By Cassandra Balentine
According to Gartner, IT operations management and security software services (ITOM) solutions fall under the infrastructure umbrella, and is intended to represent all of the tools needed to manage the provisioning, capacity, performance, and availability of the computing, networking, and application environment.
With such a vast role, the many components of ITOM are subject to the latest demands, including scalability and mobility. Big changes come in the way of cloud tools that provide both benefits and challenges to IT.
Along with these changes comes opportunity for growth. Steve Schmidt, VP, corporate development, Flexera Software, suggests that the biggest growth segments within ITOM are software license optimization and IT service management. “This area of business is growing greater than 40 percent annually, based on our experience. IT service management, including app stores, is also growing greater than 40 percent annually.”
Monitoring and analytics for applications is another area to watch. “This segment is largely ‘owned’ by several large software companies. Eventually, this will transition to a cloud-based model,” comments Charley Rich, VP, product management, Nastel Technologies. He predicts there may be a new generation of providers that take this business, causing a big change in the leadership of the ITOM solution provider market.
At its IT Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit 2013, Gartner reported that the segment totaled $18 billion in 2012, up 4.8 percent from $17 billion in 2011. The research firm pegged BMC Software, CA Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft as marketshare leaders at the time, but noted a new generation of fast growing vendors.
Cloud-related offerings, security solutions, and performance management are other areas of ITOM poised for future growth and providers of these tools must adhere to new demands.
Accommodating New Trends
ITOM providers accommodate cloud, mobility, and multi-channel trends.
“Despite the early hype, many new technologies run into issues when it comes to deployment in the enterprise context,” says Mark O’Neill, VP, innovation, application programming interface (API) and identity, Axway. It is important to look at ways to help integrate new trends to improve overall performance and mitigate risk.
Axway provides the infrastructure for monitoring and managing the flow of data across application silos, enterprise boundaries, and business-to-business communities. The company has built cloud connectors to help integrate with cloud services—such as Salesforce.com and Amazon—to on-premise systems. “We now work with customers using public, private, and hybrid clouds so we need to offer solutions that can govern the flow of data in a range of scenarios,” says O’Neill.
Mat Hamlin, director of product, Spanning Cloud Apps, Inc., suggests that in 2014, most software solution providers are taking a cloud-first approach to developing and delivering new solutions and revisions of existing products.
“Solutions providers must deliver cloud-based offerings or get left behind. This has been proven in a number of spaces like human resource management systems with Workday, service management with ServiceNow, CRM with Salesforce, and even in verticals like healthcare, where a number of new cloud-based electronic health records services have gained traction and incumbents like Epic are delivering cloud and mobile offerings,” says Hamlin.
For backup and recovery solutions providers, he points out the importance of knowing the differences between backing up an on-premise application versus a Software as a Service (SaaS) application. “IT operations teams are adept at traditional approaches to backup and recovery related to infrastructure, such as OS, database, file systems, and virtual machines, but these processes and technologies do not extend well to SaaS applications,” says Hamlin.
He explains that data residing in solutions like Google Apps or Salesforce is out of reach when using traditional technology methods.
Spanning Cloud Apps offers SaaS application backup and recovery solutions, specifically for Google Apps and Salesforce. Spanning Backup leverages the available Web services of cloud applications to perform automated and on demand backup of data, delivering self-service recovery for end users and administrators.
Martin Stewart, content marketing manager, Axios Systems, notes that cloud technologies require a different approach to management. “There are no application management overheads—aside from administration/configuration—and support is devolved to the vendor, so the burden of management shifts,” he explains. “For services provided by the in-house datacenter, having solid support processes will be a priority to ensure service up-time. For cloud services, service level management and vendor management become the priority and support is simplified to a process of escalation to the vendor.”
Axios Systems provides its assyst enterprise IT service management solution, which focuses on helping IT improve the business value of operations by aligning what it does with business needs. By taking a service-oriented approach, IT teams can see the business meaning of the infrastructure and operations they manage.
Nastel’s Rich suggests that solutions providers are accommodating new trends, and in many ways are ahead of enterprises. “There is so much media hype around the word cloud that it is challenging to understand if there is a new technology in an announcement or whether it is merely cloud washing.”
Nastel develops solutions for ITOM in the area of real-time monitoring and analytics for application performance management.
Rich notes that ITOM providers offer real value in the cloud with SaaS-based licensing models. “By providing software this way, the business of how software is licensed and paid for is changing completely.”
New deployment models and environments always come with new enablement roles, therefore software license optimization and application readiness are essential to adopting the latest trends. “New deployment models and environments come with new licensing rules established by vendors. Organizations must be aware of these rules and track their license usage to ensure they are compliant with rules around virtualization, mobility, and the cloud. Given the tremendous complexity of doing this manually, organizations must use automation to ensure they are properly buying software for use in these environments, and using that software in compliance with their contracts,” says Schmidt.
From an application readiness perspective, Schmidt points out that the package once, deploy anywhere mentality is expected. “This means they need one application readiness process to deploy their applications in all environments. Automated tools are the only way organizations can be ready to test, assess compatibility, fix, package, and hand off for deployment applications in any target environment. Given the constant state of software migrations, adapting application readiness best practices and automation is the only way that time and resource strapped IT teams can keep up.
Flexera Software plays in two key ITOM areas, software license optimization and application readiness. The FlexNet Manager Suite solution provides automation around the complex process of inventorying an organization’s software assets, reconciling those assets against their purchase orders and the product usage rights, which are contractual terms that outline exactly what an organization can do with the software.
Additionally, Flexera’s Application Readiness Solution, AdminStuido Suite, is designed to help enterprises discover, assess compatibility, model, manage, and package applications for reliable deployments on premise, to virtualized and cloud-based environments, and mobile devices.
Priorities and Challenges
The demands on IT continue to grow. When it comes to ITOM, several priorities stand out. Most importantly, organizations look to solutions that are easy to use, which includes the ability to integrate with other tools.
“On one hand, enterprises are looking for highly secure IT infrastructure, and on the other, they want to reduce latency,” comments O’Neill. This means organizations are looking for a secure infrastructure that still allows data to flow.
“ITOM is responsible for much more than individual applications, and must address global issues of security, complexity, integration, interoperability, reliability, and vendor lock-in,” explains Hamlin. He notes that when a key application moves out of their control and into the hands of line of business, these issues become very apparent. “For example, how can IT effectively ensure business continuity through backup and recovery when they cannot leverage any of their existing backup process or technology?”
The linking of disparate solutions is a priority. “IT leaders want tools that tie together disparate IT groups and functions around the totem pole of business value,” suggests Stewart.
The bring your own device movement and the shift to mobile computing present challenges to ITOM. “These trends increase the number devices to support. This places the ownership of those devices in the hands of individual employees, and moves the location of the devices all around the world,” says Schmidt.
API management is one important element of ITOM. “API management once came under line of business, and was even considered guerilla IT,” points out O’Neill. “However, it’s now a core practice in IT operations management and will experience huge growth as more companies look to expose data through APIs.
There is also heightened awareness surrounding the vulnerability of improperly managed APIs resting on the backs of high-profile hackings. O’Neill points to both Buffer and Snapchat as an example. “As more businesses begin to manage their data through Web APIs, proper API management will become essential to securing data.”
IT should be left to innovate, but is often tied up in day-to-day issues. Stewart says this leaves no time to engage with the business to investigate avenues where new technology can add business value. “IT shops are keen to the get the basics sorted, so they can shift up gear and become worth more to the business.”
“Most of all, enterprises want to offload IT of the burden of maintaining software and hardware, while leveraging technology to accelerate the place of business and stay competitive,” adds Hamlin.
The future of IT consistently evolves. Service providers remain proactive to help enterprises manage their IT operations. SW
Jul2014, Software Magazine