Friday, April 24, 2015

BMC TrueSight Operations Management 10 for the Digital Age

By Rich Ptak

BMC introduced its TrueSight family of products last fall. They promised “to help improve the user experience, optimize service levels, and reduce ownership costs”. They would accomplish this by first seamlessly integrating their capacity optimization and operations management solutions with real-time and predictive analytics for root-cause analysis. Second, they announced a strategic initiative focused on enabling a speedier, more successful transformation to the Digital Age with solutions that bring “IT to life”. They will produce intuitive tools that facilitate collaboration between IT and business staffs “while fostering delivery of digital services that directly engage customers, partners and stakeholders.”

We liked their approach at the time and subsequent announcements[1] reinforced our opinion. BMC’s announcement of TrueSight IT Operations Management 10 offers new levels of sophistication, innovation, simplification and effectiveness.

Modernizing IT Operations in response to Digital Change
Succeeding in today’s Digital Age requires modernizing management, analysis and reporting of IT Operations. IT staffs have had to juggle multiple screens, unintegrated and unconsolidated data coming at them from a variety of sources. The problem wasn’t a lack of data, but the inability to quickly assemble a coherent, informative view.  BMC focuses on three areas to address those issues. These are: 1) Smart Operations, 2) User-centric performance, and Proactive Analytics. Here is what BMC is providing in each of these.

Smart Operations
Digital Age enterprises must be able to rapidly respond to changing customer and market demands for services. Service delivery depends upon application performance which is directly linked to consistent, reliable infrastructure operations. Dependencies that extend and interact across multiple, different infrastructure devices and elements pose a management challenge. Adding to the complexity is handling combinations of infrastructure and apps that are increasingly dynamic and mobile. The piece-meal, siloed approach of yesterday’s solutions complicated the task of just visualizing end-to-end relationships across infrastructure and applications, let alone identifying and correcting problems.

Smart Operations allows IT and business staff to create customizable converged, end-to-end views of infrastructure and application that are meaningful to them. Problem identification and analysis is faster and easier. Data from multiple sources including events, devices, health, performance, status, etc. can be consolidated to provide application-centric views of what is happening.

Customizable dashboards allow creation of converged views that reflect the interests and responsibilities of operations and management staff. Workflows can be created to speed analysis and facilitate drill-down to identify and rectify problems. Baselines are automatically and dynamically created along with notification of abnormal events. Probable cause analysis reduces alarms and false positive using enterprise specific rules. 

User-Centric Performance
Today’s market for service development and delivery is increasingly competitive and global in its expectations and operations. Fickle customers demand a perfect or near-perfect experience in every exchange. IT operations staff cannot afford to wait for a user’s complaint of poor service to initiate efforts to identify a problem. They need a User-centric Performance view along with an understanding of how application and infrastructure performance impacts the user’s experience. IT operations staff needs information that allows them to know if undetected problems are causing service disruption.

This approach marks the next step in the logical evolution of Application Performance Management (APM) for IT operations. By converging the perspective of applications and infrastructure, IT can more quickly resolve problems (when they cannot be avoided) and proactively manage their environment so those problems don’t crop up again.

Proactive Analytics
Today’s users have been conditioned to expect an exceptional experience. They demand rapid resolution when (expectedly rare) problems do occur. IT must be able to detect and even anticipate when changes in application and infrastructure performance indicate potential service delivery problems. IT operations must be able to monitor health, performance and availability data on all infrastructure and applications involved in service delivery. In practice, this means the hardware, the OS, any middleware, and finally the application. They must be able to detect anomalies, identify and assess the potential impact on service delivery and decide on the appropriate action to avoid disruptions. To do this, IT operations staff must have access to Proactive Analytics able to rapidly process large amounts of the full range of data (log, event, machine, structured, unstructured, etc.). 

In addition, BMC’s TrueSight recognizes the difficulty in handling problem determination across multiple suppliers. It is capable of handling the events and data from most 3rd party suppliers. It will use this data in the analytics engine for a probable cause analysis. It is also able to collect and index data and events across a wide range of environments to help pinpoint the root-cause of a problem.

BMC’s TrueSight 10 is a significant step forward for IT operations management. It should materially reduce the number of false positives that IT departments have had to waste time on in the past. Moreover, it offers new functions that will make IT a more valuable and attractive partner to the business functions in the company.

It’s our opinion that the introduction of BMC‘s TrueSight approach accelerates a much needed advance in the modernization of IT’s abilities for proactive monitoring, managing and resolving the increasingly complex problems of delivering IT services. This approach places them at the "head of the pack" of those offering operations management solutions. No other vendor has adopted and implemented an equivalently comprehensive integration of function with a comparable focus on the user's experience. And, that's how competition benefits everyone!

[1] See our blogs on BMC announcements at