Throughout the last decade, Moviri supported more than 150 organizations in the successful adoption of BMC Capacity Optimization, the well-known top-class enterprise capacity management suite, enabling companies to continuously align IT capacity with business demand and efficiently manage an evolving modern data center.
We have distilled the learnings from this substantial experience in BCO implementations and exposure to enterprises’ capacity management issues in 6 simple recommendations. Of course every implementation is different and we invite you to take a close look and find ways to adapt to your situation.
1. Begin with the end in mind.
This probably holds true for any IT Service Management initiative (or for any initiative in life in general, someone would say). How does it translate to BCO implementation? Design and implement your solution based on the Capacity Management capabilities you are looking to achieve and when you want to achieve them. Having always a clear understanding of the ultimate goals of the implementation, and the related timing, helps in taking the best decisions from a long-term perspective. Always give priority to activities which will provide the right value at the right time to your stakeholders, even if this means departing from your initial plan. As long as you ultimately produce valuable capacity deliverables to save big money on IT infrastructure and its operations, this may be easier than you think.
Heard on the field: “Yes, there’s no Capacity Plan quite ready yet, but you can login into BCO with your Windows Domain credentials!”
2. Listen to your users.
Capacity managers and analysts will be the final users of the solution. Often they are involved in the tool selection and they are part, or even leaders, of the implementation project. In large organizations however the case may be that each step of the adoption is managed by separate dedicated teams. What needs to be avoided is any disconnect between implementers and targets of the implementation, i.e. the final users! Involve capacity managers and analysts in your solution design and prioritization of activities, ask feedback and suggestion as the implementation moves forward. This way the solution handover will be seamless and effective.
Heard on the field: “I am not sure I understand how this works. I guess I’ll stick to my Excel spreadsheets for a while.”
3. Adopt stepwise.
As you may know, BCO is champion in integration capabilities throughout the enterprise. This aligns with BCO’s holistic approach to Capacity Management, but it does not have to make you greedy of capacity data coming from the various supported domains (physical servers, virtual platforms, network, storage…). Prioritize the areas you want to tackle first. Your first implementation perimeter can either include one or some of the technological domains – horizontal approach – or specific services/applications – vertical approach – e.g. your e-commerce web site. Produce hard results for the selected areas and then iterate the process to others. You will benefit from the early learnings on how the entire Capacity Management cycle supported by BCO fits in your organization and fine tune accordingly in following iterations.
Heard on the field: “…we were told that doing it all at one, the ‘Big-Bang approach’, is hard to pull off in most cases!”
4. Build what you can maintain.
Ensure that when BCO is rolled out into production, the organization is capable to keep it steadily effective. There are two sides to this recommendation. First, you need to acquire the appropriate skills to operate the tool, i.e. monitor on a daily basis, troubleshoot if issues arise, maintain/upgrade when required. You can either do it yourself with adequate training and knowledge-transfer, or externally, leveraging help from a qualified services provider. Second, you need to check and possibly update your Change Management process, so that BCO always has the current picture of your IT Services catalog and IT Infrastructure. For example, if you are adopting BCO-EE agents (also known as BPA, or Perform Agents) for in-depth workload characterization, you will need to include agent installation steps in server deployment procedure, for servers requiring that level of analysis.
Heard from the field: “…so that was what all those daily email alerts were all about!”
5. A purpose for each environment.
As a general best practice, many organizations define staging policies for any adopted application. Such policies require applications to be installed in several environments (development, quality assurance..), each with its own declared purpose, before being released into “production” for real usage. First, you have to assess whether installing BCO in one environment really enables to accomplish that environment purpose. For example, it may be that a certain integration cannot be tested in the development environment because a certain data source is only available in production. Second, you should consider that BCO has powerful built-in isolation and sandboxing mechanisms that can be leveraged for testing and getting rid of test data when done. Based on these considerations (and provided that organization policies are permissive in this regard) a lot of effort can be saved reducing the number of environments BCO is deployed into.
Heard on the field: “Yes, I tested it in development, but there was much less data there and everything seemed fine.. next time I’ll go directly into production.”
6. Innovate, not replicate.
Quite often BCO is selected over existing tools, either in-house developed or acquired from other vendors. In those cases, the Capacity Management groups certainly got used over time to certain features and reports, a portion of which were possibly extended and customized specifically for/by them. Even if the organization may acknowledge that BCO was chosen to overcome existing limitations, those features and reports may have biased the way capacity analysts look at or think of IT capacity issues. Experienced BCO implementers avoid the straight replication of existing features. The best way is to identify the original requirements and capture the limitations of existing artifacts; then address both in a fresh and innovative way, embracing BCO’s distinctive approach.
Heard on the field: “I used to have a smiling face icon close to each server with no issues, you’re saying it cannot be added to this report, can it?”
So, if you are about to start your BCO journey, make sure to take into consideration all these aspects. If you already are a BCO customer you can still benefit by assessing how the six rules relate to your adoption path. In both cases Moviri would love to hear your experience and opinion.