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Navigating the Cloud with Novell Business Service Management

Navigating the Cloud with Novell Business Service Management

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When you're in the cloud—literally, that is: flying an airplane—you need instant, real-time data to keep safe and on-course. Instrument-rated pilots are able to "fly blind" because they have a core set of gauges that show altitude, attitude, air speed, vertical speed and direction. When the aircraft enters the cloud, this information is critical to keeping on course.

As companies plan to move services to a cloud computing infrastructure, the same principles apply. In a cloud environment, you're essentially flying blind.

If a service exhibits poor performance or even goes down, you can't just look at the server it's running on to see what has gone wrong. Whether you're relying on a service provider's hosted infrastructure or your company's own internal cloud, there might be dozens or hundreds of virtual machines migrating between different physical resources as workload requirements evolve.

Your goal is to keep all these processes on course, even though you can't see directly where they are at any given time or where they're headed. With cloud computing, the ability to fly by instruments becomes essential.

Vendors have developed a wide variety of monitoring and management tools to show how the physical and virtual components that support your services are performing, so you can make course corrections as necessary. Unfortunately, all these tools have their separate purposes, data stores, formats and interfaces. You have access to a lot of data in various places, but without the ability to analyze data relationships for real-time decision making, you're still just flying by the seat of your pants.

Taking Off with Novell Business Service Management

Like a well designed instrument panel, Novell Business Service Management (BSM) consolidates and organizes data from all your physical and virtual systems. Whether you lease virtualized infrastructure from a service provider or run your own virtual data center, BSM offers instant analysis to help you navigate the cloud. Let's step through a typical IT "flight" to see how BSM works to help you visualize in-the-cloud processes that would otherwise be obscured behind multiple layers of disparate technology.

First, let's file a flight plan. Using Novell Business Service Management Dashboard, here is a view of our goal: an application that's up and running efficiently in the cloud. (See Figure 1.)

The BSM Dashboard is displaying an order-fulfillment application for an online retailer we'll call There are multiple data centers distributed across the U.S. The green color-coding shows that all the data centers are operating normally.

What's normal? It all depends on the parameters you have defined, based on any combination of data from any of the available feeds. That can mean anything from hardware performance on the technical side, to service levels on the business side, to website responsiveness and cart checkout rates on the customer side.

The orange highlighting shows a data center that is going off course. By clicking on it, you can drill down to see which service is affected. (See Figure 2.)

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The billing service is showing an availability problem, and the server responsible for the problem is highlighted in orange. You need to address the problem before it goes red. Clicking on the orange server, you can drill down to see the root cause, including alarms that have been generated. (See Figure 3.)

The problem is a server that has exceeded its defined performance thresholds. And you can drill down even further to see the individual alarms that have been generated, find out who owns the problem, see the trouble ticket, follow the progress of the solution and much more.

In addition to drilling down to the root cause, you can also zoom out for a view of the virtual and physical technology supporting the troubled service, as well as the downstream services that are being affected. (See Figure 4.)

The problem we've been looking at is a technical malfunction. But by feeding business metrics and other data sources into BSM Dashboard, you gain the ability to trace other kinds of problems as well. For example, you might trace the root cause to a business problem, such as an increase in online traffic due to an approaching holiday. In that case, you might simply assign more virtual hosts to the service. Whether the source of the problem is technical or tactical, Novell Business Service Management is an invaluable tool for prioritizing issues and speeding their remediation.

Looking Behind the Instrument Panel

Novell Business Service Management is the only solution that enables single-pane-of-glass analysis by combining information ranging from hardware performance, to business metrics, to IT policies. Let's take a look behind the instrument panel to see how it works.


  • Figure 1

    BSM Dashboard displays a top-level view of the order fulfillment application running at’s distributed data center. The green color-coding indicates normal operations. Orange shows a data center that’s beginning to experience problems.

  • Figure 2

    This view shows that the billing service is experiencing an availability problem. On the left side, you can see the specific server at the source of the problem.

  • Figure 3

    From the first alert of an availability problem at one of’s data centers, it takes just a few clicks to pinpoint the root cause of the problem.

  • Figure 4

    This view shows the performance problem in relationship with other servers and virtual machines in the service architecture. The box to the left shows details of the downstream elements that are being impacted by the slowdown.

  • Figure 5

    The three-tier architecture of Novell Business Service Management includes layers for data integration, intelligent modeling, and analysis and visualization.

  • Figure 6

    This view shows the configuration of adapters. A few of the available adapters are shown on the left, and the properties available for use with a specific adapter are shown on the right.

  • Figure 7

    Here, we’re creating an algorithm to set the thresholds that trigger an alert.

  • Figure 8

    This Business Service Management Dashboard is designed to let customers monitor SLA compliance.

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