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Two more enabling management technologies

Oct 27, 20033 mins
Data CenterSecurity

* Two more technology areas that can enable management

Last week, I wrote about the value of investing in enabling technologies – capabilities that are so strong within one management application that they can support other management applications, potentially including those made by other vendors.

The capabilities we covered included data gathering, data store, topology, analytics, visualization and automation. In today’s column I’d like to mention two more areas of enabling technologies, and wrap up with a pragmatic tip.

Security is not only a critical market in itself, but security can also be understood as an integrated set of services that increasingly are generating enabling capabilities.

To understand this, security has to be broken down into component services such as intrusion detection, vulnerability assessments, policy-based access control, data protection and so forth. These capabilities become almost invariably extensions of other services; for example, intrusion detection becomes an extension of fault and performance management, policy-based access control becomes at least in part an extension of service provisioning, and so forth.

They also become a potential source of enabling technologies. Probably the simplest example here is vulnerability assessments. These typically require insight into how the networked infrastructure is configured and so – as in the case of Lumeta’s software – can provide superior topological awareness of the network for more effective overall management and planning. In another vein, Computer Associates acquired Silent Runner, which had been focused on forensics and intrusion detection, largely for its ability to auto-discover service paths as dynamic behavioral paths across infrastructure. This can potentially enable a wide variety of capabilities, from superior service-level management to more efficient availability management.

Data transport is another enabling capability – especially once it’s linked to a policy engine for defining what needs to be shared and communicated across management components through flexible, well-aligned workflow. Tibco is one vendor that’s dominant in this space, and Web services can provide a mechanism for distributed, policy-based communication. However, I’d like to suggest that what’s most critical here is not only the transport and sharing of data, but also policy-based capabilities for automating how tasks get done across management applications. From this perspective, the rather traditional discipline of job scheduling may, in the coming years, resurface as an enabler within management software for automating some complex tasks.

I’d like to end with a strong reminder that probably isn’t needed for most of you skeptics. While these are all fundamental – and in my view, necessary – new ways of looking at the management environment, they are still new. The degree to which they become a reality will depend on accelerating vendor and customer awareness of their potential. Your awareness, and your insistence, will become a big part of determining just how real this “vision” will become.