Friday, November 11

Thoughts on 'ITIL IT Service Management Essentials'

By Dipendra Bantawa.

In October 2005 I attended the two day workshop on “ITIL IT Service Management Essentials (Certification Course)” conducted by Pink Elephant at the “IT Infrastructure Management Conference” in Orlando, Florida. The course is divided into two days with an exam at the end of the second day. It introduces ITIL terminology and concepts and prepares students for the “Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management” exam, the pre-requisite for other ITIL certifications.

While I passed this exam on my first attempt, the teacher warned us that there is a not insignificant failure rate. The most honest tip I can offer for passing this exam is to put aside your career experiences and familiar terminologies and instead immerse yourself with ITIL concepts and terminology--unless, of course, you have participated in an ITIL-based project and are already well versed in the framework. I would also advise you to read some official ITIL materials such as the “itSMF Pocket Guide” in advance of the training.

After a thorough introduction to ITIL definitions, the focus of the workship becomes ITIL’s five operational processes and five tactical processes. The course invites attendees to imagine how they might utilize ITIL to fill gaps in or reshape their current IT processes, and our breaks were marked by lively exchanges on the differences between ITIL and other approaches.

Many organizations around the globe have adopted and implemented ITIL processes successfully, and I highly recommend this workshop as a good starting point. For general information on ITIL activities and certification, check out the IT Service Management Forum. I also recommend The ITIL Community Forum as a peer resource.

Monday, October 10


By Dipendra Bantawa

Interop 2005, the infrastructure trade show, came to New York in the fall. I will not cover each and every exhibitor, or every featured presentation. Instead I will focus on some products exhibited at the show that have good potential for being integrated with current Systems Management products.

Avaya ExpertNet VoIP Assessment Tool is an example of a product for extending Systems Management deployments. Other vendors, such as NetIQ, also have VoIP assessment tools assess the readiness of a network to support voice and video traffic. The reason I liked the product is that there is huge need for pre-SM deployment assessment.

NetQoS uses what it calls SuperAgent to monitor end-to-end performance passively without deploying any desktop or server agents. SuperAgent separates delays due to applications, network and server, enabling more rapid troubleshooting. This product almost acts like “SI”, the performance monitoring product from Netuitive. It generates baselines and compares the metrics that it collects and automatically tries to investigate the cause of the problem, as it gathers data, after it detects a problem by capturing filtered packet data, SNMP polling and traceroutes.

Network Instruments nTAPs provide monitoring devices with access to all network traffic without disrupting or adding any more network traffic. In simple terms, it makes a copy of the traffic that flows in and out that can be fed to any analysis tool or monitoring system. This out of band monitoring approach can be helpful when the network/infrastructure is already severely suffering as the monitoring system will only add more traffic and use already over utilized resources.

We at JMACINC are always interested in serious forums such as Interop that offer a broad range of innovations for optimizing and extending the leading Systems Management products.

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Thursday, February 3

JFFNMS: Another Half-baked Idea

I couldn't help noticing the offer for a "FREE Monitoring Tool Inside" on the cover of this week's issue of "Windows IT Pro" magazine, a Penton publication. Unfortunately, a cursory glance at the contents showed me that this FREE solution was more of a curiosity than a really useful tool.

Why a "curiosity"? Because it is assembled from a number of open systems tools, and that's a good thing.

What would make it a "really useful tool"? The ability to function as an agent on the server on a 24x7 basis. What this tool offers, as do so many other partial solutions, is a central poller facility rather than a locally deployed agent. I know many IT shops that have developed their own monitoring tools to run as an agent service simply by conversion of their programs into a Windows service. Without the ability to run on the local agent, you can't alert when there are network problems, and you can't remediate the problems until the network is back up.

If you're a small shop seriously looking to implement a monitoring solution with as few pesos as possible, consider JFFNMS only as a curiosity.

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