Pulse 2012: Business Value With Cloud + Mobile

Pulse 2012: Business Value With Cloud + Mobile

Service Management in ActionIBM Pulse continues to be the blockbuster service management event of the year, and Pulse 2012 was no different. Among the leading news items emerging from the event were a series of announcements IBM made concerning its current and future offerings in the key areas of cloud computing and endpoint management.

These represent two of the most important technologies today that will deliver value back to the business—and two of the areas in which IBM customers are looking for compelling new solutions in order to address their emerging challenges and complexities to empower superior service and achieve better Return On Investment (ROI).

What kinds of emerging challenges are we talking about? Consider, for instance, how company employees have increasingly turned to smart mobile devices, like tablets and cellphones, in order to access company data and applications over wireless links. That's a convenient situation for employees, but IT feels the impact that comes with these new devices. Since endpoints of that type have not been secured in the past, there are any number of associated security and compliance risks which is why these devices must be properly and continually managed in the same way more traditional endpoints like desktops and laptops are.

Comparable complexities apply to cloud computing. No single IT subject has received as much attention in recent years as cloud, largely because clouds can offer incredible efficiency, consistency, and performance delivering services through smart resource allocation and (in the case of public clouds) pay-as-you-go pricing based on actual usage. For organizations interested in creating advanced private and hybrid cloud architectures, though, instilling the necessary level of visibility, control, and automation into the cloud has sometimes been less than straightforward. The advantages of cloud, like pooled resources and deep levels of virtualization and automation, also make insight into resolving performance issues sometimes difficult to ascertain and overcome.

Both of these key topics—mobile endpoint management and cloud optimization—are directly addressed via the IBM announcements coming out of Pulse. These announcements along with the existing portfolio from IBM Tivoli continue to empower organizations to get higher performance and scalability, at lower costs and business risks.

Lock down and manage smart mobile devices

Leading the list of new solutions announced at Pulse was IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices. This key offering for smart mobile devices like tablets and phones can help organizations better leverage those resources already widely deployed and currently used by their team members by applying superior security and lifecycle management and also delivering new capabilities to them.

IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices accomplishes this through both agented and agentless mechanisms. In the case of devices that permit an agent to be installed, such as Google's Android-based devices, IBM has an IBM Endpoint Manager agent available for these platforms where it can perform many of the same functions existing Endpoint Manager customers using traditional endpoints already rely on. For devices that don't allow an agent, such as the Apple iOS-based iPhone, management APIs have been leveraged to support management tasks like wiping company e-mails on request if the device is lost or stolen.

This design benefits both the organization and the employee by helping to ensure that personal and company data is never accessed in an unauthorized fashion by simplifying security and compliance mandates the organization may have in place for all endpoints as well as eliminating sensitive personal data like photos on request.

IBM SmartCloud Foundation: The Next Generation

"Integrating provisioning and monitoring allows customers to easily monitor what they've provisioned and be able to identify and react to issues in their environments."

IBM SmartCloud Foundation—which enables exceptionally flexible and scalable private and hybrid cloud architectures—is now in its third generation, and part of the new SmartCloud technology being discussed at Pulse 2012 is an augmentation of two existing SmartCloud solutions.

The first, SmartCloud Monitoring, allows organizations to track the status levels and performance of key assets that comprise the cloud, isolating problems to root causes and in many cases anticipating and precluding problems from occurring in the first place. A new ISM Library addition "Service Health for IBM SmartCloud Provisioning" integrating provisioning and monitoring allows customers to easily monitor what they've provisioned and be able to identify and react to issues in their environments.

Speaking of IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, statements of direction have been made that may provide enhancements with image lifecycle management. New features that may provide the ability to control image sprawl, an Image Construction and Composition Tool as well as highly automated self-service deployment of virtual machines. All of which translate into spending less time wrestling virtualization and cloud environments to the ground and more time working on innovation.

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk

A holistic approach to delivering comprehensive service management, IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is expected to replace IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager (a service desk and service catalog), IBM Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database (used to track configuration and update data for IT assets), IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT (which improves ROI for IT assets over their full lifecycles), and IBM Tivoli Service Manager Quick Install (which supports rapid implementation of ITIL processes).

As an integrated solution—IBM SmartCloud Control Desk may make it both simpler and faster to ensure a cloud delivers on service management goals.

IBM SmartCloud Orchestration

Key to a cloud's business value is its potential to act automatically to fulfill user service requests. Orchestrated resource deployment is pivotal to an optimized infrastructure and the management of virtual environments and cloud deployments is enhanced with enterprise-level service management.

IBM intends to change the name of IBM Service Delivery Manager to IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator, to better align the product within the IBM SmartCloud Foundation offering set. IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator is a comprehensive service delivery platform for cloud environments that can help drive down costs and increase speed to deliver business services.

IBM SmartCloud Application Performance Management

How, given a cloud's intrinsically pooled architecture, can organizations rapidly detect and eliminate performance bottlenecks in specific services, and thus ensure the cloud more continually performs at target levels?

IBM Application Performance Manager may extend the performance and availability capabilities of the IBM SmartCloud Foundation to include transaction tracing and end-user monitoring via both agented and agentless mechanisms in a single topology view. Should IT managers need more specific insight, the solution can "drill down" into technical details as required. Also helpful: role-based dashboards designed to reflect cloud performance in the ways most relevant to each team member's job.

A suite of compelling new solution updates

Enhancements have also been made to existing IBM Tivoli solutions, typically as a direct reaction to customer interests.

For instance, the IBM Tivoli Workload Automation suite plans to deliver a new interface for a more intuitive understanding of workload execution and more straightforward action in the event of a problem. A service catalog is also now supported, to allow automated requests of specific services for an even more efficient reaction to emerging issues.

Additionally, IBM plans to enhance the integration between IBM Workload Automation suite and SAP's ERP solution. That means more continuous performance of ERP applications and services, thanks to more detail about problem events and direct access to those events from inside the IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler for z/OS environment.

Finally, to help IBM Cognos and IBM InfoSphere customers get even more value from those solutions, IBM plans to deliver added application plug-ins that support data extraction and reporting. In both cases, data validity can easily be verified to ensure accurate results.

Usage and Accounting and Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC)

Today, IBM provides a powerful cloud cost management solution with IBM Service Delivery Manager utilizing TUAM to help drive down the cost to deliver business services. IBM intends to rebrand TUAM to SmartCloud Cost Management. IBM will be integrating its usage and accounting capabilities more extensively into private cloud solutions in order to empower organizations with more detailed and quantified insight into cloud costs—where they're coming from, what they total, and their root causes.

And, based on new technologies emerging from the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) community, IBM continues to enhance how SmartCloud Foundation capabilities are integrated based on the OSLC approach to deliver an open and integrated cloud ecosystem.

Collaborative development and operations

Finally, to foster better collaboration between IT operations and IT development, IBM plans to provide an extensible architecture for delivering and managing the entire application lifecycle, creating an environment that brings development and operation teams together with collaboration, automation, and analysis. The result will allow customers to standardize and automate their delivery and deployment to demonstrate the business agility.

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