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April 13, 2015

Hybrid ITSM - Key points to consider

IT service management(ITSM) tools play a pivotal role in managing diverse enterprise environments. There is a concerted movement towards hybrid IT where enterprises may leverage cloud for some workloads in addition to traditional data centers. As pointed out in my earlier post, a "one size fits all" approach does not work in the case of ITSM tool requirements. Each organization has its own requirements and faces unique challenges during the implementation.

Let's look at some of the key parameters that need special attention while implementing ITSM tool in hybrid IT environments:

While deciding on the cloud option for your ITSM deployment, Integration is one of the key areas that can foretell the success of ITSM implementation. Enterprises have a wide range of tools deployed across their IT; sometimes each department may have different tools to perform similar tasks. For instance, some departments may choose to use Nagios while others may use SCOM for monitoring the infrastructure. However, no ITSM tool can exist in isolation without working in cohesion with the other tools.
So here, the key considerations include: availability of plug-ins for integration with other tool sets, provide an end to end view of services to the customer (single source of truth) and enable effective problem management by integrating disconnected environments and platforms.

Security is another important aspect while implementing ITSM especially if the deployment is on a Cloud based platform. In accordance with enterprise security requirements, the cloud providers' practices with respect to the enterprise regulatory, auditory and compliance requirements need to be assessed.
In addition, the security of the connection between the cloud and on premise environments needs to be assessed especially with respect to the ability to move workloads from cloud to on premise data centers, as required by business. If the data is confidential then it is better to have it stored in a data center.

Configuration Management in hybrid IT environments is another factor which should be kept in mind while implementing ITSM tools. Cloud is known for its elasticity, multi tenancy and ability to assign resources on demand. With such dynamic changes it becomes difficult to track configuration changes and assess the impact of such changes to the cloud services at the same time. So, it is imperative that a robust CMDB strategy is in place that ensures cloud services don't fail due to inadvertent configuration changes. A simple way of tracking would be to have server based agents that can provide real time machine level statistics or use monitoring tools to generate alerts across the hybrid environment. These alerts can be routed to a central repository where it can be analyzed and appropriate action can be taken.

As enterprises move workloads across hybrid environments, process control and Governance become major issues. In many cases, enterprises may have decentralized operations with multiple tools for a similar process across locations. Needless to say, this makes it difficult to visualize process outcomes at any given time. A governance layer defining the responsibilities of each vendor, having SLA and OLAs in place that assigns responsibilities to the relevant teams, service reporting can avoid  issues like  delays, outages and inefficient operations.

An integrated approach towards IT service management spanning hybrid environments allows the enterprise govern the entire IT though a single lens. Process maturity is a key consideration here.


Posted by Manu Singh