Micro Focus Bets on Containers to Transform IT Management

Micro Focus has extended an effort to transform IT management using Docker containers and Kubernetes clusters to make IT management software available as microservices that can easily be deployed anywhere.

Roy Ritthaler, vice president of product marketing for IT Operations Management at Micro Focus, says the IT Operations Management (ITOM) Platform provides a foundation of shared microservices spanning analytics, orchestration and ChatOps collaboration. Micro Focus has also announced the availability of Network Operations Management and Data Protection microservices based on the ITOM platform, in addition to updating four existing offerings.

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Updated offerings include Service Automation Management, a containerized application that now includes an Apple iPhone mobile application extension and support for a multitenant console; Hybrid Cloud Management (HCM), which now supports PlateSpin cloud migration tools; Operations Bridge analytics software, which now can access Application Performance Management data; and Data Center Automation, which has been integrated with IT automation software from Puppet.

Built on the Micro Focus Container Deployment Foundation, each reusable microservice exposes its own set of RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs), says Ritthaler. Other foundational elements include Micro Focus IDOL, an artificial intelligence platform for unstructured data analytics, and the Vertica Analytics Platform, to analyze data in near real time using a columnar database. The foundational elements of ITOM were part of technologies originally developed by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), which merged its software operations with Micro Focus last year.

The shift to a microservices architecture enables faster installation of IT management software that, over time, becomes much easier to upgrade. Instead of patching each application individually, new functionality is added via incorporating additional containers and replacing existing ones, says Ritthaler.

That approach effectively modernizes IT management software in keeping with best DevOps practices, adds Ritthaler. Containerized applications make it much easier for IT organizations to dynamically construct workflows that are tied into continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) platforms, he says, adding REST APIs make it easier for an ecosystem of third-party applications to emerge around the ITOM platform.

Ritthaler notes the rise of DevOps, along with cloud computing, is transforming how IT needs to be managed. IT organizations want the flexibility to deploy IT management applications in the cloud or on-premises as circumstances warrant. At the same time, IT management teams want whatever new management applications they deploy to be backward-compatible with previous investments, he adds.

Most IT organizations are on an extended journey toward making that transition. Ritthaler estimates that only about 20 percent of IT organizations are significantly far along the path to making the transition to DevOps.

It may take a while for IT management platforms to transition to DevOps. Upgrades to IT management platforms in the enterprise typically don’t occur overnight. Most enterprise IT organizations recognize they want to give developers more control over the application environment. But the degree of control to be provided is often a subject of furious debate.

In the meantime, IT management vendors have seen the writing on the wall. There’s a race now underway to transform IT management software into a series of microservices that can be attached more granularly to specific application workloads wherever they happen to running at any given time.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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