When we started this blog, CMDBs were all the rage. ITIL was at its peak. Practically every single customer asked us about our “CMDB strategy”.
From the start we had the vision that passing event, performance, and business context data through the already overloaded CMDB was a terrible mistake.
First, it was not a “best practice” as opposed to the rest of ITIL initiatives. Back then the number of existing companies around the world that had finished such a CMDB was zero. And it remains zero.
Second, software vendors just relabeled their inventory products as CMDBs, resulting in nice repositories for assets, financial, and change management, but a real mess when used to represent dependencies. If you are going to use these dependencies for something important such as calculating uptime status, hey, you need computable dependencies, not esoteric user-defined relations that make no sense.
Third, the whole process was broken. The CMDB got populated by auto-discovery tools (this was the easy part) that produced thousands of CIs. Then people felt good, thinking they were half done: “now it is just a matter of connecting them”. No wonder nobody could.
We always proposed an RTSM (Real Time Service Model), a lightweight, easy to change dependency model as the basis of service delivery, performance and availability management – even before Gartner named it so. We had real projects, real customers and real success with it. What we used was the best practice, not ITIL’s.
Then there was the Agile movement, DevOps, and the rise of APM tools, which basically restore some sanity by moving people away from the Almighty CMDB.
But we are not done yet. By elevating the application at the top of the monitoring efforts you are not really aligned with the business, it is just another fantasy. The real thing to be modeled is not the application: the actual business services and processes are. And security and compliance initiatives also require business context.
The problem? There was not a straightforward way to do it. Some people use dashboards created with Business Intelligence tools, but frustration kicks in very rapidly as these products were not created with that goal in mind. Some tried with costly do-it-all BSM monitoring frameworks that just scratched the surface of business modeling. Some tried with BPM tools. Some did not care at all.
Which brings us to why we created Alignia.
Alignia was crafted to bring total visibility to any IT-supported business process and online service, in real time, starting where APM tools stop. Alignia is a silo killer. Alignia makes lives easier. Alignia aligns.
Alignia lets you control and manage IT exactly the way Business wants you to do it. Alignia at its heart is a generator of service models: fill in the blanks of some forms, and you have what matters most for your services and processes represented in minutes. Dashboards, models, reports, screen to screen navigation, root-cause indication, impact analysis, uptime and SLA calculations, Continual Service Improvement data… everything gets done with a few clicks.
Alignia has built-in processes and methodology. Alignia forces outside-in thinking because the starting points are business elements, not an array of network routers. And it makes you think beyond the IT controlled environment, letting you add cloud services, partner applications, interfaces, data integrity checks and everything that matters to ensure great customer experience.
Alignia is agile. You can change the model at any time by adding or removing service elements, and the whole model gets regenerated. So, you can start with a Minimum Viable Definition of your services or processes and refine it as you go.
And yes, I know, you have to feed this model somehow. So we used a “Bring-Your-Own-Monitoring approach”. We made it very easy to integrate whatever you have, including APM products. Just place Alignia on top, add some water, and stir.
Alignia will radically change all your conversations with the Business. No more need to put lipstick on SLA reports. No more angry executives pointing that critical business functions are not working for the most strategic customer while your team swear that everything is OK. No more technicians trying to fix the five dollar problem before the one million dollar one.
Last but not least, we see the IT guys leading this initiative being commended and even promoted after a couple of quick wins. No, this is not the famous reality distortion field (also known as “marketing”): if you think of it, it is quite logical. These guys are showing that they care for the business side. How many were promoted after buying these costly mega-frameworks that generated zero business value? Not many, I’m afraid.
And the best part of Alignia? No CMDB is required.
To demonstrate all of this, we created this short film.
I hope you’ll enjoy it.