Better insight into application chains delivers more business value
As organizations increasingly depend on complex, composite applications to drive business services, it becomes increasingly important to keep those applications up and running—minimizing downtime by rapidly identifying and resolving problems.
Making that happen in a practical sense, though, is often a tricky matter. Because composite applications typically leverage a long chain of systems, resources, and data repositories, it can be difficult even to establish what that chain consists of—let alone pinpoint root problems that lead to overall performance degradation or outright application failure.
For this reason, visualization solutions are particularly compelling and powerful in the area of composite application management. And among them, a leading example is IBM Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM).
This offering clarifies exactly how complex applications work via a topology map that reflects each element in the chain as well as how other elements are dependent on it to drive the application as a whole. Application administrators can also use it to dive into the specifics of each element in the level of detail they need, from basic discovery to complete configuration of each item, in order to determine just why an application might be underperforming—and what they can do to solve that issue rapidly and effectively.
The business case for TADDM is also supplemented by the fact that it integrates with other members of the IBM Tivoli integrated service management suite, sending them key information that can be used to improve service delivery. If you consider the essential value proposition of the Tivoli portfolio—more business value through enhanced Visibility, Control, and Automation—TADDM is a great example of Visibility. And thanks to its integration capabilities, it helps improve, in a holistic sense, Control and Automation as well.
The results? Composite application performance and availability both climb, leading directly to more productivity from end users (for internal services) and a better customer experience (for external services).
The latest refresh of TADDM includes a broad range of powerful new features
“Because composite applications typically leverage a long chain of systems, resources, and data repositories, it can be difficult even to establish what that chain consists of—let alone pinpoint root problems that lead to overall performance degradation or outright application failure. For this reason, visualization solutions are particularly compelling and powerful in the area of composite application management.”
IBM Tivoli is committed to continually improving its solutions to reflect changing customer needs and interests—and that commitment is on full display in the case of Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager. The latest version, 7.2.1, includes a wealth of new capabilities that can help organizations get even more value from it.
How much value? Naturally, specific results will vary from case to case, but IBM estimates that the following benefits are typical:
Among the most compelling enhancements in TADDM 7.2.1 are those that involve its discovery capabilities, which dynamically find elements of the application chain and update the topology map/reports correspondingly.
TADDM 7.2.1 now supports more proactive discovery, for instance. It can receive messages from various sources including IBM Tivoli Monitoring, IBM Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager and others, to keep its information pool accurate and business service views constantly current. Note that this does not require TADDM itself to perform a discovery task; instead, TADDM's information pool is updated via alerts or events passed to it by the other tools.
TADDM 7.2.1 also supports new asynchronous discovery. This extends its visualization capabilities into previously inaccessible technology domains via credential-free, manual scripts. By turning its spotlight on a wider field, TADDM can now deliver more key information to application administrators.
The solution now allows concurrent discovery as well. A single discovery server can support multiple jobs running in parallel—a more efficient and scalable approach to long-running discovery processes.
Also pertinent to discovery in TADDM 7.2.1 is its new streaming architecture. When in streaming mode, any discovered data immediately flows to the enterprise database—from multiple discovery servers, in some cases—instead of a delayed approach based on scheduled routing. Once there, the data is used to update topologies, reports, and analytical information.
This architecture requires less hardware and eliminates the need for domain-specific databases as well—a generally simpler, easier-to-maintain design that also reduces latency in update times.
The new Grouping Compose
TADDM administrators will be glad to find that they can now more easily and intuitively cluster business applications into collections (groups) based on specific criteria.
To do this, they'll use the new Grouping Composer, a powerful yet simple new way to manage business applications from within the TADDM web console. Also helpful: descriptor files are now kept on the TADDM server, not deployed to target servers.
The upshot? More flexibility and simplicity in creating application definitions, and faster time to value for application management tasks.
Integration with IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager
Ultimately, of course, the goal of IT is to empower and drive business strategies—and one excellent tool toward that end is IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager (TBSM). This solution can correlate technical performance/status data drawn from multiple sources with business strategies to reflect just how well the infrastructure is fulfilling (or not fulfilling) business goals.
One of those information sources, of course, is TADDM. And in TADDM 7.2.1, newly optimized performance and features make it a better partner for TBSM than ever.
TBSM can now, for instance, import information from TADDM even when TADDM is running a discovery or bulk load task, instead of delaying that importation until TADDM is finished.
Additionally, .jar (Java Archive) files can now be retrieved directly, instead of requiring a slower and less agile manual copy process. Together, these features help reduce latency, keeping TBSM managers continually apprised of business performance targets and whether they're being hit.
Storage insight: Manage storage in a smarter way
In version 7.2, TADDM offered new storage reporting capabilities. In version 7.2.1, these have been extended even further, to better reflect how storage is being used and empower organizations not only to leverage it for more business value, but also to reduce waste.
Specifically, TADDM 7.2.1 now allows managers to see storage components, connections, and dependencies in more detail—right down to host bus adaptors, storage arrays, fiber channel networks, and how they come into play in the context of a given composite application. This detailed insight is in turn passed on to IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center , a centralized point of command over storage spanning the entire infrastructure.
Armed with this new awareness of storage utilization and performance, IT managers can ensure applications get the storage they need while also identifying opportunities to allocate underutilized storage resources elsewhere.
Application availability climbs, while operating costs fall—a classic formula for IT optimization and a great example of IT working smarter, not harder.
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