No Panacea: The Vendor Hype Around Complete Solutions

The broad product capabilities that are needed to provide a true end-to-end view include the following:

Data center analytics—traditional element managers such as server and network management solutions.

Application discovery and dependency mapping—products that discover packaged applications and map them to their underlying infrastructure.

Application code analytics—products that provide insight necessary to identify, track and manage custom applications.

Networked application management—products that provide insight into transactions, transaction flows, and the relationships between transactions and underlying infrastructure.

Application integration analytics—products that provide insight into middleware and variable transaction paths across distributed systems.

The configuration management data base (CMDB) and reporting products are also part of the end to end equation. The CMDB provides the “glue” that makes building a big picture of an application possible, said Craig, and reporting and analytics provide tools needed to make management information actionable.

As far as actually selecting and investing in a particular end-to-end solution, Cabahug said there is far more to it than simply adding the numbers and measuring overall need. “You have to know where you can and cannot compromise.”

Cabahug recommends a deep understanding of both the product and the vendor before you buy. “Ask questions early: Does it address all of your primary concerns right now? If not, does the vendor plan to address those weaknesses in the future and when? Can you wait? Is there a work around you can offer to the business in the meantime?”

The Dark Side

No matter how great the end-to-end solution appears, it is only half the equation. Vendor reliability is equally important. “At one time or another, we have all experienced the pain of having our vendors ‘disappear’ and then we’re left with a legacy application that might just as well be home grown,” she said.

Despite the very hands-on approach needed to weld end-to-end solutions into IT’s arsenal, end-to-end automation is undeniably the way to go.

“It’s important to keep in mind that all best practices point to increasing levels of automation being fundamental to IT maturity,” said Craig. “The degree to which CIOs leverage automation as it continues to mature will have a direct impact on the levels of service the IT organization can deliver to the business.”

Cabahug agrees that in today’s business world where technology must talk seamlessly and information must flow from one system to the other, in real time, there are few alternatives For an organization that chooses to spend most of its IT dollars on IT innovations rather than on maintenance expense, she said, several options are quickly eliminated. “Building our own end-to-end solution is out of the question.”