“Sites are concerned with being able to manage all their IT assets, whether they’re within the envelope of the zEnterprise ‘box’ that zManager addresses, or out in the distributed systems world,” says McKenny. “This is where systems management software comes in, because it’s able to deliver the total, end-to-end picture of an IT environment and the applications that run within it in a way that’s entirely hardware-agnostic. Systems management software is also capable of abstracting systems management to higher levels than the network connections, operational controls, and energy environmentals that are addressed by zManager.”
End-to-end application views are further leveraged because new systems management software releases built for zEnterprise and integration with zManager also provide unified toolsets capable of addressing the needs of a heterogeneous IT staff, whether it’s the help desk and level-one or two troubleshooting personnel; the application, networking or database specialists; or an IT or end-business manager.
“You have the opportunity to optimize operations staffing,” says Scott. “Toolset ‘dashboards’ all use a uniform GUI [Graphical User Interface] technology that employs standard navigational rules and screen functions. Information viewed through these dashboards is and can be customized to the needs of the persons viewing the transaction, but all the information comes from a uniform application context. This eliminates staff communication roadblocks and paves the way to faster application mean time to repair.”
Today’s IT environments feature heterogeneous technology infrastructures and heterogeneous staff who develop and maintain these systems from a variety of different system disciplines. More than ever, the ability to see across an application from start to finish, regardless of the platforms and systems components that the application uses, is requisite for ensuring both the health and the success of IT assets and their ability to deliver superior value to the business.
Enterprise CIOs understand this necessity—but they also recognize that disparate toolsets and views of applications make it virtually impossible to achieve a unified view of an application, or to manage business service policies across domains from a single point of control. This dilemma results in lost productivity and higher IT expenses. It can potentially dilute the value of IT investments to the end business.
With the firmware-level integration between Systems p, x and z platforms now available with zManager, further management of this hybrid environment—which systems management software can supply—will be critical for success. This same software can now deliver a unified view of an application from start to finish. This helps IT staff better coordinate with each other in terms of application visibility, analysis, planning, and problem resolution.
“We’re focusing on zEnterprise with its ability to provide more specialty engines that can run with fewer MIPS, which customers find very exciting,” says McKenny. “We’re also pleased with the greater zEnterprise integration provided by zManager—but there’s still a lot of work beyond this in the areas of network connection, database, and patch management. These are the areas we’re continuing to develop, and where we provide end-to-end application solutions.”
Scott adds: “End-to-end application visibility manages application risks and systematically reduces the cost of both deploying and maintaining applications. Most important, the end-to-end application visibility made possible by new releases of systems management software that take full advantage of zEnterprise’s highly integrated, cross-platform capabilities, facilitated by zManager, improves IT’s and end business managers’ resources for monitoring IT investments and ensuring maximum optimization of IT value for the business.”
End-to-end application management and visibility remain a pressing problem, but solutions are emerging that could help IT solve it.