The increased complexity of managing IT environments, thanks to the rise of virtualization and cloud computing, is pushing a lot more IT organizations to rethink IT management as a whole. Instead of incurring the ongoing expense of setting up their own IT infrastructure to run custom management applications, many of them are thinking more about invoking IT management services that are delivered via the cloud.
That approach not only reduces capital costs, it also provides an approach to managing IT that scales better as the overall IT environment continues to dynamically change. What's interesting about the approach is that it sets up an opportunity to converge a lot of disparate IT management practices. For instance, systems, network and applications management have all been treated as separate, but related, disciplines. As more of those activities shift to the cloud, IT organizations should expect to see a lot more convergence of these management activities.
Gary Read, newly appointed CEO for Boundary, a provider of network monitoring services that are delivered via the cloud, says that convergence in the cloud is going to soon eliminate the "stove-piped" approach that has historically dominated IT management. As such, Read says it will be critical for services such as Boundary to have a well-defined set of application programming interfaces. That doesn't mean that companies such as Boundary need to deliver every service, but it does mean that the data that Boundary captures at the network level should be used to inform other classes of IT management services and business processes.
One of the things that makes managing IT so frustrating is that usually the IT organization has the information it needs to prevent any particular service from going offline. The trouble is that the information is usually not accessible to the people who need it until long after it becomes too late to prevent the problem.
But as IT management in the cloud continues to evolve, the walls between various classes of IT management tools are going to increasingly come down, which should ultimately improve the ability of the IT organization to manage not just individual components, but rather the entire IT environment. Whether IT organizations decide to get all those IT management services from one vendor in the cloud remains to be seen. But if history is any guide, federated approaches that integrate the offerings of multiple best-of-breed IT management offerings are more than likely going to carry the day.