San Francisco - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo — Come to think of it, why isn't there a manager of managers solution called superMOM? It seems like such a natural name for a product that horizontally cuts across all of an IT infrastructure's management technologies (SNMP, Windows event logs, security appliance APIs, etc.) to uber-manage an organization's information technology. Well, if there was such a such a superMOM, then maybe it's Integrien's Alive.
Integrien is an exhibitor here at Gartner's Symposium and ITxpo, and I had a chance to catch up with the company's CEO and co-founder Al Eisaian (the interview is available as an MP3 that can be downloaded or, if you’re already subscribed to ZDNet’s IT Matters series of audio podcasts, it will show up on your system or MP3 player automatically. See ZDNet’s podcasts: How to tune in).
When I hear Eisaian make his pitch for Alive, what I'm really hearing is a pitch for the direction that Computer Associates promised to take Unicenter years ago. Today, one reason that MOMs can exist is that most managable products -- systems, routers, switches, databases, instantiations of J2EE, etc. -- have APIs through which a lot of diagnostic data can be extracted by the right product. The question then becomes: what will be done with that data by the so-called "right product?" Anybody can access an API. But, can you take the data that's coming from multiple corners of the IT universe and correlate in such a way that provides a unique picture of the IT ecosystem -- one that provides both IT and business managers with the sort of dashboard that allows them to spot trouble before it happens and minimize the impact of any single ailing component?
In describing Alive, Eisaian told me:
We are able to predict and prevent problems before they cause cascading downstream problems. We follow all the key parameters within each of the silos. As things start to go out of whack within one silo, we are able to say, "Hey, this ssystem is misbheaving and if you let it go on long enough, it will impact your business service in a negative fashion."
One of Alive's more unique features is that, unlike many other management products, no threshold setting required. Managers don't have to say, for example, that this many disk sector read errors must occur before an alert is sent out. Instead, using a technology that Eisaian calls "dynamic thresholding tecnnology," Alive baselines all the systems (that it is keeping an eye on) in their normal state, and then figures out for itself when some part of your ecosystem is operating so far outside of its normal range that there could be a problem. The product extracts its diagnostic information from APIs such as the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), ODBC, and JMX for tapping the diagnostic information from Java Virtual Machines.
At one point in the interview, Eisaian was speaking so fondly of IT, I couldn't help but ask if IT really matters. He responded:
What is really happening in business that we see is that those companies that are embracing emerging technologies that allow them to provide competitive advantage, allow them to provide predictable business service and transaction service to their end customers, are winning. And the ones still stuck in the 90s are trying to run their operations with products and solutions that were great for the time, but they haven't kept up with this complex environment, are falling down.
Are you an IT professional looking to preserve your long-term prospects for employment. According to Eisaian, you're pigeon-holing yourself if you stay too much of a specialist. Instead, you should be developing more of a global view. Said Esaian in the interview:
Those classes of IT professionals that are upgrading their view, that are upgrading their skillsets to match up with what the business is requiring, they're excelling. They're getting the promotions. They're getting the jobs of the future. Those who are sort of stuck in the silos are having issues.
Could Alive be just a MOM, or is it a superMOM? What products are you using to deliver superMOM capability? Click on on the comments link below and share your thoughts with your fellow ZDNet readers.