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Is BSM Ready For The Cloud?

Business service management (BSM) is a requirement for businesses taking to the cloud, but the offerings from management providers are at differing stages of maturity.

Business service management (BSM) is a key ingredient for businesses taking to the cloud, but the offerings from management providers are at differing stages of maturity.

Researcher Enterprise Management Associates defines BSM as "Optimizing IT processes and technologies to more effectively manage, monitor, measure, and govern IT from a holistic business contribution perspective in terms of costs, value, and competitiveness.”

EMA's recent Responsible Cloud survey found that 27 percent of the respondents using cloud computing said they would be integrating BSM and service level management monitoring tools with their cloud management systems. Network- and applications- specific monitoring tools were the top two most common tools, as cited by 62 percent and 56 percent of respondents, respectively. Larger enterprises tend to be more focused on BSM-related areas, according to the research.

Dennis Drogseth, vice president of Research, IT Megatrends, Analytics and CMDB Systems at EMA says the big management platform vendors that combine multiple tools in one suite are the furthest along in providing BSM capabilities. The maturity of BSM tools that enable customers to view their both their cloud and internal data center-based applications is still nascent. The requirements for viewing and acting upon dynamic real-time information is quite complex for vendors to achieve, says Drogseth, and it will take a while for tools to become full-featured for the cloud computing market.

Zyrion is one management company that is making BSM for virtualized and cloud applications a niche. CEO Vikas Aggarwal argues that traditional network management technologies focus only on point or component monitoring as opposed to a holistic view of the virtual IT infrastructure.

"Traditional network management products tell you the performance of servers, routers, etc., but now the environment might have thousands of servers," Aggarwal said. "I need to know that if my email server is down, whether it's because the cloud is running slow."

Getting visibility into the cloud may not be a big issue for Zyrion customers yet, though. Of its 100-strong customer base of mid- to large-sized companies, none is using cloud computing in earnest. Most are testing the waters by putting a few applications in the cloud, Aggarwal said. The biggest barrier to customers going into full cloud production is a fear of losing control over their applications, according to Aggarwal.

While vendors work on developing BSM functionality into their cloud-facing management tools, Drogseth recommends prospective cloud customers to best start by moving parts of their infrastructure that's supported by BSM tools to the cloud. "BSM should be the end point and starting point," said Drogseth.

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