29 August, 2006

Will Service Management solutions become SOA Governance platforms?

As a starting point, let’s re-define what a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is… A CMDB is a database that holds a complete record of all configuration items (CIs) associated with the IT Infrastructure, software, hardware, including information about servers, storage devices, networks, middleware, applications and data, i.e. versions, location, documentation, components and the relationships between them.

Configuration Management which is one of the main ITIL processes requires the use of support tools, which include a CMDB. Physical and electronic libraries should be set up parallel to the CMDB to hold definitive copies of software and documentation.

Until now, several vendors have provided through their Service Desk offering, and out of the box CMDB which in some case could be altered. Among these vendors we can find, BMC-Remedy, HP, Peregrine (now HP…), Axios systems, Computer Associates, Mercury (now HP…), IBM, and many others.

Last April, some vendors like CA, BMC, IBM, and Fujitsu announced they would work toward developing "an industry standard for federating and accessing IT information" that would ideally integrate communication between disparate configuration management databases.

CMDBs have become one of central elements of enterprise IT management, so a standards-based approach to this critical functionality is necessary and valuable.

Looking at SOA and the way we define composite applications and services, we definitely need to build the latest on the top of existing IT Infrastructure, software and hardware. In other words, a CMDB could also be used to manage the catalogue of SOA Services!

I would be tempted to think that in the next 2 years, a CMDB will be a modular component, usable by either Service Management solutions, and/or SOA Governance products. A CMDB could become a sort of “plugin” available from various vendors with sets of APIs, and why not web services.

SOAs are distributed computing plans where companies often situate Web services and reuse code and other assets to create efficiencies. Vendors like IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Oracle, and Mercury are creating SOA infrastructure platforms to speed information exchange between different computing machines. A few months ago, prior to HP acquisition, Mercury acquired a SOA company named Systinet. This acquisition strengthened Mercury's position in the high growth SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) market by giving the company leading SOA governance and lifecycle management products.

An integration point should be between the SOA metadata repositories and a configuration management database (CMDB) to manage the lifecycle through to operations. If HP considers the range of acquisition they recently did with Peregrine, Mercury...and Systinet…there would be a high probability, this integration occurs!

Another observation on this future integration is potentially visible with IBM. IBM released recently a CMDB titled Tivoli CCMDB, and also launched a management and security solutions for managing SOA based applications, IBM launched last April IT Service Management platform.

The IBM IT Service Management platform manages SOA based composite applications. It is supposed to offer an approach to defining a framework and solutions for IT service management, including extending self-managing autonomic computing to IT services.

“Tivoli CCMDB uses a Federated model that allows it to be implemented on top of an existing sources of IT data, and serves as an authoritative source of data for configuration items, their relationships, so that when a change needs to be made to any of the IT components, one can understand the impact of that change on other related components. IBM's ITSM platform along with, IBM Tivoli security and compliance products like Tivoli Access Manager and Tivoli Federated Identity Manager delivers a complete end-to-end solution for the "manage", "secure" and "compliance" of distributed SOA applications.”

IBM and HP are two companies which will probably compete in both IT Service Management and SOA. They probably understood the synergy between the two worlds, and we can predict a future new generation of CMDBs, modular, accessible from web services, and used for several companies needs: Service Management and SOA Governance.

28 August, 2006

What is a Service?

More and more we start to see articles on the web which are comparing Service Management with Service Oriented Architecture. ITIL is an integrated set of best-practice recommendations with common definitions and terminology which support many IT processes such as Incident management, problem management, change management, configuration management, etc. There is plenty of literature on the web which explain what are these best practices, how we run a program, and how this framework relate to IT Governance.

On the other side, we have SOA, Service Oriented Architecture, which is often associated to BPM, Business process Management. A Business process is a set of automated or non-automated activities, or tasks, exchanging data, where we define flows, and assign roles. An SOA enable a BPM initiative by associating services to task. These services are generally speaking IT components launched by a set of specific SOA technologies such as SOAP, XML, HTTP, WSDL, etc.

When comparing Services in Service Management terms and Services in SOA terms, there is very often some sort of confusion.

ITIL is focused on the provision of services by the IT department to the customer/user. Now these services which are used by the user/customer can take the form of applications that they use (e.g. email services, components of HR systems, ERP and financial systems) or other services which are utilized, such as internet access, printing services, etc. SLAs are then determined for each particular service. Now ITIL encourages the IT department to view these services and determine the underlying technologies which are required to provision these services. For example, UNIX or Windows Servers, Network equipment, Printers, etc. and to identify each outside party that may then provide these underlying technologies. OLA and underpinning contracts are then used to ensure that these parties perform their duties so that the IT department can then fulfil their SLAs.

A SOA Service is defined as a unit of work to be performed on behalf of some computing entity, such as a human user or another program. SOA defines how two computing entities, such as programs, interact in such a way as to enable one entity to perform a unit of work on behalf of another entity. Service interactions are defined using a description language. Each interaction is self-contained and loosely coupled, so that each interaction is independent of any other interaction.

We observe that the SOA Service is much more granular that an IT Service and finally, the latest is maybe the aggregation of several SOA Services…

In other words, SOA and Service Management are not identical in terms of Services definition and this creates lots of confusion in the IT Community. Service Management can be utilized to manage an SOA implementation or solution or the ITIL processes could handle SOA Services as software/hardware components, but Service Management is not a subset of SOA.

24 August, 2006

23 August, 2006

Enterprise Architecture & TOGAF

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Facilitator Serono International www.serono.com
Host Hewlett-Packard (Suisse)
S.à.r.l.Route du Nant-d’Avril 150
CH-1217 Meyrin / GE
(near Geneva Airport)
TOGAF is an industry standard framework for developing enterprise architectures, used by organizations around the world. It is openly accessible on The Open Group's public web server, and may be downloaded under a free, perpetual license by any organization wishing to develop an enterprise architecture for its own use.

TOGAF has been evolved continuously within The Open Group's Architecture Forum over the last twelve years, drawing on the knowledge and experience of The Open Group members who are themselves practising Architects working for a wide range of enterprises around the world.

14.15 Enterprise Architecture (French)
This presentation by Serge Thorn, Director IT Research and Innovation at Serono International, will describes what Enterprise Architecture is, how Serono International decided to run an EA Program, how it relates to IT Governance and what are the program milestones.

22 August, 2006

Congress itSMF Switzerland

Congress itSMF Switzerland September 20/21, 2006
Raffles Le Montreux Palace, Montreux (Switzerland)

Discover the real benefit of ITIL
How to develop passion for high performance services