Design, implement, and manage world-class infrastructures.
IT Systems Management describes the process of managing any IT infrastructure to achieve optimum stability, efficiency, and responsiveness. By understanding and harnessing proven systems management techniques, organizations can leverage their IT investment in powerful new ways.
Infrastructure expert Rich Schiesser explains the theoretical and practical aspects of systems management, using observations, methods, and examples drawn from years of professional experience. IT Systems Management is based on the fundamental belief that people, process, and technology are the key ingredients in any successful IT organization and includes ground-breaking coverage on how to implement each key discipline in mainframe data centers, mid-range shops, client/server environments, and Web-enabled systems.
This accessible, but comprehensive guide:
IT Systems Management is designed for IT professionals involved in designing, implementing, and managing any part of an IT environment or the entire infrastructure.
(NOTE: Each chapter begins with an Introduction and concludes with a Summary.)
List of Figures
List of Tables.
I. BACKGROUND.1. Historical Perspective.
Systems Management: A Proposed Definition. Timelining Early Developments of Systems Management. The Need for a General-Purpose Computer. A Brief Look at IBM.2. Evolving in the 1970s and 1980s.
General Purpose Becomes General Expansion. Evolving S/360 into S/370. Significant IT Developments during the 1980s. Continuing Evolution of Mainframe Computers. Extended Use of Midrange Computers. Proliferation of Personal Computers. Emergence of Client-Server Systems. Impact of 1980s' IT Developments on New Systems Management Functions. Impact of 1980s' IT Developments on Existing Systems Management Functions.3. Into and Beyond the New Millennium.
Reinventing the Mainframe. The Changing of Midrange and Client-Server Platforms. The Growing Use of PCs and Networks. The Global Growth of the Internet. Lingering Effects of the Millennium Bug. Timelining the Disciplines of Systems Management.
II. PEOPLE.4. Acquiring Executive Support.
Why Executive Support Is Especially Critical Today. Building a Business Case for Systems Management. Educating Executives on the Value of Systems Management. Three Universal Principles Involving Executive Support. Ensuring Ongoing Executive Support.5. Organizing for Systems Management.
Factors to Consider in Designing IT Organizations. Factors to Consider in Designing IT Infrastructures. Locating Departments in the Infrastructure. Recommended Attributes of Process Owners.6. Staffing for Systems Management.
Determining Required Skill Sets and Skill Levels. Assessing the Skill Levels of Current Onboard Staff. Alternative Sources of Staffing. Recruiting Infrastructure Staff from the Outside. Selecting the Most Qualified Candidate. Retaining Key Personnel. Using Consultants and Contractors. Benefits of Using Consultants and Contractors. Drawbacks of Using Consultants and Contractors.7. Customer Service.
How IT Evolved into a Service Organization. The Four Key Elements of Good Customer Service. Identifying Your Key Customers. Identifying Key Services of Key Customers. Identifying Key Processes that Support Key Services. Identifying Key Suppliers that Support Key Processes. Integrating the Four Key Elements of Good Customer Service. The Four Cardinal Sins that Undermine Good Customer Service.
III. PROCESSES.8. Availability.
Definition of Availability. Differentiating Availability from Uptime. Differentiating Slow Response from Downtime. Differentiating Availability from High Availability. Desired Traits of an Availability Process Owner. Methods for Measuring Availability. The Seven Rs of High Availability. Assessing an Infrastructure's Availability Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Availability Process.9. Performance and Tuning.
Differences between the Performance and Tuning Process and Other Infrastructure Processes. Definition of Performance and Tuning. Preferred Characteristics of a Performance and Tuning Process Owner. Performance and Tuning Applied to the Five Major Resource Environments. Server Environment. Disk Storage Environment. Database Environment. Network Environment. Desktop Computer Environment. Assessing an Infrastructure's Performance and Tuning Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Performance and Tuning Process.10. Production Acceptance.
Definition of Production Acceptance. The Benefits of a Production Acceptance Process. Implementing a Production Acceptance Process. Full Deployment of a New Application. Distinguishing New Applications from New Versions of Existing Applications. Distinguishing Production Acceptance from Change Management. Assessing an Infrastructure's Production Acceptance Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Production Acceptance Process.11. Change Management.
Definition of Change Management. Drawbacks of Most Change Management Processes. Key Steps Required in Developing a Change Management Process. Emergency Changes Metric. Assessing an Infrastructure's Change Management Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Change Management Process.12. Problem Management.
Definition of Problem Management. Scope of Problem Management. Distinguishing among Problem, Change, and Request Management. Key Steps to Developing a Problem Management Process. Opening and Closing Problems. Segregating and Integrating Help Desks. Client Issues with Problem Management. Assessing an Infrastructure's Problem Management Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Problem Management Process.13. Storage Management.
Definition of Storage Management. Desired Traits of a Storage Management Process Owner. Storage Management Capacity. Storage Management Performance. Storage Management Reliability. Storage Management Recoverability. Assessing an Infrastructure's Storage Management Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Storage Management Process.14. Network Management.
Definition of Network Management. Key Decisions about Network Management. Assessing an Infrastructure's Network Management Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Network Management Process.15. Configuration Management.
Definition of Configuration Management. Practical Tips for Improving Configuration Management. Assessing an Infrastructure's Configuration Management Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Configuration Management Process.16. Capacity Planning.
Definition of Capacity Planning. Why Capacity Planning Is Seldom Done Well. How to Develop an Effective Capacity Planning Process. Additional Benefits of Capacity Planning. Helpful Hints for Effective Capacity Planning. Uncovering the Hidden Costs of Upgrades. Assessing an Infrastructure's Capacity Planning Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Capacity Planning Process.17. Strategic Security.
Definition of Strategic Security. Developing a Strategic Security Process. Assessing an Infrastructure's Strategic Security Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Security Process.18. Disaster Recovery.
Definition of Disaster Recovery. Case Study: Disaster at the Movie Studio. Three Important Lessons Learned. Steps to Developing an Effective Disaster Recovery Process. Nightmare Incidents with Disaster Recovery Plans. Assessing an Infrastructure's Disaster Recovery Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Disaster Recovery Process.19. Facilities Management.
Definition of Facilities Management. Major Elements of Facilities Management. The Facilities Management Process Owner. Determining the Scope of Responsibilities of a Facilities Management Process Owner. Desired Traits of a Facilities Management Process Owner. Evaluating the Physical Environment. Major Physical Exposures Common to a Data Center. A Word about Efficiency and Effectiveness. Tips to Improve the Facilities Management Process. Facilities Management at Outsourcing Centers. Assessing an Infrastructure's Facilities Management Process. Measuring and Streamlining the Facilities Management Process.
IV. TECHNOLOGY.20. Developing Robust Processes.
What Contributes to a World-Class Infrastructure. Characteristics of a Robust Process. Understanding the Differences between a Formal and Informal Process. Helpful Ground Rules for Brainstorming. Methods for Prioritizing Requirements.21. Using Technology to Automate and Evaluate Robust Processes.
Automating Robust Processes. Evaluating an Infrastructure Process. Evaluating Process Documentation. Benefits of the Methodology to Evaluate Process Documentation.22. Integrating Systems Management Processes.
Distinguishing Strategic Processes from Tactical Processes. Identifying Strategic Processes. Identifying Tactical Processes. The Value of Distinguishing Strategic from Tactical Processes. Relationships between Strategic and Tactical Processes. Difficulties with Integrating Solely Tactical Processes. Difficulties with Integrating Solely Strategic Processes. Difficulties with Integrating Tactical and Strategic Processes. Examining the Integrated Relationships between Strategic and Tactical Processes. Significance of Systems Management Process Relationships.23. Special Considerations for Client-Server and Web-Enabled Environments.
Client-Server Environment Issues. Vendor Relationships. Multiplatform Support. Performance Tuning Challenges. Disaster Recovery Planning. Capacity Planning. Web-Enabled Environment Issues. Traditional Companies. Moderate and Growing Companies. Dotcom Companies.
V. APPENDICES.Appendix A: Frequently Asked Questions.
Few industries have grown as rapidly or as widely as that of information technology (IT). What began as an infant offshoot of the accounting profession a mere 40 years ago has since matured into a prevalent and compelling force in nearly every segment of business, industry, and society in general. IT is the latest, and most significant, of cultural revolutions.
Futurist author Alvin Tofler, in his book on cultural phenomena, The Third Wave, describes three significant movements in American social development. These were the agricultural revolution of the late 1800s, the industrial revolution of the early 1900s, and the information revolution of the last two decades of the twentieth century.
Some 30 years ago Tofler correctly forecast many of today's social and technological trends. But even he could not predict the rapid rate of progress that the IT industry would sustain, nor its profound impact on living standards and business practices.
Much has been written about the various IT breakthroughs involving chip technology, compiler designs, hardware components, and programming languages. But little has been written about how to manage effectively the environment in which IT entities coexist and thrive. This environment is commonly called the IT infrastructure. The process of managing the many attributes that contribute to a stable, responsive IT infrastructure is known as systems management.
This book offers a historical perspective of the various disciplines of systems management, along with an in-depth technical treatment of each of them. The historical background explains the when and why of each discipline to enable a better understanding of its purpose and evolution. The technical treatment or process discussion of each discipline shows how to implement and manage each one effectively, regardless of the size or type of platform. For the first time, this book addresses systems management as it applies to mainframe data centers, midrange shops, client/server environments, and web-enabled systems alike.
The 12 disciplines of systems management are presented in the approximate order in which they became prevalent and integral to an infrastructure's operation. Obviously this prioritization will vary slightly from enterprise to enterprise, depending on the emphasis of applications running at a particular center.
This book is intended for IT professionals who are involved in designing, implementing, and managing parts or all of the infrastructure of an IT environment. An infrastructure usually consists of data and voice networks and communications, technical services, database administration, computer operations, and help desks. While the structure and composition of infrastructure groups may vary, the above represents a typical organization in a medium- to large-size IT department.
Most of the concepts presented here are based on experiences with infrastructure groups varying in size from 50 to 150 individuals, but the underlying principles described apply equally well to all group sizes. Smaller shops may have less need for implementing all systems management disciplines and should focus only on those that most closely apply to their particular environments.
The format and content of this book are based on a fundamental belief that people, process, and technology are the three key ingredients in any successful implementation of systems management. Three parts of this book are dedicated to these three key ingredients. There are primary and secondary audiences intended for each segment.
The intended audience for Part 2, "People," includes infrastructure managers, directors, and CIOs. For purposes of brevity and simplicity, this group will be referred to as managers.
Part 3, "Process," is especially intended for senior analysts, leads, senior systems administrators, and supervisors who are typically involved with designing and implementing systems management processes and procedures. This group will be called Leads.
Part 4, "Technology," is primarily intended for technical professionals such as systems programmers, database administrators, operations analysts, and systems administrators who are responsible for installing and maintaining systems management products. Once again, for purposes of brevity and simplicity, I will refer to this group as technicians.
Secondary audiences will benefit from the parts of the book that are outside their primary areas of interest. For example, people issues will be of interest to technicians for topics such as communication and will be important to leads for the emphasis on teamwork.
The efficiency and cost savings of process improvements will be of interest to managers, while the elimination of duplicate work should be of interest to technicians. Each chapter of the part on technology contains an introduction and a summary to facilitate time-saving skimming for managers. Leads will find these chapters cross-referenced to corresponding chapters in the process section.
This book may also be useful to instructors and students at computer trade schools, at community colleges, in continuing education courses, and in university extension classes offering any training or education on the understanding or management of an IT environment.
The term systems management as used in this book refers to the 12 specific functions of IT infrastructures that I have found to be the most prevalent and significant in relation to managing a world-class IT organization. As with virtually any business organization associated with American industry, few infrastructures are organized in exactly the same way. Some companies may include in their infrastructures more or less of the 12 functions that I describe in these chapters. Thus it is worth noting those related areas of the infrastructure that I chose not to include in this book.
I have not included asset management or release management. Asset management is primarily a financial and administrative function and is normally not an integral part of an IT infrastructure. While it is closely related to infrastructure management, particularly in the area of desktop hardware and software, most IT organizations view it as a procurement responsibility. In some companies, corporate procurement departments, which are outside of the IT organization, manage IT assets. Others have a separate procurement department inside of IT, but outside of the infrastructure, to manage IT assets.
Release management is essentially a development responsibility in the case of application software and a technical services responsibility in reference to system or support software. While technical services is clearly an integral part of any infrastructure, the technical details of how testing is performed on new operating system releases or on other control software, as well as how they are migrated, fall outside the scope of this book.
Similarly, I have not covered the infrastructure functions of systems, network, and database administration since any meaningful discussion of these important topics would require technical details that are beyond my intended focus. Elements of systems administration are touched upon in the chapters on availability and on performance and tuning. Some fundamentals of network administration are covered in the chapter on network management, and some of the basics of database administration are mentioned in the chapter on storage management.
Desktop support is usually an infrastructure activity, but I do not discuss it here due to the day-to-day details of hardware and software maintenance that go beyond the emphasis of process design and management. For similar reasons, help desk management is not included, although both of these topics are touched on in the chapter on problem management. Another more timely reason for excluding these two areas is that many companies are now outsourcing their desktop support and help desk functions.
Three areas of traditional computer operationsbatch scheduling, console operations, and output processingare not included because automation, distributed processing, and the use of the Internet have reduced their importance. Finally, the book does not include a discussion of voice networks because they are highly technical in nature.
This book is divided into four parts. Part 1 provides basic background on how and why the various systems management disciplines developed and evolved. It is informative reading for any IT professional desiring a basic understanding of systems management.
The remaining three parts address the issues of people, process, and technology. Part 2 discusses various people issues such as executive support, staffing, retention, organization, budgets, communication, customer service, supplier partnerships, and service level agreements. All IT professionals should read these chapters. While the emphasis is on traditional management topics, leads, technicians, and even desktop users should benefit from this enterprise-wide view of systems management.
Part 3 focuses on the process issues of systems management and consists of 12 chaptersone for each of the separate disciplines covered in this book. Each chapter defines what the discipline is, which technologies within the infrastructure are involved, and what types of technical tools are commonly used to manage it.
Technicians and leads should read all of these chapters thoroughly, with particular attention to the disciplines for which they are directly responsible. Managers should read the introduction and summary of each chapter to gain a basic understanding of systems management and then select those chapters that most apply to their enterprises for closer reading.
Part 4 describes how to use technology to develop and integrate robust, bulletproof processes to support any of the disciplines of systems management. Understanding how these processes integrate with each other is critical to the success of any systems management implementation. Applying the tried and true processes of traditional systems management to an open systems environment and to web-enabled applications is one of today's greatest challenges. These topics should be of particular interest to those involved with client/server systems and Internet applications.
Some of the techniques presented here are based on proven Baldrige National Quality Award (BNQA) methodologies. I became very involved with these methods and their practical applications while serving as an internal Baldrige examiner at a major aerospace company. While the emphasis on the BNQA has diminished a bit in recent years, the effectiveness of its process improvement techniques is without question.
Leads for any of the disciplines of systems management should read all of the chapters of Part 4. This will provide them with a sound basis for applying technology tools to process improvements and for communicating these improvements in detail to technicians and in summary form to managers. Technicians assigned responsibilities for either tactical or strategic disciplines should read those chapters applicable to their involvement. Managers should skim all these chapters to gain a good understanding of the important role of processes in managing a world-class infrastructure organization.
Since some chapters are intended to be skimmed by some readers to determine their applicability, I have prefaced each chapter with a short introduction. There is also a brief summary at the end of each chapter to capture its essential highlights. Real-life examples of techniques that either succeeded or failed in actual enterprises appear in many of the chapters.
The appendices contain a section answering some of the most frequently asked questions about systems management, a summary of the definitions of the 12 systems management processes, and a glossary of terms used in this book.
The terms process, function, and discipline are synonymous for the purposes of this booke.g., a systems management function of availability and the systems management discipline of security. Similarly, the terms infrastructure and systems management are used interchangeably when referring to the above three terms, as in the infrastructure process of availability being compared to the systems management process of security.