4 Managing Application Services: A Progressive Approach
Just a few short years ago, business ran eight or twelve-hour days, five days a week.
IT managers could perform maintenance, test new environments, and change system
configurations during the off hours. But the new Net-driven economy has virtually
eliminated this. Application services, particularly those accessible via the Web, are
used continuously across time zones and geographies. Because these application
services are business critical, keeping them continuously available takes precedence
over any other IT operation, which makes it difficult to take any system offline for
even the smallest amount of time.
To assure near 24x7 uptime, many enterprises moved to a multitiered architecture
with redundant or replicated systems at every layer. This structure enables some
systems to be offline while maintaining a moderate level of service delivery. Again,
the result is a trade-off between maintaining service levels and increasing the
complexity and costs of managing the infrastructure.
The third and most difficult challenge arising from the Net Effect is the
resulting complexity of the massively scaled, multitiered infrastructure.
Environments can easily grow to hundreds of individual servers, all requiring
monitoring, tracking, maintenance, and upgrading for each instance of the operating
environment and every application service. While an individual server and
application service is simple to manage, a thousand systems are not, even if they are
configured identically. The simplest tasks, such as applying an operating system
patch or modifying a database, become management nightmares.
One leading brokerage firm recently reported making nearly 3000 changes to their
Web infrastructure every month. At these levels, even the best practices and
disciplined techniques of the traditional data center fall short. Numerous changes
strain the staff s ability to complete accurate logging, testing, and tracking
procedures, and add incalculable risks to infrastructure operations.
Decreasing risk depends on reducing the complexity of the infrastructure. This is
where Sun's approach to Service Management shines. Sun's solutions enable IT
organizations to manage resources more efficiently and provide high levels of