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.

1 comment:

mdharma said...

That's a really nice overview of the trends emerging in the SOA Governance space. I wonder if this could be extended to EA modeling tools such as Aris and Casewise to keep these repositories in sync with the changing as-is state rather than having to invest in expensive DTA initiatives. Interested in knowing your thoughts and an industry view on it.