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Novell on Feb. 7 put a blueprint forward on its vision for helping IT implement automated management spanning the desktop to the data center.

Novell’s Desktop-to-Data Center Management Blueprint, based on ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) methodologies, is intended to describe for Novell customers and partners how to manage complex IT infrastructures to maximize use of resources and lower the cost of managing those complex environments, according to Richard Whitehead, director of product marketing for systems resource management at Novell, in Provo, Utah.

“Complexity of the IT environment will be with us a long time and management costs continue to skyrocket. The blueprint will help organizations map out their systems and processes, and create an environment that allows them to maximize and reduce the cost of managing that environment,” he said.

Unlike other data center management initiatives, the blueprint is unique in its inclusion of the desktop. “Your data center is the heart of your business, but so are the desktops and devices end users use to access the data center. If one or the other isn’t working, you have a problem,” said Whitehead.

The blueprint describes how to marry ITIL best practices with existing or new management technologies, including Novell’s relatively new ZENworks Orchestrator. It relies on open standards such as Simple SNMP, CIM (Common Information Model) and SMASH (Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware) and WS-Management (Web Services for Management) to automate how disparate IT components work together and how different vendor management tools can interoperate to streamline service delivery.

Read more here about ZENworks Orchestrator.

The blueprint describes how to map systems management technologies to ITIL processes such as configuration management, help desk processes and other services. It builds on several layers of functions and processes, including at the lowest layer resources such as devices and operating systems, a relationship mapping layer, and an alignment layer.

“You need that relationship with the resources so that when you go to use a certain application you know how it gets delivered, when should it be delivered, [and it takes into consideration] if you’re inside or outside the firewall,” said Whitehead.

Beyond the alignment layer the blueprint outlines a business process management or workflow layer to match up the right privileges and devices with access to applications. Finally, the top layer describes the user interface, whether it’s a management console or command line script.

In supporting heterogeneous data center environments, Novell’s blueprint recognizes that companies typically use a mix of different vendors’ management tools and won’t discard them for a single-vendor offering.

“We tried very hard to not say, ‘This is Novell ZENworks.’ We feel it’s much bigger than that. If followed by other vendors, it will allow for cross-vendor cooperation. Yes, it is about ZENworks and the vision we’ll follow, but by doing so we’ll be able to much more tightly integrate with other technologies,” he said.

The blueprint also includes elements such as service delivery, service support, a FCMDB (Federated Configuration Management Database, software asset management, discovery, security and identity, as well as audit and compliance.

Whether that means Novell intends to deliver its own CMDB, which would compete with existing CMDBs from BMC Software and IBM’s Tivoli unit, is an open question. “We have not made any specific announcement, but we believe a federated CMDB is a needed component,” said Whitehead.

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