Optinuity, an independent Run Book Automation provider, on Nov. 26 put a different spin on IT process automation with a technology that brings a new level of self-management to mission-critical business applications.
The 3-year-old company has added a new APM (Autonomic Policy Management) capability to its Oasis software, which combines RBA, job scheduling, policy management and adaptive local monitoring to create an automated, closed-loop process for correcting problems in complex enterprise applications.
"Autonomic Policy is a software automation of a closed loop process, where youre monitoring, analyzing, getting a plan of attack and executing that plan," said Optinuity CEO Scott Stouffer.
Such IT process automation takes Business Service Management to the next logical level, according to Jean-Pierre Garbani, an industry analyst for Forrester Research.
"I consider [that] low-level and high-level process automation is how youll shape BSM—giving people what they want in the management of IT operations. Im certain this is probably the first iteration of this type of technology, but I think its going to be the next big thing," Garbani said.
Optinuity competes with vendors such as Opalis Software and Enigmatec, as well as RBA technologies acquired by Hewlett-Packard and BMC Software.
Click here to read about Run Book Automation technology from Opalis Software.
By implementing self-monitoring, analysis and planning and executing a fix for recurring problems in complex business applications, Stouffer said he believes the APM capability can drive down operating costs and drive up availability for those applications.
"This is applying automation much closer to the business system itself, instead of in the back-end incident and problem management," Stouffer explained. The software can programmatically reduce the number of trouble tickets that are generated when problems or exceptions occur with those systems.
One customer, a cable provider, used the capability to automate the response to a recurring account lockout problem in its billing and CRM (customer relationship management) system that had generated 8,000 trouble tickets per month, according to Stouffer. The account lockout problem affected thousands of field technicians, who had to call in the problem and wait for a support technician to go unlock the account, update the trouble ticket and get a notification back from the help desk. The provider lost 2,000 hours per month in field technician time, costing the company $2 million per year.
"They used us to build self-correcting capability around the [billing application] that continuously scans [the application] looking for locked accounts, determines whether an account needs to be reset, and if it should be reset it resets the account. By moving this first to Run Book Automation and then to an autonomic policy approach, it completely eliminated the impact to the users," Stouffer said.
The Oasis APM system is made up of Touchpoints, similar to agents, installed on the applications, databases, servers and other managed resources grouped into a logical business system. The Touchpoints act both as a sensor, or monitor, and as an executor to carry out policies.
"What communicates with these Touchpoints are our Orchestrators—our engine—that looks at all the policies we built, does comparative analysis, kicks off appropriate workflows or action plans and makes sure tasks are divvied out properly. Its a broker of automation policies," Stouffer said.
The APM system also includes a graphical policy builder that combines state policies, action plans and schedules. A Policy Watch component allows users to intervene in a running policy, addressing a key trust issue that IT has with automation.
To read about why RBA (Run Book Automation) is gaining momentum, click here.
"Customers dont want to automate something and not be able to tell whether it is working or not. We built a flexible capability to see policies being executed and to intervene with running policies. If a policy gets hung up, they can walk through how to deal with that and then build that into the model. Its a risk-free ability to iteratively improve these policies," Stouffer said.
The system also includes the Autonomic Policy Library, a repository that keeps all policies and data sets associated with those policies in one location for version control.
The software is aimed at medium-to-large enterprises using complex, homegrown or highly customized business applications, such as trading desks and loan prospecting or risk management systems.
Along with its APM technology, Optinuity introduced a subscription pricing promotion that guarantees that customers will achieve a three-to-one return on investment. The software and pricing program are available now.
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