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Top 3 Lessons Learned at the Red Hat Summit

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If you don’t call them customers, you’re not doing your job!

Last week, I introduced dozens of Red Hat Summit attendees to Zenoss Service Dynamics.  The headline above? A direct quote from an IT Director when I asked him whether the right word was customers, tenants, services, or applications.

All our Red Hat conversations focused on the emerging Infrastructure Engineer role. Infrastructure engineers operate virtualization, server hardware, storage, and networking – the converged infrastructure that may someday be a private cloud but right now is the focus of new data center investment.

With this in mind, there are 3 predominant themes that were ever present this year at Red Hat Summit (and they all inevitably impact your customers).

Infrastructure engineers face two challenges.

  1. One is the unified device management/single pane of glass problem.
  2. The second is new, unifying customer and infrastructure operations.

Everyone I talked to is familiar with the need for unified device management.

When you need to debug an issue in a converged data center, you end up jumping from VMware vCenter to Cisco UCS Manager to NetApp OnCommand to a Cisco command line. Back and forth, correlating obscure configuration settings, trying to figure out the “as-running” environment and looking at KPIs and events in wildly different interfaces. It’s slow and it’s frustrating.

The Zenoss object database kicks butt in unified management. Your experience operating one device applies immediately to another device. We’ve been doing it for years and Zenoss is rock solid now. Everything an infrastructure engineer is responsible for is available –whether it’s a simple 16 port switch or the multiple chassis, blades, and fabric interconnects of a Cisco UCS installation.

Unified customer and infrastructure operations is the new problem.

Converged infrastructure is the right solution because it lets us assign the proper amount of resources to individual customers. We get the most out of shared components and can (in theory) quickly recover from issues by moving work from failed or overloaded components elsewhere in the infrastructure.

The problem? Figuring out who the customers are and keeping up with what infrastructure components are supporting each customer’s work. Customers used to buy specific servers for their applications, so when there was a server failure we knew who was affected. Many Zenoss customers used event transforms to add customer names to console events to help operations focus on customer issues. But that tactic just won’t work with shared infrastructure.

Zenoss services give the customer view back to operations. When there’s a performance or availability issue, operations teams see specific events for each customer service impacted by the event and get one-click cross-technology stack root cause analysis. You’ll know who’s affected and exactly how to fix them.

And Zenoss services aren’t just for customer services. By creating infrastructure services for the components of the converged infrastructure, IT operations benefits, too. We showed Summit attendees how you could quickly identify and correct customer issues – for example migrating a virtual machine to a new host – and then assign infrastructure component issues to a hands-on engineer.

Quick customer issue identification and resolution in a shared, converged infrastructure. There’s only one way to get that combination – Zenoss Service Dynamics!

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