Where network and systems management is headed next

Industry execs share what they expect to see happening in 2011

Depending on where they stand in the overall environment, network and systems management companies hear different concerns from their enterprise IT clientele. Here’s a look at how the year will shake out in a number of different areas.

Depending on where they stand in the overall environment, network and systems management companies hear different concerns from their enterprise IT clientele. Here’s a look at how the year will shake out in a number of different areas:

Application performance management

Among the trends Compuware sees around network and systems management in 2011 is a return to the client, says Imad Mouline, CTO of the company’s APM Solutions (formerly Gomez) business.

“As applications grow richer (and by extension, heavier), technologies like AJAX, Flash and Flex help maintain application speed by enabling browsers to perform much of the application work.  Other industry advances like HTML 5 place an even heavier burden on browsers by storing data on the client side, lightening server demand.  Browsers will continue to evolve from a “rendering engine” to an “integration platform,” and even more processing within today’s complex Web and mobile Web sites will be executed in the browser. More and more client-side processing will extend the need for client management and require a deeper level of visibility into how much transaction time is being spent on the client and how that impacts performance,” he predicts.  

(See also: The complicated new face of personal computing)

Change management

Change management will be a big enterprise IT focus this year, especially in environments that have embraced agile development, says Oren Elias, CEO of Correlsense.

“Frequent change cycles mean IT requires better tools for managing the application lifecycle – the days are gone where we have the luxury of testing for months. Instead, application developers are introducing change as often as twice a week. So IT has to rely less on testing and more on a better understanding of the test environment and the transactions – even as granular as individual SQL statements – that flow through it,” he says. “With proper change management planning, IT operations can mitigate the risks of infrastructure and application downtime and its impact on the users and customers.”

(See also: Gauging the volume: What to expect in data storage and network traffic growth)

Cloud management

Anything cloud will continue to generate big buzz in 2011, but Zenoss CEO Bill Karpovich says he expects monitoring and service assurance to overtake orchestration for cloud management topic of the year.

“As we really get into production, serving real users and enabling visibility, root-cause analysis, capacity planning and SLA management become keys. Operators will find that legacy tools and siloed approaches to analysis won’t cut it. Next-generation monitoring vendors will get more airtime as these issues surface. VMware has a good start with the Integrien purchase; however, there is much more to do here,” he says.

End-user monitoring

Already an increased area of interest in 2010, this year will see enterprises push further with their end-user monitoring strategies, says Lori Wizdo, vice president of marketing with Knoa Software.

“End-user monitoring … solutions will be utilized in a greater capacity as they provide the ability to see end-user interaction with applications in real-time, to detect issues with applications that aren’t performing well, and react accordingly to reconcile any issues facing applications so end-users don’t experience a dip in productivity. … as organizations begin to rely more and more on applications to drive their businesses, they expect more from those applications. Being able to monitor them in real-time and drive added ROI from their applications will begin to emerge as a crucial part of their IT infrastructure,” she says.

Open-source management

Closed-source management is a thing of the past – or so predicts Luke Kanies, PuppetLabs CEO.

“Every management solution from now on will have to include an open source component. It has to be open enough so that [companies like] Red Hat, Novell, Debian, Oracle and Apple are willing to include it in their operating systems.”

Service governance

The time is now for “service governance 1.0, says Jason Liu, CEO of UC4 Software. “Automation is going to take center stage as the shift from job scheduling to workload automation to real-time infrastructure continues.”

Next up: A deeper dive into the challenges expected as virtualization moves deeper into the enterprise

Schultz is a longtime IT journalist. You can e-mail her or find her here.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.