Make the Impossible Dream a Reality: Easily Create Service Models with a Streamlined Development and Deployment Process


Zenoss Service Dynamics Service Impact (Service Impact) provides a powerful tool for monitoring how infrastructure failures or degradations impact overall service delivery. Service Impact performs near real-time dependency tracking to maintain performance and availability state information for services. When new events occur, Service Impact knows the service context of the event, and automatically performs a root cause analysis so you can quickly diagnose and triage problems — often even before end users notice or call to complain.

Service Impact enables you to quickly create rich service models and then displays interactive service model graphs, similar to the following example:
Image of Zenoss Service Dynamics Service Impact Service Model

However, if you’ve tried to work with service models before, you know that creating and maintaining service models can be a challenge in dynamic enterprise datacenters.

In this article, we'll first explore some of the challenges with creating service models. Then we’ll show you how you can use Service Impact to greatly simplify service model creation, as well as how you can use Service Impact to streamline service model development and deployment when you are rolling out new applications or services in your environment.

The Service Model Challenge

Manually creating a service model means looking at all of the underlying infrastructure — applications, supporting devices, and device components — that make up the service. This is typically a manual, time-consuming process. In addition, in dynamic enterprise datacenter environments, the underlying infrastructure elements in the service model can change frequently, resulting in mismatches between service models and the current operational reality. This means that you then have to go back in and manually reconcile service models each time the underlying infrastructure changes, which is a repetitive, time-consuming process.

In the face of these challenges, many IT Operations teams feel like service-level monitoring is an unrealizable dream. IT Operations teams continue to hear chatter from IT senior management and line-of-business owners that they need to take a more service-oriented approach to monitoring. However, if you're like most IT Operations professionals, you feel that creating and deploying service models simply takes too much time and effort, and the whole idea of service models is simply a dream — with little place in your current IT Operations reality.

Here at Zenoss, we know all too well the pain and challenges that IT Operations teams face around IT service monitoring and management. However, with Service Impact, we can help you meet your challenges around service-level monitoring.

Service Impact was designed from the ground up to take into account the challenges related to service-level IT infrastructure monitoring. Service Impact provides a real-time, “Live-Sync” service model that automatically builds and maintains service dependency mappings — even when the underlying components that support the service change.

In addition, with the latest release of Service Impact, version 4.2.6 (see Latest Zenoss Product Release Addresses Application Downtime; Enhancements Ensure Health of Newly Deployed Applications for more details), you now have a way to ensure that when you deploy new applications or IT services into production, you also have service-level IT infrastructure monitoring configured for the new application or service from day one, with no gaps between when the new application or service is rolled out and when it is included as a part of your standard IT operations monitoring processes.

Simplified Service Model Creation with Service Impact

One of the biggest barriers to implementing service models is the amount of time it takes to create them. Service Impact reduces the amount of time it takes to define service models by simplifying the way the service models are defined and maintained. When you build out a service model in Service Impact, all you need to focus on is the very top level of your service model. Zenoss then uses the intelligence it gathers about the underlying components to build out the remainder of the service model, including the relationships between devices and device components, automatically for you.

For example, let’s assume you have a web store front that you need to build out an IT service model for. In this scenario, you would use Service Impact to build a real-time service model around the application server, web server, VMs, and database that support your web store front service. Of course, each of these devices has its own hierarchy of components that individually support the device, and collectively support the delivery of the service. However, with Zenoss, you don’t have to manually build out each and every device component and subcomponent of the service model. You simply define the top-level devices that make up the service, and then Service Impact, working together with Resource Manager and the appropriate ZenPacks plugins for the device type, automatically discovers and builds out the rest of the device component model for you. It really is that easy!

So, unlike most other service-model driven monitoring products on the market, Service Impact doesn’t need to deal with static, individual details for each device components. Because Service Impact has the intelligence to dynamically discover and model the underlying components that support each device, building a real-time service model is less complex – and quicker to implement.

Streamlined Service Model Development and Deployment

Of course, while it is important to make it easy to create service models, it is also important to get them rolled out quickly into production. With Service Impact, not only is it easy to create service models — with Service Impact 4.2.6, it is now easier than ever before to get your service models efficiently deployed out into production.

If you are like most Dev Ops and IT Operations teams we talk to, you need a way to create and define your service model in a development environment. Then, once you feel comfortable with the service model definition, you want to promote it to a test environment for further validation. Only when your service model has been thoroughly tested and validated are you ready to promote it into production.

Now available in Service Impact 4.2.6 is the ability to carry or “promote” your real-time service model from development through testing into production. Of course, because there is typically a different set of infrastructure in development, test, and production environments, service impact models don’t typically transfer intact. However, whereas previously you had to rebuild the service model manually at every stage to take into account the differences in underlying infrastructure, now Service Impact has a built-in workflow that allows you to streamline and substantially automate the process you use to reconcile service models with the underlying infrastructure components as you promote service models from development through testing to production. The following image shows this process.
Image of chart that shows Zenoss Service Dynamics service model promotion workflow

With Service Impact, reconciliation happens in a sandbox environment – so it is unable to affect the environment until you are ready to commit the model changes. Reconciliation in Service Impact also automates much of the mapping of the imported service model to the underlying devices and components in the new environment. Service Impact uses its built-in intelligence to reconcile as many of its underlying components as possible. Any components Service Impact cannot make a logical association for are called out as “unreconciled”, and you can then manually map the resources in the new environment to the service model – or choose to ignore those differences. You can also iteratively retry reconciliation until you have everything working just as you like it. Once everything has been mapped to your liking, you “commit” the model and it moves out of sandbox mode, starts immediately collecting events, and begins providing the expected service impact and root cause analysis functionality you expect from Service Impact.

Future reconciliations of new versions of the model can reuse the same manual mapping decisions made before. This means synchronizing models becomes easier more automated, because you only have to adjust for those new model extensions that either cannot be automatically reconciled and/or don’t have a prior manual mapping decision. This dramatically reduces the time necessary to deploy and maintain accurate service impact monitoring for services throughout their deployment life cycles.

Learn More

For more information about the capabilities available in Service Impact, check out the following resources:

New to Zenoss Service Dynamics?

Like It? Share It!

If you liked this article, share the word about how the new, streamlined service development and deployment process available in Service Impact 4.2.6 can help IT Operations and Dev Ops teams easily create and deploy service models on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or Facebook. Also, don’t forget to follow our blog to get the latest news and information from Zenoss!




Enter your email address in the box below to subscribe to our blog.

Zenoss Cloud Product Overview: Intelligent Application & Service Monitoring
Analyst Report
451 Research: New Monitoring Needs Are Compounding Challenges Related to Tool Sprawl

Enabling IT to Move at the Speed of Business

Zenoss is built for modern IT infrastructures. Let's discuss how we can work together.

Schedule a Demo

Want to see us in action? Schedule a demo today.