What about Financial Services SaaS offerings?
Whilst out visiting clients and prospects in the UK this week I was pleased to hear that hosted systems management offerings aren’t being ruled out of hand by the majority of financial services clients I talk to. Certainly for test, development, DR and QA functions many cautious, security concious organisations are finally investigating SaaS for systems management offerings. Cost savings and rapid time to deploy seem to be the main drivers. We look forward to posting details of our first financial services NetNow reference story on this site in the near future.
Lloyd and I were in a meeting with a prospect earlier this week where the topic of CMDBs came up. It really is the case that people working in large enterprises are almost scared of uttering the term Configuration Management Database, CMDB really is a 4 letter word (or acronym) in many circles. One of our long time customers put it well when he said that they call the CMDB the Scottish database, just as superstition and thoughts of impending doom prevent actors from saying the name of the play Macbeth and they instead call it the Scottish play, for this customer (with a good sense of humour) CMDB equals the Scottish database.
Happily for us, our alternative approach to a CMDB called Service Configuration Management (SCM) implements a flexible top down, service-at-a-time deployment methodology in contrast to the “boil the ocean” approach to configuration management that often requires the entire IT estate to be defined in a monolithic CMDB before moving on to the next steps in the service management value chain such as Service Level Agreement.
SCM offers a pragmatic approach to delivering on the original promise of the CMDB; the single view of all the configuration items and how they support business services and the ability to visualise dependencies and other relationships. We’ve seen some validation of our approach in ITIL v3 as SCM is more akin to a Configuration Management System (CMS) with import and federation capabilities, however as industry analyst Dennis Drogseth at Enterprise Management Associates said in his article for CIO Update, CMDB More Important than Ever in Lean Times, “the core requirements to define “trusted sources” and the need to commit to a consistent schema for representing CIs and CI attributes won’t go away.”
I’m pleased to report that the first in our ongoing series of short how to videos on YouTube are now available.
These videos are featuring members of the NetNow team running through the key elements of the service and how to configure and exploit its functionality. By providing a short overview the how to videos will appeal to people wanting to learn more about the NetNow service and how it can be configured to meet your own individual or organisational needs.
Videos will range from the basics right up to the most advanced level topics and are accompanied with a written instruction set conatining code snippets and additional tips, tricks and ideas. Enjoy!
Accessing the Video Resources
You can find the new video resources located at https://www.youtube.com/user/NetNowLtd. Links and instructions sets to accompany the video resources can be found in the tutorials section under the support menus at the NetNow.co website.
View infrastructure and application performance & usage
NetNow is teaming up with SecurActive (www.securactive.net) a leading vendor in the Network & Application performance monitoring space to deliver a single-pane-of-glass view of infrastructure and application performance & usage. The combined solution will allow you to listen to flows on strategic points of your network in order to measure the end-user Quality of Experience (QoE), as well as all network traffic and transactions undertaken. Our R&D team have just completed the integration effort and we’re in the package and test phase at the moment, keep an eye out for a demonstration dashboard at https://www.netnow.co/demo-centre/#all.
I must admit I was more than a little taken aback following two meetings in quick succession with senior IT managers at major financial services organisations, both meetings went along the lines of “based on previous conversations with you and your team I’m aware that SaaS is not seen as a strategic model for your organisation as you prefer to have complete control over the IT environment for data protection and security reasons…”, on both occasions it turned out that these companies have identified cost saving and time-to-market benefits associated with the uptake of SaaS offerings in the test and development areas. As long as no sensitive information is propagated to the hosted SaaS environments it seems that SaaS could be the way for these organisations to quickly commission test, development and even certain standby environments quickly and cost effectively moving forwards. I’m pleased to report NetNow is increasingly being seen as applicable to individual private users all the way up to global corporations and everything in between. This really has the feeling of something remarkable happening in corporate IT with regards to SaaS and PaaS uptake.
NetNow Rewards Points program
Our new rewards program is now up and running, it’s FREE and takes only a few seconds to enroll. You can start earning immediately by unlocking the achievements on the site. You will be able to spend your Karma points in the NetNow.co onlne store (opening Q1 2013).
We’re really excited about one of the initial NetNow applications; Power Monitoring and Management. This is a unique and innovative, comprehensive power management system, measuring server and application-level power consumption in continuous time without the requirement of any additional hardware. It operates in any common operating system, installs in hours, and delivers energy savings of up to 40%.
Sample power monitoring dashboard:
- Measures server down to application power consumption
- No additional hardware required
- Real-time, historical and predictive data
Case studies show up to 40% energy savings in data centre environments
‘Making ITSM work for your Organisation’, the first presentation of the day helped set the scene at this new itSMF event, designed for those seeking the right ITSM tools to support their service management operation. I found the day useful, gathering some understanding of the latest (mostly SaaS based) service desk/management tools available. As it was a free event, I’d say it was definitely worth the long drive down from Scotland. Having visited Old Trafford several times it was good to take a look at rivals Man City’s stadium, I can imagine match day is pretty atmospheric to say the least, the place is huge!
There were some familiar faces at the event including Alan Thompson from VocaLink and ex-Sheffield Hallam Uni consultant Vanessa Morgan (now a director at ASM Global). Both Alan and Vanessa were really interested in the power consumption monitoring for servers we can now offer from NetNow and Interlink Software.
Keeping abreast of the latest software developments is becoming increasingly difficult as users have less and less time available to explore the options, this event was quite well attended and highlighted to me that companies are still willing to send people out to these events rather than just research on the web.
We’re really excited about the first of our series of how-to video clips, our goal is to provide users of the NetNow service an informal, short, description of how to accomplish specific tasks. The first video clip we’re finalising as I write is how to create Show/Hide Buttons that show and hide widgets on a dashboard. We plan to continually add to the repository of how-to video clips starting with the basics and building up to intermediate and finally advanced use. Another key element to the how-to videos is the cross reference to the code Snippets (CSS/HTML/FreeMarker) that we are posting in the https://www.netnow.co/snippets/ area of the NetNow website and Tutorials section of the Blog area https://www.netnow.co/category/tutorials/. We want to help users of the NetNow service get up to speed quickly and easily, please let us know what you think of these new resources.
Sample code snippet
Dependency Mapping is often viewed from a purely IT configuration item (CI) perspective including racks, servers and such. We’ve been working with organisations that have been gaining great benefit from using our tool and specifically the drag node facility (shown in the graphic below) to map their key logical IT and business processes. One example is a financial services organisation that needed to track file transfers between their data centre and several of their customers. They wanted to see the end points, volume, status and speed of the file transfers graphically.
All well and good I hear you say, but doesn’t mapping all of these dependencies involve a massive manual overhead with staff creating these relationships using a graphical drag and drop tool? The short answer is no, we have a way to automatically (automagically :-)) read in your configuration information and dependencies from practically any machine readable source (files, database tables, etc) and create the graphical maps with no human intervention, we call this a data-driven approach and the great thing is as your source data changes our drag node dependency map changes too, staying up to date with no manual intervention.
Examples of the drag node depicting dependencies.