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IT Management in the Cloud, via Tivoli and Zenoss

April 30, 2010


Head, M.R.; Sailer, A.; Shaikh, H.; Viswanathan, M.; , “Taking IT Management Services to a Cloud,” Cloud Computing, 2009. CLOUD ’09. IEEE International Conference on , vol., no., pp.175-182, 21-25 Sept. 2009

The study above describes a “cloud” method for IT Management as a service. IT Management can be thought of as watching and cataloging the up/down status of your servers, databases, email services, etc. The authors describe a product by IBM Tivoli that uses a public web page to discover a businesses internal servers and services, and catalog them for further tracking. Discovery is the act of going out and figuring out what your resources are, what they are doing, and what subcomponents they have. These researchers have used a version of the open source project “nmap” and wove it into a java applet so that they can send it across the web and have it run locally on the customers machine. This discovers all of their devices and resources, and it does it all without installing something permanent on the customer site.

My Take:

I work for a company, Zenoss, that is in this exact same business niche. I can sniff that this paper and idea is a little bit of hype, but it is also noteworthy and useful.  They’re claim that this method would find all resources is likely over imagined. You have to know your internal network and be at a machine that has access to all resources that you want to discover for this to work. Many of their claims are stretched and would only work in unrealistic scenarios.

It is noteworthy, however, because of their use of discovering and keeping all of this IT management data out on the cloud (Internet). This would work well for small and medium businesses. At Zenoss we cater to large and enterprise businesses as well, and because of the scale and security and latency issues, this might not work for them. Many smaller customers though, might benefit from having their resources kept out on the cloud and the back-end application that allows this, to be managed and hosted by someone that the customer pays to do this, instead of paying a specialist in their company to do it.

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