Information from a Tactical

By eweek  |  Posted 2007-11-12 Print this article Print

Perspective"> Spencer: I think what you just observed is the same problem weve observed across a lot of enterprise organizations. And part of the problem is that they look at the information from a tactical perspective more so than a strategic perspective. And with a lot of solutions out there the CIOs basically are getting tactical information from their internal teams that theyre trying to use to address strategic problems. And that tactical information is just not always that useful. And so I think as things are changing over the last three or fours years with the introduction of ITIL [Information Technology Infrastructure Library] frameworks for change or release management to - and with the introduction of ITIL version 3, which is a lot more strategic in nature than the earlier versions of ITIL, I think what were seeing is that the CIOs are starting to realize that they need to take a look at the infrastructure information that theyre maintaining from a strategic basis rather than just from a tactical basis.

Vizard: And as part of that they really dont seem to have a direct link between what part of the infrastructure is actually related to what business process. So even if I can replicate the infrastructure, I dont have the information that really tells me what that infrastructure is linked to back on an application or a business process level. So now do you guys help capture those relationships and how does that help with the process of recovery?

Spencer: Yes. Of course, you can imagine if youre trying to map, for example, applications such as an Oracle database server or some application like e-mail or ERP application onto the infrastructure, its pretty difficult today because theres no relationship thats been established between that application and the IT infrastructure that supports it. Thats the area that we address is that by consolidating all the information, including the applications, were able to map a particular service, an application like e-mail for example, onto the infrastructure that supports it and take a look at all the dependencies. Vice versa, we also can take a look at a failure of a particular component in the infrastructure, i.e., a server or even a switch or a router, and then from that map back and say what applications and services are going to be impacted and what level is that impact going to take effect. In other words, is it at such a low level that the impacts going to be insignificant, or is that particular device at a higher level and has dependencies that could have a much greater impact on that application.

Vizard: Now, you guys talk about this in the context of managing infrastructure and some of the concerns around business continuity, yet when I talk to people - you know, were always trying to bridge the eternal divide between business and technology, so isnt what you guys do kind of moving into something that I would want to consider as a day-to-day tool rather than something that I use in the event of an emergency.

Spencer: Yes, because I think in order for you to maintain the strategic information that you need to support business continuity disaster recovery, you need to do a very good job managing the tactical side. In order to do that, you really have to make sure that youve got good change management processes in place and good processes in general in workflow. Again, I refer back to ITIL as basically a framework that we see a lot of enterprise organizations moving toward, although we still look at that as a very immature world today although most organizations are talking about deploying it. I think over a period of time, everyone will get better at doing that.

Vizard: Yes, so ITIL creates the framework by which I can manage the business and then I can have an intelligent conversation with the CFO about, you know, where are the dollars being spent to associate with what business process? Is that kind of the general theme?

Spencer: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And, of course, I think youre right in saying that - at least our observations were that, prior to September 11, a lot of organizations looked at this type of technology or solution as being a nice-to-have. And at least with our - especially in the federal government, which has been an area weve had a lot of deployment both at the Pentagon and at the Department of Homeland Security, both of which occurred after September 11, and, you know, as a result they realized that this was no longer a technology that they could look at as a nice-to-have.


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