Introducing IBM's new Service Management and Cloud-native offering: IBM Cloud App Management
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So, what has IBM Cloud App Management to offer? With a strong focus on fast deployment times, scalability, IBM Tivoli Monitoring (ITM), and Application Performance Management (APM) integration, Cloud App Management now positions itself at the forefront of the market as a truly scalable cloud native offering. Let’s look at the key features and functionalities.
Cloud native implementation
IBM Cloud App Management was designed and built from the ground up as a cloud native, microservices based management solution. You might wonder why that is important! It is important because it allows customer to take advantage of capabilities that are inherent to cloud native solutions.
IBM Cloud App Management supports highly dynamic environments that are constantly changing and can handle modern applications and infrastructures. It also supports managing applications that run in a multi-cloud environment; Applications may run in an on-premises environment, private or public cloud environment, or any combination of environments.
It provides out of the box resiliency. For those not familiar with Cloud Native, think “High Availability”. It provides a horizontally scalable architecture with auto-scaling characteristics. Architecturally, the architecture allows for easy updates of individual microservices with backwards compatibility, and the ability for IBM to deliver updates faster with zero downtime.
Multi-tenancy provides value to both service providers and to enterprises that require data segregation between lines of business or geolocations. By leveraging a multi-tenant cloud app management solution, customers can reduce their total cost of ownership while maintaining data segregation, by sharing a single cloud app management server deployment.
IBM Cloud Private platform
IBM Cloud App Management is built on the IBM Cloud Private platform that offers an enterprise ready cloud including all the product licensing in the offering. While IBM Cloud App Management is a single application, IBM Cloud Private allows customer to take advantage of a cloud that offers scalability, resiliency, security, and the ability to easily move workloads between different on-premises and public clouds.
IBM Cloud Private leverages Docker and Kubernetes to achieve scalability and resiliency when developing and deploying applications. As part of the solution, users will be entitled to use IBM Cloud Private as their Enterprise ready kubernetes implementation to run IBM Cloud App Management.
The IBM Cloud Private platform offers all of these added benefits:
Easy and fast deployment in under an hour
Before you deploy Cloud App Management, you are provided with a few steps to plan your deployment to assess your hardware resources, storage needs, deployment size, and agent environment. Following that, you can deploy Cloud App management into an IBM Cloud Private environment in under 30 minutes. The deployment process is automated and uses a script to deploy the server. Once the server is deployed, you complete some post-installation steps that have you up and running in under an hour.
ITM and APM integration and upgrade
When you to look at this offering in terms of an upgrade from ITM, you see just how easy it is to make that upgrade. You are provided with a very straight-forward upgrade path with a clear roadmap to follow to deploy your ITM agents. An agent patch is provided to configure the V6 agents for server connection. Then, after the V6 agents are configured to connect to the Cloud App Management server, you can reconfigure them to connect these agents to connect to Tivoli Enterprise Monitoring Server again.
Integration with ITM and APM agents happens very quickly. If you have ITM agents, or IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) agents connecting to the Tivoli Enterprise Monitoring Server or Cloud APM V8.1.4 agents connecting to the Cloud APM server you can download the agent image to connect to one instance of the Cloud App Management server. Then, you configure these agents to view monitoring data instantly on the Cloud App Management console.
Integration with Netcool/OMNIbus event management systems
You are provided with an in-built integration option for you to start sending incident details to your on-premise OMNIbus/Netcool environment in seconds. Once you have an existing Netcool/OMNIbus deployment and the Netcool/OMNIbus Probe for Message Bus installed you can configure OMNIbus as an outgoing event source very quickly.
Application and Infrastructure resource monitoring
By creating thresholds and threshold policies, you can create conditions around events that you would like to monitor.
The UI is designed to make searching, sorting, and locating resources very easy. No matter how many resources you have to monitor, it is very easy and quick to track each resource across your environment.
The resources are sorted by status and displayed in a list. From here, open the Resources dashboard to inspect the resource metrics or view the thresholds that are associated with the resource to check if they have been breached.
In looking at the resource dashboard for the Linux OS instance, for example, (UNIX OS and Windows OS dashboards are also available) you can view the metrics plotted for the system characteristics. Dashboard sections with multiple metric views are synchronized. It’s possible to correlate sets of metrics as you view them side by side and dashboards with multiple metric views provide you with deep resource monitoring.
If you’re interested in timeline metrics you can view performance statistics for threshold breaches across a period of time. By using the time slider, you can clearly see the specific point in time when the issue arose. Drag the time slider to update the metrics that are shown in the dashboard dynamically.
Expand the Custom metrics to view additional metrics, such as Pages Paged Out Per Second, for example.
Incidents, Events, users, and groups
Cloud App Management can receive events from various monitoring sources, either on premises or in the cloud. Events indicate that something has happened on an application, service, or another monitored object.
Related events are correlated into an incident based on attribute values that match. This means that events, such as alerts or notifications from monitoring tools are considered to be part of the same incident if they have the same information set in a specific attribute.
Events are deduplicated, meaning that if the same event occurs multiple times, not all are listed in the incident but they are correlated so that the count for the same event is updated to show how many times it has occurred. By default, the event severity, summary, state, and type fields are updated on deduplication to always have the latest values.
The Details tab displays the incident information with a direct link to the Resources dashboard for that incident. You can view resource and event management system information.
On the Timeline tab, you can clearly see the progress that an incident has made over time. This helps you to track the current priority assigned to the incident along with the user/group assigned to the incident. Also, any comments that are added to an incident are visible here.
As you add users to Cloud App Management, you can then organize them into groups to reflect the structure of your organization and send notifications to multiple contacts at once. For example, you might have UNIX support groups, database administrators, payroll application experts, and customer support teams. This facilitates a lot of collaboration to resolve incidents.
Agile delivery model
The agile delivery model offers built in flexibility as part of the iterative design and development process. Requirements are prioritized according to sprints and iterations promoting fast delivery of software. Agile methodology focuses on change so that software can be built, tested, and adapted as part of the development cycle.
IBM Enterprise Design thinking experience
The new Cloud App Management UI is built on a solid foundation of IBM design thinking principles and it provides new users with a unique Getting Started introduction to launch into the offering to become familiar with it very quickly. You are directed to content for agent setup, user/group creation for notification purposes, policy creation, and incident viewing so you can resolve issues very quickly.
Once you are familiar with the main components of the offering, the Administration tab provides a comprehensive launch page for you to branch out further and to explore more to configure thresholds, create policies, configure integrations or add a new user or group to Cloud App Management.
And even more to come?
IBM intends to offer continuous updates to this initial release, which will build out the capabilities for clients to modernize their application and infrastructure workloads. We intend to continue providing unique value for both development and operations teams to improve collaboration and effectiveness when resolving problems.
Author: Carmel Burgess