Monitoring and rightsizing IT

By Cat Yong

CA Technologies’ IT monitoring and management solution, CA Nimsoft, is probably one of the fastest growing aspects under its Service Assurance portfolio range, according to CA’s Vice President of Service Assurance, Stephen Miles.

The VP of Service Assurance in Asia Pacific and Japan said, “Basically we are trying to bring acceleration to businesses that need to take that next step and tightly align its IT with the business and embark on their transformation projects.”

Miles also opined, Nimsoft’s IT monitoring is probably also one of the key imperatives from a business transformation perspective.

Unique advantage
CA Technologies’ CA Nimsoft Solution Group VP, Kevin Lambert, kicked off the discussion with a bit of Nimsoft’s history.

“If you were to research IT monitoring solutions, we all sound quite the same, and similar in terms of what we do. What makes Nimsoft unique however, is how it was made.”

Having begun as a “rugged” solution in 1998 out of Norway, for an oil and gas company to remotely manage facilities around the Nordic Sea, it was built for environments where connectivity is a challenge.

“So, the product was coded off of the message bus architecture. So it allows for speed, stability and scalability. There is no loss of data with the use of this architecture, and this was key for that oil and gas company,” Lambert described.

So even when connectivity was lost, data could maintain its integrity with the ability to “store and forward” itself.

After Nimsoft’s company was incorporated in 2004, it targeted the service providers’ segment with the intention of breaking into the market and being better able to compete against other solutions from the big enterprise vendors.

CA acquired Nimsoft in 2010, and today, Nimsoft’s momentum in the service provider space sees it having grown to over 400 managed service providers and over 1000 enterprise customers. Lambert said, “The number of end customer environments monitored by Nimsoft, via service providers is over 20,000.”

In 2009, Nimsoft had also reached a milestone of being first to be able to monitor cloud technologies. “We made the gamble that cloud was going to be real and developed monitoring capabilities into the cloud from as early as 2009.”

Recently, CA had also offered Nimsoft as a cloud solution called Nimsoft Snap, enabling smaller businesses to take advantage of full enterprise IT monitoring features, as long as they are within the 30-device limit.

Broad market trends
Lambert shared market trends that he has observed in the industry, currently.

For one, cloud adoption is a reality now among enterprises and service providers. He finds that the number one concern for IT management in private cloud environments, is the ability to manage it, especially as private clouds start to take on, or are expected to take on public cloud characteristics of self-service and speedier IT service delivery.

Also IT themselves, just to take advantage of efficiencies of the public cloud, might look to partner with a service provider, creating a hybrid environment they may struggle to get a handle of.

“There is a management challenge of doing that efficiently from a monitoring and performance reporting standpoint,” said Lambert.

He added, “Then when we look at service providers, we find co-location providers, remote managed services or outsourced IT providers, hosting providers and infrastructure-as-a-service cloud providers, starting to converge, whether via acquisition or through organic growth within the organisation.”

For example managed service providers are trying to manage enterprises’ traditional IT resources, but at same time, leverage elasticity or the cloud’s ability to burst and address dynamically changing resource demands.

“The challenge here is for the service provider to maximise their service catalogue to address value-added services in all of these areas. Monitoring is a big part of that and you have challenges there like multi-tenancy and cost efficiencies,” said Lambert.

According to him, there could be a lot of downward price pressure in certain areas, during the course of a contract period, so service providers have to juggle being cost effective while at same time adding more offerings for top line revenue opportunity.

Not to mention, just the good old fashioned management of IT is hard work, and it is especially so with increased pressures of mobility, the growing number of applications, and expectations to access them any time, from anywhere.

With the rise of cloud computing and businesses increasingly blending their IT environments with cloud, be it private or public, never has rightsizing IT resources according to business needs whilst ensuring cost efficiency, been more important.

A growing industry
Today, a majority of IT monitoring solutions were built for the bygone era of client-server architecture. They are finding it hard to keep up with current trends, demands, and which inevitably of course, makes IT’s job, a mammoth task.

Miles opined, “Whilst the monitoring industry is quite sizable it is going through tremendous change, right now. People are beginning to rethink some of their traditional investments, and the value they are deriving from it, as well as these investments’ fit with current technologies like cloud, and how to address complexity of deploying it in their existing environment.”

This has necessitated a second generation approach to IT monitoring, in order to ensure investments in IT are tightly aligned with the needs of the business. “Never has the equation been more important in today’s environment,” Miles said while adding the opinion that Nimsoft has risen to this industry challenge.

Lambert quipped, “I don’t think we will be businesses’ first monitoring tool; by now everybody would have had something already. But, I expect us to be their last.”

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