BMC Software is taking advantage of containers and Kubernetes to drive a long-overdue convergence of IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM).
At its BMC Exchange event this week, BMC demonstrated how customers can automate IT management by mixing and matching ITSM and ITOM modules as they best see fit. Historically, ITSM has been focused on end user support, while IT operations teams managed back-end infrastructure. BMC is now trying to bring those two worlds together by making it easier to integrate containerized modules across BMC Helix Platform, an IT orchestration engine running on top of Kubernetes.
Nayaki Nayyar, president, Digital Service & Operations Management at BMC, says the company first moved down this path by containerizing all the modules that made up the Remedy service desk platform. Subsequently, BMC containerized its ITOps platform, which now makes it possible to automate a change to the IT environment in response to a service request or event.
Of course, BMC could have achieved that same goal by relying on a separate integration framework to connect separate monolithic applications. However, a microservices-based approach allows ITSM and ITOps modules to be integrated at a deep level, which Nayyar says eliminates the need to build and support a separate integration overlay. It also makes it easier for BMC to add new functionality, such as machine learning algorithms and chatbots, to each module, she adds.
BMC is also taking advantage of Kubernetes to shift its business model. BMC Helix is offered as a set of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that BMC will make available via its own cloud or on cloud platforms from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and, soon, IBM Cloud, Nayyar says.
As ITSM and ITOM converge, BMC is also moving to integrate BMC Helix platforms with various continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms. As DevOps teams employ those platforms to build innovative applications, they can invoke BMC IT operations modules to provision IT infrastructure resources.
In the near future, conversational interfaces will make it possible to leverage a natural language engine to verbally request access to IT infrastructure resources. Better still from a DevOps perspective, Nayyar says machine learning algorithms should be able to automate all Level One support issues.
Nayyar says the overarching goal is to make IT operations more agile and responsive by leveraging containers and machine learning algorithms to automate processes. It may take a while to achieve that goal, but Nayyar says convergence of ITSM and ITOM is likely to happen sooner than most IT professionals might expect. IT leaders not only are looking for a way to become more agile, but they also want to be able to acquire ITSM and ITOM platforms from a single vendor. Otherwise, the cost of integrating ITSM and ITOM becomes a cost the IT organization bears versus being a capability that gets delivered out of the box.
Regardless of the path pursued, however, the rise of containers and Kubernetes means IT management will never be the same again.