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The understanding and ‘must-have-ness’ of enterprise management is not quite there yet.
It is clear that companies understand the importance of traditional systems management, but there is someway to go before companies appreciate the potential advantages of being able to manage the business as a whole.
Management solutions can provide greater visibility into day-to-day operations and provide the ability to detect and fix problems in a time and cost efficient manner.
Traditional face of infrastructure management
Three areas are central to infrastructure management technology: applications management, systems management and network management.
Enterprise IT managers aim to decrease the problems and difficulties associated with managing their existing IT infrastructures, while focusing on technologies that help to reduce costs or drive revenues.
The continued trend towards the outsourcing of enterprise IT functions is significantly impacting the infrastructure management market.
With IT becoming increasingly central and mission-critical to the operation of many enterprises, vendors have been forced to evolve their infrastructure management solutions from being purely technology-centric to become increasingly focused on business services.
New areas of focus are increasingly becoming central to infrastructure management to the extent that their incorporation into solutions is serving to redefine the term to include business service management and security information management.
The demands placed on businesses’ networks have never been greater.
Network management solutions ensure the effective operation of both wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs), involving the management of elements of the network infrastructure such as hubs, switches, routers and bridges.
Many vendors have added to their network management functionality with tracking, customer access, database collection, staff management and project management to name a few.
Increasingly, network management software deals less with monitoring alone and takes a more active role within the network and managing the service level agreement.
The trend for organizations to outsource elements of their network to a third party has become increasingly accepted.
The managed network services sector is highly competitive, with telecoms companies vying with systems integrators and equipment manufacturers for a share of the spoils.
Efficiency and cost containment of the IT infrastructure have influenced the development of the networking market, particularly in sectors such as financial services.
Systems management products enable IT managers to establish whether their servers and systems are running effectively and they they are not showing any degradation in performance.
After a brief respite, the systems management market has returned to its normal state of frantic merger and acquisition activity.
The systems and network management software vendors are pitching the idea of self-configuring,
self-managing and self-healing, or autonomic systems and networks as a key foundation to utility computing.
The most likely development of the disaster recovery and business continuity will be a continued increase in awareness for the need to protect the business and not only for protection against large scale disasters, but also to ensure the overall robustness of the business.
Just because the server and network are up, it does not mean that it is safe to assume the application is performing as well as it should.
Application management solutions measure the response times and performance of enterprise applications.
Most third-party packages and applications require some form of management to keep them running smoothly and a small number actually come with their own management environments.
Management tasks need to be carried out at all levels within the application lifecycle.
The solution to the current disproportionate focus on pre-deployment rather than post-deployment of applications is to reorganise the IT department and re-allocate budgets to enable IT to be more responsive to user performance and business process requirements.
Testing software is not new, but its role in helping to boost software quality is more vital than ever.
There are marked synergies between security management solutions and traditional infrastructure management solutions and a combination of supplier push and customer pull means that over time there will be increasing integration between the two.
One way that vendors have sought to increase the penetration and the number of deployments for their technologies within a single customer has been to push the layered security model.
So far the number of organizations deploying a truly layered security architecture is relatively small, but the model is gaining acceptance, particularly in the anti-virus space.
Security information management has become one of THE hot topics in the enterprise IT security space.
Security, in relation to business continuity, centers on preventive measures designed to protect that system to avoid it failing in the first place.
The moves by most of the major vendors to fill gaps in their portfolio suggest that many are banking on the developing security models as a means of increasing revenues in their non-core areas.
Partnerships are an important step in taking the market forward and ensuring that interoperability is developed and maintained.
Security information management
A new breed of solutions has emerged, called ‘security information management’ technology, which provide a holistic view of the real and potential threats an enterprise may encounter.
The SIM model builds on the layered security concept and is designed to bring the individual capabilities of different security products together to offer a solution that covers as many bases as possible.
The heterogeneity of a security information management solution is one of the main differentiators used by vendors in positioning their products.
Effective security information management solutions must also incorporate vulnerability assessment and patch management tools.
The SIM market is still relatively immature and there are a number of obstacles that vendors must overcome first including the lack of common standards, the need for integration help and the lack of integration with existing systems management solutions.
The financial services sector is the most important individual market for SIM solutions in terms of revenues, accounting for almost 30% of the market.
One means by which companies are likely to compete in the future is through features, and one way that vendors can achieve this is by partnering with as many security solution providers as possible.
Another potential future scenario for security management tools is the merging of the various subsets of this market.
Business service management
The creation and subsequent growth in Business service management (BSM) triggered a change in emphasis from the business being constricted by the IT that it owns, to initiatives and concepts that focus on IT being a ‘subservient enabler’ of business requirements.
At its simplest level BSM enables business leaders to better understand the management of their IT infrastructure and correlate its performance to business processes and internal service levels.
A BSM solution requires integration, portal, BI/BAM, BPM, content management and some systems management technologies.
One of the key stepping-stones towards BSM is IT service management (ITSM).
Organisations are beginning to understand and realise the cost and administration benefits of outsourcing key elements of their business.
Outsourcing in the future might become an inevitable feature within the running of an organisation’s IT function, for example, as part of utility computing initiatives.
Infrastructure outsourcing encapsulates outsourcing of desktop, network and data centers.
The desktop outsourcing market is one of the most commoditized outsourcing markets, with a significant number of vendors competing for business.
The network management market has become very competitive, with the key motivator for outsourcing being cost reduction.
A key trend in the infrastructure outsourcing market will be increasing convergence between desktop and network outsourcing.
The data center market is different from other infrastructure outsourcing markets in that it is perceived as risk laden to outsource, yet it is the largest market segment.
Like companies in other sectors, FSIs see reliability, security, and cost reduction as the primary issues they are dealing with in their infrastructure plan.
The infrastructure outsourcing market represents a tremendous opportunity for vendors.
The vendor landscape
The arrival of new management solutions, such as BSM and security information management, will change the market along two lines: through changes to vendors’ product positioning and in the form of product and vendor consolidation.
Consolidation is of most interest with regard to the synergies between traditional infrastructure management and security management.
With traditional revenue streams being squeezed due to a combination of falling technology costs and increasing levels of competition, a broad range of providers –ranging from service providers to equipment vendors – are targeting the services arena in order to boost income and supplement their product and service portfolios.
While partnerships are needed for specific contracts, there is also a growing trend towards developing strategic relationships in order to increase service portfolio breadth and coverage.
Telcos are fast emerging as the most important players in the European network services and solutions market.
Equipment providers increasingly, have to steer away from traditional business models, and focus instead on developing a comprehensive set of network-based products and/or customized products for the managed services sector.
The security information management software market is a rich mix of different vendors with different approaches and backgrounds.
Source-Future Infrastructure Management Solutions- Consolidation and new market dynamics-By Victoria Furness
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