Integration at the Enterprise Management Level

As IT shops have grown in sophistication, they've become far harder to manage. Lack of integration adds to an already hefty workload. Integration is the only answer but how easy is it to do?
Posted September 8, 2004

Drew Robb

Drew Robb

As IT shops have grown in sophistication, they've become far harder to manage. Administrators are forced to move from screen to screen as they switch from security, to systems, to networking, to messaging.

These applications typically lack integration, and that adds to the workload.

''IT has to bear the cost of the lack of commonality by writing scripts and figuring out methods of integration,'' says Tim Grieser, an analyst at International Data Corp (IDC), an industry analyst group out of Framingham, Mass. ''Best-of-breed tools may not always be the answer as this can add to the training budget.''

The trend, therefore, is towards tool consolidation. Through acquisition or innovation, vendors are broadening the scope of their tool sets to add greater integration. The Israeli National Police, for example, implemented Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates Inc.'s CA Management Bundle for Microsoft Exchange as a single integrated package to simplify message management.

''This eliminates the headaches that can result when you use multiple products from multiple vendors,'' says Yaki Almoznino, chief superintendent of the Israel National Police's Technological Infrastructure Division.

Let's take a look at the trend towards tool consolidation, known as Enterprise Infrastructure Management (EIM), investigate how it is molding the marketplace and use the Israeli Police example to show EIM in a real-world scenario.

Utopia or Reality?

EIM is said to enable IT organizations to optimize assets, increase infrastructure performance, ensure enterprise security and business continuity, and help CIOs run IT like a business. EIM is supposed to enhance the completeness of each management segment -- integrate core processes at the user level, business process and data levels; and provide an open, integrated technology stack for cross-platform partner support.

So is it a utopian dream, or a firm reality?

The answer is, a bit of both. There are a few solid examples of the technology in action, as well as big plans from various vendors. Overall, though, it represents the direction the industry is heading, and it won't get tp where it's going for another few years.

''We are witnessing an ongoing trend toward product integration,'' says IDC's Grieser. ''We see this represented primarily as portals across major brand offerings within one company as well as common services running between related products. EIM is the latest phase, which takes a more comprehensive approach.''

BMC, IBM/Tivoli, CA, Hewlett-Packard and NetIQ are among the leaders in this arena. Each has steadily been adding broader functionality and a higher degree of integration for the last couple of years. NetIQ, for instance, has combined the systems and security management sectors on the Windows platform.

Expect this trend to continue.

Another factor driving this shift is simple economics.

These vendors are going where the money is. While application revenue has always outgunned management software, that may not continue for long. In terms of total revenues, if you take the sum of the top five vendors in each category, the numbers work out like this:

  • Application software (top five are SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel and i2) rang up to a $14 billion business in 2003. Of that, less than $4 billion came from new licenses;
  • Management software (top five are CA, Veritas, Symantec, BMC and IBM) brought in $8 billion, with almost $6 billion coming from new licenses.

    This means that in new license income, management software is now king. While new license dollars for management tool went up 19 percent for the year, application income for new licenses fell by 5 percent.

    Further, the top six management software vendors (add HP to the above list) account for only 34.5 percent of the market. They are each engaged in acquisition and market share conquest to strengthen their domination. Hence, they each have announced strategies for tighter integration and broader functionality.

    ''The historical method of over provisioning computing infrastructures has shown to be very costly. Too much of an IT budget is spent on implementing and maintaining infrastructure,'' says Ray Paquet, Gartner analyst. ''The only way to drive down infrastructure costs is to focus on improving manageability.''

    CA, in particular, appears to be a step ahead of the field. While it has spent the last few years sewing the same common services and a common database environment into each of its major product lines, its Management Bundle for Microsoft Exchange is more integrated than anything it has released before. It addresses the issue of Exchange environments being management by tools from multiple vendors that may not be integrated. This can increase ownership costs and complicate upgrades and deployments.

    Combining technologies from its Unicenter, eTrust and BrightStor product lines, it enables organizations to monitor and manage their Exchange environments from a central point of control.

    This Exchange package automatically discovers all of the Exchange servers on a network whether they have management technology installed or not. Administrators can view the status of the Exchange environment from one screen. It also automatically performs media management, enabling backup to a wide variety of storage devices including disk, tape and WORM. Thus organizations can back up and restore documents, folders and mailboxes across different versions of Exchange Server.

    Policing Exchange

    One of the first sites to deploy the CA Management Bundle for Exchange was the IT department of the Israeli National Police. It supports a nationwide police network that is used 24/7 by 28,000 users from 7,000 pc's in about 200 sites. Its centralized, consolidated server farm has an IBM mainframe, a Unisys ES7000 and about 200 HP ProLiant servers in separate development, test and production environments.

    Until recently, the organization used several different tools to control its Exchange cluster environment. Among them were antivirus from Trend, content inspection software from Esafe, as well as backup, auditing and system management tools from CA. It conducted a two-fold consolidation -- a broad CA consolidation in tandem with converting content inspection to Trend, according to Mordecai Sabo, head of System Operations and System Infrastructures at the Israeli National Police.

    ''By consolidating management, we have reduced our total ownership costs,'' says Sabo. ''It has also simplified troubleshooting.''

    The organization now supports only two vendors on Exchange: Trend for antivirus and content inspection services, CA for backup (BrightStor), audit (eTrust),and system management (Unicenter).

    Trend is preferred to eTrust antivirus, says Sabo, because it is the organizational standard at the server level and they had no compelling reason to migrate.

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