuration and CMDB .......................................................................................................................................................21 Evolven Comparison .............................................................................................................................................................................23 Evolven Solutions .................................................................................................................................................................................24 Additional Resources ............................................................................................................................................................................25 Learn More ...........................................................................................................................................................................................26 Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 2
  3. 3. SOMETHING IS BROKEN IN IT Something is Broken. Look at this picture that we received in an email with the tagline „Looks familiar‟. Being IT professionals, you probably have felt like you spend a lot of time chasing issues and putting out fires, rather than really demonstrating the benefits of IT to business. So something is broken. Why after 15 years of developments in IT, are we still facing outages, and downtime? Even after adopting ITIL and CMDB practices and spending millions of dollars on new tools. It‟s like being stuck handling international telephone calls at an old manual switchboard, but the amount of calls just keeps growing, and growing. Image: Operators at the International Telephone Switchboard for South America You just can‟t win this battle by doing more of the same. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 3
  4. 4. DOWNTIME IN HEADLINES So to show you what we mean, take a look at these recent headlines showing how the impact of outages and downtime are all around us. Obviously this is just a fraction of what really occurs, since internally there are many more instances of downtime and outage to varying degrees, or performance slowdowns that aren‟t headline material. This is the ultimate IT professional‟s nightmare, to have their environment collapse, and that‟s what is driving IT managers to improve processes and spend more. To show you really how big this is, in the upcoming pages we‟ve put together some key metrics. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 4
  5. 5. COSTS AND SCOPE OF UNPLANNED OUTAGES The monthly cost of outages We know that outages are big. But how big is it? $2.5 MM of outage risk per month According to Alinean, on average outage risk accounts for $2.5 MM a month, so if we do a rough calculation, then that would cost a company about $30MM a year. The scope of downtime per year And how does that figure in terms of time. As Gartner shows, downtime can reach 87 hours a year. Obviously that‟s the sum of many outages - anywhere from a few minutes to hours. 87 hrs of downtime per year But at the end of the day, for an organization this becomes a staggering figure. Average outage period And when an outage occurs, it‟s a race against time to handle it before it spirals out of control. According to the IT Process Institute, resolution time per outage is around 200 minutes. It‟s really interesting to see just how much time is being put in to resolve outages, when you 200 minMTTR per medium outage consider what is happening to the customer experience and company reputation in this time. Majority cause of performance errors are misconfigurations Getting to the bottom of the matter, the Enterprise Management Association reports that 60% of availability and performance errors are the result of misconfigurations. The little changes that are implemented to the environment configuration parameters all the time. 60% of availability and performance errors are due to faulty configurations Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 5
  6. 6. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS IT environments are complex. A typical environment includes thousands of different configuration parameters in which the misconfiguration, or disregard of a single configuration, can cause an environment incident with major impact on the IT and business service. So when it comes to environment configurations, the devil is indeed in the details. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 6
  7. 7. ACTUAL EXAMPLES OF MISCONFIGURATIONS CAUSING OUTAGES Let‟s take a look at a few examples where misconfigurations have lead to outages. Take the slowdown in a retail banking system that affected performance. It took about 2 weeks to solve. During this time, customer complaints really grew. Both internal customers - clerks at the branches - as well as external customers accessing the internet site, experienced banking activity at a crawl. The employee productivity fell from these performance issues. The computer systems they were using, slowed down. There were a large number of IT specialists fully dedicated to the investigation efforts. What was the cause? The cause was ridiculous. The debug switch of one of the application servers was turned on for some investigation purpose and was just forgotten about, which created the performance overhead. So a very minor change at the level of a specific configuration parameter caused a major issue with a large bank. There are more examples, that due to issues with granular configurations - from just a single file - critical financial information was leaked. Or when a particular file was not properly transferred to a server then critical transactions failed. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 7
  8. 8. THE SCOPE OF MANAGING CONFIGURATION PARAMETERS In today‟s IT environments there are hundreds of thousands, even millions of configuration parameters. Just to show an example for one technology, the IBM 16,000 Configuration parameters for Websphere application server holds over 16,000 configuration parameters alone. Not all IBM WebSphere Application Server are critical, but there are a few thousand that can influence the behavior of the entire system, if they are misconfigured. 60% of availability and performance errors are due to faulty configurations. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 8
  9. 9. SURVEY: HOW VALUABLE IS GRANULAR CONFIGURATION INFORMATION? Recently, we carried out a survey of infrastructure and operations managers from around the world. We asked how critical is granular configuration information, and how much would it help know about when such misconfigurations and changes happen at the granular level. Over 75% said that they don't have this information right now and it would be very valuable to get it. OVER 75% Of respondents said “VERY VALUABLE” How valuable is configuration information about changes and differences at the granular level in your environments? Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 9
  10. 10. WHY NOW Why is the matter of granular configuration so important today? Complexity First of all because of complexity. The accelerated demands of COMPLEXITY the business have driven the growth of the IT infrastructure, introducing a huge amount of complexity. Modern systems have shifted from proprietary code to more common software components (e.g. databases, application servers, front-end servers, messaging infrastructure, etc). At the same time few companies are standardized on one technology or vendor and 16,000 configuration parameters most have heterogeneous environments. for IBM WebSphere Application Server alone… The common environment components are extremely flexible; allowing them to support a variety of customer requirements and conditions. This flexibility is achieved through a high degree of configurability, thus increasing the sensitivity at the granular level. Transitions to new technology platforms like application servers have contributed to this complexity, adding thousands of configurations to handle. IBM WebSphere has over 16 thousand, Oracle has another few thousand, Tibco and other messaging technologies have thousands of configuration parameters as well. This has made today‟s IT environments really complex. NEW IT COMPLEXITY DYNAMICS INFRASTRUCTURE Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 10
  11. 11. Dynamics New technologies have increased the pace of software development. The pace of changes, and the pace of development has increased in the last few years. Once we spoke about yearly releases, now we talk about monthly releases and the daily updates. Flexibility of the development process now leads to a high amount of changes flowing into the production environment on a constant basis. This situation has increased the granularity of such changes; increasingly smaller and more frequent changes rather than a monolithic release. DYNAMICS Significant increase in pace of change While this allows for greater adaptability to the market, increased agility also brings an increased risk of failure. (monthly releases, daily updates) NEW IT COMPLEXITY DYNAMICS INFRASTRUCTURE Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 11
  12. 12. New Technologies The advent of new IT infrastructure technologies brings cost savings and agility and results in limitations to visibility and control of environment configurations. An example would be in virtualization. It has introduced a new NEW IT challenge; hiding the configuration within a black box of the virtual image that could be dynamically allocated within a data center or even a cloud. Another example is with deployment automation, where it actually hides the INFRASTRUCTURE complexity of the release deployment, helping to avoid Virtualization and deployment automation errors, yet creates additional complexity. result in limited visibility into The result is limited visibility into granular configuration, environment configurations creating stability issues, efficiency problems, and sometimes compliance issues as well. The integrity of the environment and knowledge of the granular changes are essential for managing such dynamic environments.. NEW IT COMPLEXITY DYNAMICS INFRASTRUCTURE Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 12
  13. 13. WHAT IS GRANULAR CONFIGURATION AUTOMATION Granular Configuration Automation is a specialized area in the field of Configuration Management that focuses on the visibility and control of an IT Environment‟s configuration and bill-of-material at the most granular level. IT managers can leverage this strategy to reach the next level of automation and efficiency for their Physical, Virtual or Cloud-based IT environments, and finally close the gap that is responsible for major stability incidents. The application of granular configuration automation empowers IT managers to operate based on complete knowledge of the IT environments that they manage. This information is built from the most granular level of environment data collected from any source, including configuration files, registry, database schema, associated stored procedures and reference data. From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granular_Configuration_Automation Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 13
  14. 14. PILLARS OF GRANULAR CONFIGURATION AUTOMATION EFFECTIVENESS The pillars of the granular configuration automation effectiveness are: Discovery Discovering an IT environment's configuration at the most granular level shows what happens at the most granular level, the level of individual parameters in IT environments and gives the level of visibility that is required for effectively managing changes and incidents. Analysis Such discovery brings a high volume of granular information so it needs be accompanied by analysis of this information, that will allow you to focus on what matters most and make the information actionable. The presentation of the information is essential for IT processes, Presentation such as detailed bill of materials, granular changes and configuration differences in a clear and easily digestable manner so the IT specialist can take all this information and make it actionable. s Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 14
  15. 15. POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS Once you put granular configuration information to use, it can be applied to a number of potential applications across the entire IT management discipline. You can leverage granular information for incident investigation, incident prevention, release validation, disaster recovery verification and cloud management, security management and many other applications. This can raise the IT operations to a new level of efficiency when decisions are based on the granular configuration information that is automatically collected. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 15
  16. 16. GRANULAR CONFIGURATION AUTOMATION ENHANCES ITIL V3 INITIATIVES By looking at some key ITIL initiatives, you can see how granular configuration can enhance them. Granular configuration automation can help the strategic side and improve efficiency of ITIL processes. In Release Management, the main challenge of a release is transitioning critical business systems between different environments – like from a user acceptance test environment to a production environment. Part of this transition includes recreating the environment where the system will be running. So how do you ensure that the test environment is representative of production so that the transition of the tested assets transfer correctly and the configurations that are created in production reflect what was actually tested. The devil is in the details and the misconfiguration of just one configuration parameter at any level of the application infrastructure can impact the whole release. The ability to see that all configuration parameters down to the granular level are properly transitioned enables reliable releases, and ensures stability. Similarly for incident management, where a minute change can trigger an incident. The ability to analyze information at the granular level and identify all granular changes that could be the cause of an incident can dramatically accelerate root-cause analysis of the incident, and hasten the resolution of the issue. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 16
  17. 17. TAMING THE VITUALIZATION BEAST Another key initiative in the industry is virtualization. Virtualization holds a lot of promise, both in terms of the cost savings and seamless transitions. However, the benefits are actually being undermined by change and configuration management issues like drift, integrity and sprawl. Virtualization brings new configuration challenges. Granular Configuration Automation Can Help. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 17
  18. 18. VIRTUALIZATION BENEFITS ARE BEING UNDERMINED “Virtual machine sprawl is a rising datacenter cost” “The benefits of virtualization are eroded when virtual machines go unchecked” “We do not have visibility as it stands – we’re blind.” “A top-down, application-centric approach is needed” Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 18
  19. 19. “The cost of managing virtual environments may be higher than expected…” VIRTUALIZING IT ENVIRONMENTS – REAL CONFIGURATION CHALLENGES The cost savings of virtualization are offset by the challenges of managing virtualization, threatening environment stability and efficiency. Virtualization of the IT environment has real configuration challenges. LIMITED VISIBILITY INTO VM CONTENT  The VM encapsulates the guest environment turning it into black box  Dynamic allocation of VMs skews visibility into the environment architecture and configuration  Abundant amounts of environmental information hide real issues SPRAWL  Ease of VM deployment causes uncontrolled spread of VMs  Drift/deviation from desired configuration create risks from application to virtual infrastructure  “Invisible” images LIMITING INFRASTRUCTURE PERSPECTIVE  Separation of virtual infra from guest content drives management by VM rather than by the application  The focus of virtualization vendors on just the virtualization platform complicates business application management for an enterprise Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 19
  20. 20. HOW GRANULAR CONFIGURATION AUTOMATION HELPS Granular Configuration Automation can help with virtualization by delivering visibility into the entire application stack - from the application themselves, through the application infrastructure within virtual machines and right into the virtual infrastructure. With Granular Configuration Automation you can control sprawl by making powerful end-to-end environment comparisons, and identify the deviations in virtual machines that can cause obsolete virtual machines to spin off. Granular Configuration Automation can also help by applying an application level perspective that is a logical view of the environment - independent of physical and virtual topologies. DELIVERS GRANULAR VISIBILITY INTO THE VM CONTENT  Top-down: application > application infrastructure > guest OS > virtual infrastructure  Turn data overflow into actionable information through impact knowledge base CONTROL SPRAWL AND MANAGE DRIFT  Powerful end-to-end environment (and not server) comparison  Compare inherently different environments  Apply analytics to focus on what matters most APPLIES AN APPLICATION-LEVEL PERSPECTIVE  Logical architecture view independent of physical or virtual topology  Combine virtual and physical environments into a single view to control heterogeneous environments  Visual modeling of custom applications (no programming)  Out-of-the-box support for common application technologies (Websphere AS, Websphere PS, WebLogic, Jav, .NET, ASP.NET applications and more) Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 20
  21. 21. GRANULAR CONFIGURATION AND CMDB The traditional answer to the challenges of configuration management has been configuration management database (CMDB). CMDB has been a key initiative for the last 10 years. CMDB platforms map applications and infrastructure components and dependencies among them, providing a foundation for various IT management processes for high level impact analysis. CMDB is deployed across various organizations with various degrees of success. CMDB gives an understanding of the big picture, yet lacks visibility and control over the complex interdependent mesh of datacenter application and infrastructure components. Granular Configuration Automation focuses on a different challenge: comparing environments at the most granular level to intelligently identify the smallest changes and differences that risk environment stability. CMDB Is Dead, Long Live CMDB Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 21
  22. 22. CMDB is still necessary. Although addressing different challenges, CMDB platforms and Granular Configuration Automation complement each other. The combination of high level perspective provided by CMDB and the comprehensive granular configuration information collected and analyzed through Granular Configuration Automation helps to gain complete, effective visibility and control over IT. Here we see that Granular Configuration Automation and CMDB can effectively provide the right holistic approach. 1. By enriching CMDB with the granular information that is hard for the existing CMDB technologies to collect automatically, the holistic combination can better realize the promise of CMDB. 2. By providing verification and audits of configurations, Granular Configuration Automation ensures that environments managed in CMDB are actually represented in CMDB exactly as they are in reality. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 22
  23. 23. EVOLVEN COMPARISON Evolven developed the first solution for Granular Configuration Automation, Evolven Comparison, addressing the challenges of IT environment management. Evolven Comparison helps to obtain and maintain environment stability by identifying and analyzing changes and differences that can put environment stability at risk. Evolven Comparison does this by comparing different environments or a current environment against a historical snapshot or golden baseline, identifying those changes and differences that can threaten environment stability. It has a number of key capabilities, differentiating it from the other technologies. Evolven Comparison: 1. Compares the entire environment from the application to the entire stack of underlying infrastructure. 2. Compares and analyzes environment configuration and content in-depth to the individual level of specific parameters 3. Analyzes the changes and differences from the entire collected information to identify the information that matters, so IT professionals can focus on the critical changes and differences and produce, making a major impact on environment stability. Watch the Key Capabilities Video Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 23
  24. 24. EVOLVEN SOLUTIONS Evolven Comparison solutions can help with a variety of leading IT initiatives. Release Validation Incident Investigation Release with Confidence A High Stakes Race Against Time By assuring integrity in environments, Evolven Comparison allows incident providing visibility into release content and investigation teams to slash their investigation ensuring that the release transitions as time and effort by a staggering 50%, hence expected, Evolven Comparison brings minimizing system downtime and preventing the certainty to releases and reduces the high- incident from impacting overall operations. impact risks associated with them. Disaster Recovery Verification ITIL Don't Let Your Disaster Recovery Environment Boost Your ITIL Initiatives Let You Down Evolven Comparison assists in many ITIL v3 Evolven Comparison has the unrivaled ability to areas – helping customers achieve less risk, verify consistency and integrity of your disaster more uptime and greater stability. recovery environment, ensure readiness and enable a compliant disaster recovery environment that won't let you down. Virtualization Tame the Virtualization Beast Virtualization brings new configuration challenges. Evolven Comparison allows you to manage drift, ensure integrity and control sprawl – resulting in reduced outage risk, minimized system downtime, and increased efficiency. Watch the Key Use Cases Video Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 24
  25. 25. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Product Tour: Granular Configuration Product Tour: Impact Knowledgebase Learn how Evolven Comparison dives deep to capture even the Learn how Evolven Comparison leverages a customizable most granular configuration parameter in an environment. Impact Knowledge Base to ensure meaningful and useful information. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 25
  26. 26. LEARN MORE Evolven Solutions http://www.evolven.com/solutions.html Videos, White Papers, Solution Briefs and more http://www.evolven.com/newsroom/resources.html Blog http://www.evolven.com/blog Feedback, Ideas, Questions martin@evolven.com Martin Perlin – Director of Marketing Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 26
  27. 27. ABOUT EVOLVEN CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS Evolven is pioneering the new growing field of Granular Configuration Automation, which focuses on the 66 York Street, 5th Floor visibility and control of IT environment configuration and content at the most granular level. IT teams apply this Jersey City, NJ 07302 approach to reduce risk to stability, security and compliance of their physical, virtual or cloud-based IT Email: info@evolven.com environments. Tel: 888.434.3408 Fax: 201.221.8076 Evolven Comparison is the first Granular Configuration Automation solution that helps IT Operations teams to identify granular changes and differences that pose risks to environment stability by comparing different EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS environments, or an environment and its historical or golden baseline. IT teams use it for release validation, 81 Oxford St. incident investigation and disaster recovery verification to reduce risk, have more uptime and increase stability. London W1D 2EU United Kingdom Evolven is a privately held, venture backed company headquartered in the U.S., with a presence in the US, Email: info@evolven.com Tel: +44 (0) 207 903 5219 Europe and the Middle East and a development center in Israel. Fax: +44 (0) 207 903 5333 Established by former Mercury executives, Evolven's executive team and advisory board include world- R&D CENTER renowned experts from the world of IT management and enterprise software. Evolven's investors are the 21 Ha'Malacha St. leading venture capital firms: Pitango Ventures (www.pitango.com) and Index Ventures Rosh Ha'Ayin, 48091 Israel (www.indexventures.com). Email: info@evolven.com Tel: +972.77.777.5999 Fax: +972.77.777.5900 This document is provided for informational purposes only. Evolven makes no warranties, either express or implied, in this document. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Evolven, Evolven Comparison, and the Evolven logo and all other Evolven product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of Evolven Inc. in the United States and/or other foreign countries. All other company, brand and product names are marks of their respective holders. ©2010 Evolven Software Inc. Patents pending. All rights reserved. Evolven Software Inc. Confidential and Proprietary 27

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