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Deploying service support for systems management

The breadth of service support operations you have to perform as a channel professional is labor intensive. Understand the elements of service support, as outlined in this excerpt from Chapter 5, "Implementing System Management Services, Part 1: Deploying Service Support" of The Definitive Guide to Service-Oriented Systems Management.

Much of the work in systems management is service support -- keeping devices and applications functioning and ensuring that they continue to meet the changing needs of the organization. This task entails managing changes as new assets are added and others are retired; reconfiguring systems in response to changes in the infrastructure, such as growing demands for network bandwidth; and releasing new versions of applications to geographically distributed users. Service support is especially challenging because of the breadth of services that are typically supported by IT operations and the depth of detailed information required for service support.

The breadth of operations, from upgrading operating systems (OSs) and reconfiguring routers to planning software releases and responding to security incidents, can be labor intensive. For example, upgrading the OS on one desktop computer might take one hour in a simple case. Coordinating times to install the upgrade with users and dealing with unexpected consequences of the change add to that time.

Ensuring the Quality of Service (QoS) delivery depends upon detailed information about the state of devices and processes running on those devices. A systems manager cannot simply install a new application or upgrade an existing application without understanding how the system is currently used. For example, a Java application server may depend upon one version of the Java runtime environment (JRE), but another application, about to be in installed on the same server, requires a different version of the same runtime environment. The systems manager cannot uninstall one version of the runtime environment and replace it with another without disrupting the application server operations.

Clearly, to be effective and efficient, service delivery operations must be built on a foundation of well-defined processes and, ideally, automated operations. The previous chapter introduced the configuration management database (CMDB) as a central component of service-oriented management. This chapter builds on that with a discussion of processes that leverage the CMDB. In particular, this chapter will cover the common characteristics of the multiple elements of service support, as well as details about:

  • Incident management
  • Problem management
  • Configuration management
  • Change management
  • Release management

The chapter concludes with a discussion of the unifying elements of service-oriented management with respect to service delivery.

Use the following table of contents to navigate to chapter excerpts, or click here to view Chapter 1 in its entirety.

Implementing System Management Services

  Home: Deploying Service Support
 Part 1: Elements of Service Support
 Part 2: Incident Management
 Part 3: Problem Management
 Part 4: Configuration Management
 Part 5: Change Management
 Part 6: Release Management

The above tip is excerpted from Chapter 5, "Implementing System Management Services, Part 1: Deploying Service Support" of The Definitive Guide to Service-Oriented Systems Management by Dan Sullivan. Get a copy of this ebook at Realtime Publishers.

About the author: Chief Technology Officer of Redmont Corporation. Dan's 17 years of IT experience include engagements in enterprise content management, data warehousing, database design, natural language processing and artificial intelligence. Dan has developed significant expertise in all phases of the system development lifecycle and in a broad range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, government, retail, gas and oil production, power generation, and education. In addition to authoring various books, articles and columns, Dan is the leader of The Realtime Messaging and Web Security Community where he posts to his Messaging and Web Security weblog and produces his expert podcast.

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