There are a few free-standing ADM companies left; most notably Tideway, mValent and Troux. The fact that these remain independent should in no way be viewed as a slight against them. Tideway, probably the most mainstream of the three, in particular continues to thrive as in independent option.
So, what should you look for in ADM technology to support that dynamic awareness of changing application-to-infrastructure interdependencies? An awareness, by the way, that can in some cases become a spine for your CMDB system investments by providing a common reference point across multiple, federated CMDBs to key in on service-to-infrastructure interrelationships.
The first thing to say is that as singular as the ADM idea may sound, each solution has arisen out of its own roots; some more focused on process, some more focused on lifecycle application management, some more focused on real-time awareness of application interdependencies over the total infrastructure, and some more optimized to monitor systems configuration changes as they may impact applications.
Nonetheless, here is a brief check list of questions to ask based on your particular priorities and objectives:
▫ How real time is it?
▫ What insight can it capture or represent in terms of application-to-application interdependencies, such as middleware or other services such as DNS services?
▫ Is it architected to support SOA and Web services?
▫ Can it support for virtualized environments?
▫ What level of detail does it provide in terms of systems configuration?
▫ How optimized is it to support asset management and lifecycle planning for infrastructure components as they impact critical application services?
▫ How optimized is it to support troubleshooting by capturing service-to-infrastructure interdependencies along with designated owners (who owns the fix)?
▫ What types of process automation does it support, such as best practices for lifecycle application management?
▫ What role-based constituencies are support out of the box through its reports and GUIs?
▫ What level of awareness does it provide regarding the network?
As a corollary, does it support insight into application traffic as it flows over the network so that application volumes can be associated with the need for configuration changes? This will become especially important in dynamic load balancing for VMS across the network.
Is it agent or agentless or both?
What kinds of integrations does it support? Its not even enough to assume that just because you have brand X CMDB and brand X ADM youre set for life. You may have network or systems configuration tools that are other brands and so your ADM solution should be designed to be a good citizen Lego. This gives you freedom of choice to evolve your management portfolio without brand straight-jacketing.
And of course how deploy able is it? Whats the expected time to value for your objectives in your environment?
Dennis Drogseth is vice president of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates (www.enterprisemanagement.com), an industry research firm focused on IT management. Dennis can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org