Last week, I posted news about a survey on IT Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, which found a high level of correlation between success at SOA and commitment to ITIL. ITIL is a standardized approach – and series of documents -- that are used to aid the implementation of a framework for IT Service Management. This customizable framework defines how ITSM is applied within an organization, covering processes such as service desk management, incident management, problem management, configuration management, change management, and release management.
Al Zollar, general manager of IBM Tivoli, brings this correlation down to earth and agrees that there is a strong link between ITIL and SOA. In fact, IT service management is part of SOA, he says. Last week, at the SHARE IBM user group conference in Baltimore, I had the opportunity to sit down with Zollar to talk about SOA as well as Tivoli’s latest management initiatives. Tivoli had announced a series of new tools designed to manage federated identity, diagnose SOA issues between systems, and schedule workloads.
In many ways, the emerging IT service management approach can be considered a subset of SOA, Zollar explains. “Service oriented architecture is an architecture that allows you to loosely couple capabilities that can be described as reusable services to support a business process,” he says.
Processes such as availability management, change management or release management “are just business processes that are particular to IT,” Zollar continues. “We now use this service-oriented architecture to link the business processes associated with IT, with the technology components that make up the IT infrastructure to an integrated platform that includes a configuration management database, an enterprise service bus, and a process orchestration layer. So you can think of IT service management as another use case or usage scenario for SOA.”
Zollar also talked about the mainframes and SOA. While many industry watchers think of mainframes as the ultimate “legacy” boxes, SOA may be turning this perception on its head, he said. While Tivoli provides management software to all platforms, from Windows to Linux to Unix, Zollar says mainframes hold great promise as the underpinning of SOA platforms.