Insight

A server is a server…until you know what’s on it

Gain business benefits from knowing the relationship between your technology infrastructure and business applications

David Goodwin

David Goodwin

Specialist Director, Advisory, Digital Lighthouse, KPMG US

+1 646-327-8319

Organizations that establish a clear picture of how their IT infrastructure relates to their business applications can make tremendous gains. Doing so enables IT to manage technology in line with business needs.

The benefits span many areas, including:

  • ITSM – Performing proactive and reactive impact analysis in incident, problem, and change
  • ITFM – Calculating total cost of ownership per business application
  • Business continuity/disaster recovery (DR) – Validating that the application architecture matches the desired DR rating
  • Technology lifecycle management – Prioritizing patching and hardware refreshes by impact or risk
  • Software asset management – Aligning software licenses with servers whether or not they are serving a production role

How it works

The configuration management database (CMDB) has been heralded as IT’s reference data source to mapping how technology delivers business value. However, capturing relationships between the IT infrastructure and business applications often remains elusive. By incorporating application mapping techniques, a company can decipher which business applications and data are on each server. Such knowledge permits servers to be prioritized and differentiated in their treatment, investment, support, and priority for uptime, upgrades, patching, and security protection.

Basically, a server is a server is a server. It’s knowing what’s on the server and treating it accordingly that makes the difference.

Take inventory
To incorporate application mapping into your organization, IT must first take inventory of its infrastructure and business applications.

  • Infrastructure inventory is populated through server management or discovery tools such as ServiceNow. When doing this, servers and databases are typically first priority.
  • Business application inventory is typically built manually and governed by an application portfolio management process of high importance and what is most often missed during discovery is the relationship of business applications to their corresponding environments or deployments. When using the ServiceNow CMDB, the relationship can be established using the Application Service class to represent the information. These records are typically manually maintained, although some basic automation can be used to take care of the typical use cases. For example, a business rule used to create a standard set of development, test, and production application service records can relate them back to the parent business application.

Once these two inventories are established, your organization is ready to connect the two. To learn more about KPMG and ServiceNow, click here.

In my next post, I’ll describe some of the methods that can be used to connect the infrastructure to business applications.

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