BSM: A Win-Win IT Proposition

Business Service Management (BSM) is a winner all around for IT departments, which can use it to support business objectives, simplify infrastructures, and reduce costs, according to BMC Software Consulting Product Manager Jim Byrd.

During the ebizQ webinar Business Service Management for WebLogic, Tuxedo, J2EE and PeopleSoft Environments, part of the BMC-sponsored series Improving Business Agility Through Business Service Management, Byrd illustrated the point by looking at technical and management challenges to, and solutions provided by, three popular products: PeopleSoft, BEA WebLogic Server, and BEA Tuxedo.

“Ultimately, your success should not be measured on how well you make IT operate and perform, but rather how well IT supports the provision of business services,” he asserted.

The first steps, Byrd said, involve identifying services critical to your business, implementing a strong systems management infrastructure, and defining and detecting changes in dynamic business-IT interactions.

Still, e-business systems running multiple components across a distributed environment offer numerous potential trouble spots, while end-users’ demand for always-on availability creates a shrinking maintenance window. “For many companies, management complexities have increased faster than staff can handle or be trained to handle,” Byrd noted.

But there are solutions at hand.

Automating routine and complex administration tasks and providing administrators with a central view and control over the entire environment helps to quickly detect and correct problems, Byrd said. It also enables IT personnel “to focus on managing the business service landscape -- a much higher-value proposition.”

“No matter how well protected your information system may be, problems will eventually occur,” Byrd observed. “Constantly monitoring the availability of system components and applications can reduce the impact of the outage that is felt by the end-user. Providing proactive alerting as well as fast, automated recovery of system components minimizes unplanned outages. Understanding system resources and components at a highly detailed level simplifies the process of automating complex routines and maintenance tasks, thereby reducing costly planned downtime for the organization.”

Byrd described the interaction between PeopleSoft’s Version 8 and the Tuxedo Publish and Subscribe Messaging Software, which increases transaction processing by routing SQL requests to the database so they are processed while client operations continue to perform.

PeopleSoft Version 8 also offers improved data transfer through internal and external applications. Byrd cited the example of an invoice that can be transferred either internally to another department in the organization or to a third-party application. “As data is transferred using XML, the CRM module can communicate with a vendor as seamlessly as it does with the finance department,” he pointed out.

Byrd detailed how BMC’s PATROL for PeopleSoft provides a Health Report Center that displays the availability of the PeopleSoft database application server, domains and Web servers. Monitoring and automatic reactivation of local process schedules are also provided. Additional features include a Probe component, which simulates PeopleSoft transactions, measures total end-to-end response time, provides response time breakdown, and alerts on response time breaches.

Byrd noted that PeopleSoft is often deployed in conjunction with BEA’s WebLogic Server, which simplifies new application development and integration with legacy business systems while increasing developer productivity.

He identified a wide variety of performance-affecting issues, and solutions provided by PATROL for BEA WebLogic. “PATROL for BEA WebLogic can identify the ten worst-performing components and that information can be correlated to CPU performance data.”

For example, poorly-designed SQL can cause response time problems, but PATROL for BEA WebLogic can identify the worst-performing SQL statements for you, he explained.

“The addition of PATROL for BEA WebLogic builds on the PeopleSoft management and provides more details about the actual execution of business services that run not only in PeopleSoft but also in adjacent systems such as databases and messaging systems,” he continued.

Byrd said BEA Tuxedo enables enterprises to deploy transactional applications that can support thousands of concurrent users and maintain predictable short-response times independent of the underlying communications, hardware, or databases. Like BEA WebLogic, Tuxedo is powerful but complex, with hundreds of tunable, static and dynamic system attributes and numerous utility tools, Byrd commented.

“Availability is not as easy to monitor manually when there are hundreds of individual components. The impact of a non-available component is not easy to pinpoint,” Byrd said before outlining how PATROL for Tuxedo’s “visualization of management information base, object hierarchy, and current running status can help identify components that are degrading or showing potential problems before they become critical.”

“By providing detailed performance metrics of the individual components that make up the application,” BMC products – deployed together or separately -- enable system administrators “to ensure the performance that the business needs,” Byrd maintained.

“Managing those components or assets is a key step to moving to Business Service Management,” he noted. “The business service model directly connects your technology components to your critical business services.

“When an IT event occurs, such as the failure of a storage element, your service model relates the element to the server running your online store. The event manager prioritizes this failure as critical so your IT staff knows to take quick corrective action. As a result, you can minimize the negative business impact of technology events.”

To learn more about how intelligent management of IT components adds value to management paradigms through BSM, watch a replay of Business Service Management for WebLogic, Tuxedo, J2EE and PeopleSoft Environments.

About the Author

Gian Trotta is ebizQ's managing editor. Before joining ebizQ, he developed a wide variety of virtual news and community features for Newsday, Prodigy, Time Inc., Excite, and MSNBC.

More by Gian Trotta

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