As IT organizations seek a more strategic role in businesses, data center administrators are on the front lines. They’re tasked with doing more with less and having to cope with the considerations that come with big data: the influx of big data sources, an increasing number of integration points, and added complexity. To help with the massive amount of management and monitoring that data center administrators are expected to do, SAP IT Operations Analytics offers a holistic view across the entire data center landscape. And as a native SAP HANA application, it provides fast day-to-day maintenance and support operations so administrators can spend more time strategically helping the business.
To boost the effectiveness of SAP IT Operations Analytics, it now integrates with Lenovo appliances to extend the holistic view in the form of Lenovo XClarity Administrator, giving customers the ability to monitor their Lenovo server landscape as well as everything else — all in a single tool.
Customizable Content Package
XClarity Administrator traditionally serves as an information source for a product or solution in the management of a Lenovo stack. By integrating with SAP IT Operations Analytics, the solution can also tap into other data sources, logs, or events from network devices or SAP applications, and then merge these divergent data sources for a holistic, analytical front end for the data center and IT operations.
In parallel with the integration of SAP IT Operations Analytics with XClarity Administrator, SAP and Lenovo teamed up to roll out a content package as an accelerator for customers to derive instant value from the solution. The content package contains queries that are specific to Lenovo hardware events, such as event IDs and categories. It can also interpret audit events to analyze what functions are being leveraged by users. A content package template comprises three artifacts: Data connector, dashboards, and alerts.
1. Data Connector
A built-in rule allows the interpretation of XClarity Administrator messages, and carves them into semantic attributes that can be understood by SAP IT Operations Analytics. This allows for analyses drawing on individual attributes as opposed to working with a raw string of text, which again allows for clustering, time series forecasting, and so on.
These are built to standard use cases or standard queries that a Lenovo hardware administrator or data center administrator would typically be interested in. Dashboards give an easy-to-consume, real-time visualization of standard key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics for IT operators and Lenovo hardware administrators. Dashboards show users the value of the events from XClarity Administrator by displaying valuable information for analysis.
The system sends automated notifications of noteworthy situations in general, or for a specific issue. With automated alerts, IT operators and administrators can be immediately notified about situations that require their attention or action — such as high temperature readings or a large number of severe events in a short period of time — rather than having to monitor real-time dashboards 24/7. Alerts and notifications are the first step from purely manual to automated data center and IT operations.
Data center administrators are expected to do more with less and cope with the considerations that come with big data.
The content package template was developed from the customer’s point of view to address typical scenarios, and tailored to the end user or IT operator with built-in analytics. It is meant as a facilitator to help companies generate instant value before they customize the artifacts according to their own environments. And because SAP IT Operations Analytics and XClarity Administrator merge into a single information point for all relevant data, content package customization does not require the resources typical of most custom development projects. Rather, end users can easily build unique dashboards or alerts without assistance from developers or consultants.
A Single Point for Analysis
XClarity Administrator manages all types of data center hardware in a normalized way, meaning that SAP IT Operations Analytics doesn’t need to understand different formats for events, servers, storage, or switches. It’s all the same format, allowing for standard syslog forwarding out of XClarity Administrator, which is made available to SAP IT Operations Analytics.
The content package artifacts interpret that information so administrators can understand intuitively the types of critical errors that are happening in their data center, analyze the potential for security issues, and determine an appropriate level of service resources. Imagine a denial-of-service attack taking place. With the proper monitoring framework, the information is categorized and presented to administrators according to the company’s display preference. It can recognize the attack based on common characteristics and take action before it snowballs into a significant event that harms the business.
The integration of SAP IT Operations Analytics with XClarity Administrator helps IT organizations recognize and act against threats quickly. With SAP HANA underpinning SAP IT Operations Analytics, IT organizations get a granular look at real-time scenarios, with the ability to analyze patterns from the servers throughout the entire data stack, and take action. Since identifying and monitoring is accomplished via one integrated set of technologies, administrators can instead focus on solving problems rather than on compiling and sorting through information.
Beyond monitoring, SAP IT Operations Analytics and XClarity Administrator integration can also be used for provisioning — in the event of updating firmware, deploying a new operating system, or pushing configuration patterns to the different systems, for example — with an audit event that surfaces for each provisioning use case that indicates when provisioning took place and when the event was sent to SAP IT Operations Analytics as part of the interpretation.
Bringing multiple data sources into a single viewpoint provides administrators with a flexible analytic front end where they can make sense of big data.
Taming Big Data
Bringing multiple data sources into a single viewpoint provides administrators with a flexible analytic front end where they can make sense of big data. Today’s data center administrators must work with an increasing number of events and log messages, and there is a clear demand for a tool that provides structure and analytical capabilities to big data. That is what SAP IT Operations Analytics and XClarity Administrator provide, without the need for manual intervention.
Looking ahead, plans include extending the current content package with additional artifacts for more robust predictive capabilities by leveraging the existing analytical power of SAP HANA and SAP IT Operations Analytics. These additional artifacts will be based on the history of existing events in XClarity Administrator with the intent of enabling data center administrators to react before issues occur. By correlating events with similar events that affect multiple IT organizations, artifacts will be able to discover and weed out the root cause of an issue. For more information, visit www.lenovo.com/sap/hana and http://www.sap.com/itoa.