New tools show how systems affect business processes

Two software suppliers are unveiling packages today to improve IT services management by giving greater insight into the...

Two software suppliers are unveiling packages today to improve IT services management by giving greater insight into the relationships between those parts of IT systems that are tied to business processes.

Relicore will bring out Clarity 4.0 while BMC Software will separately unveil Topology Discovery. Last week, FrontRange Solutions released the .net-based IT Service Management for midsize companies.

Mark Ehr, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, said all three products aimed to improve the oversight of internal processes by following guidelines from the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

An ITIL strategy calls for a centralised configuration management database to store a huge assortment of information about settings on network elements, servers and applications. The central database lets IT managers see the effect on the system if part of it fails, gains traffic or is reconfigured.

Ehr said that Relicore, a four-year-old company with 12 large customers, was "one of the best secrets around". He predicted that large management suppliers would imitate its Clarity 4.0 or buy the company out. He noted that Topology Discovery was "very similar" to Clarity, although BMC built its application using technology it gained by acquiring Marimba and Remedy.

Kurt Hansel, senior technical officer at JP Morgan Chase, said his bank would move to Clarity 4.0 at the beginning of next year. JP Morgan has used version 3.6 for more than a year on 50 servers that run an application called Cash on Line, used by more than 3,000 financial traders and cash managers.

Hansel said that Clarity 4.0 would work with IBM Tivoli software at JP Morgan to give greater insight into system updates, such as changes to a configuration file.

Cheri Tipton, IT technician for a US city authority, said her municipality had bought IT Service Management and would take it live in January. She said the new software would help the city be more proactive in handling system problems.

"With the old system, we'd have a problem or incident and nobody knew what to do with it, since the root problem was hard to find," explained Tipton. FrontRange will help manage systems used by 650 employees in 24 buildings.

Steve Balentine, a BMC product marketing manager, said Topology Discovery built and maintained a network map with application infrastructure information to model IT services.

"Understanding the relationships between parts of the infrastructure is the wave of the future," explained Jasmine Noel, analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates. "It's more than just a map of a business, but a picture of how a business service is using the infrastructure at this minute."

Matt Hamblen writes for Computerworld

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