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N°32  |  December   2008
As part of its Bio Data Center Initiative, Bull announces Bull System Manager, an integrated, easy to use solution to manage IT infrastructures from a single control point

Bull announced Bull System Manager, a software suite designed to help system administrators to manage operations in homogeneous or heterogeneous IT environments and to bring them to the highest efficiency levels.

Bull system manager

A key contribution to Bull Bio Data Center™ Initiative
Bull System Manager contributes to Bull’s Bio Data Center initiative by helping manage heterogeneous server environments from one single control point. It strengthens data center infrastructures, by ensuring that SLAs are fully met, using structured and highly automated processes.
The Bio Data Center focuses on:

  • The implementation of high-quality operational processes
  • The adoption of an efficient topology through the right balance of virtualization and consolidation
  • The deployment of power-efficient technologies, using the latest advances in server and storage design.

A seamless integration based on Open Source Software components
This integration of Open Source software components – such as Nagios, enhanced, tested and supported by Bull – enables Bull System Manager (BSM) to provide automated administration tasks, a centralized control point, a virtualization-ready solution, a powerful and scalable management solution, and an optimized total cost of ownership.
BSM simplifies the management of Bull Escala, NovaScale or Blade Series Servers as well as Bull StoreWay storage systems, and enhances the systems availability. It is based on a 3-tier architecture and can be easily integrated in enterprise large management platforms such as: Bull OpenMaster, HP OpenView, CA Unicenter and IBM Tivoli through Common Information Model (CIM) and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

Automated administration tasks
BSM comes with the value notion of roles. Administrators can specify parameters, organize and manage computers in arbitrary groups, creating views either depending on organizational or technical parameters. Operators will quickly be notified when alerts occur and they may then walk through the different views to gather further details, to rapidly diagnose and solve problems.

A centralized control point
Bull System Manager provides secured access to remote systems and controls the use and performance of critical elements such as processors, disks and memory regardless of the operating system. BSM cuts down operational costs and maximizes uptime, independently of the fact that these applications are installed on the same platform.

A virtualization-ready solution
It offers to operators in one tool and in the same hierarchical tree a synthetic view of virtual machine statuses independently of the technology used to create them. BSM automatically discovers virtual machines and attaches them to the physical server they belong to.

A powerful and scalable management solution
The monitoring functions of Bull System Manager provide an interface that gives a synthetic view of the hardware condition. They detect anomalies and notify them to the concerned entities. BSM receives automatically all events generated by operating systems and hardware management systems. The administration functions are used to configure target hosts and execute actions on these hosts. With BSM, the administrator is able to view and track the hardware configuration, even at every partition level.

Bull expertise centers and BTS instrumental in BSM design and support
Bull’s centers of expertise are pivotal to this launch, given their active role in this software development.
Bull’s customers will be able to draw on the full range of expertise available in these centers to define, deploy, implement and monitor their complex infrastructures. The centers’ service offerings range from architecture definition and scoping of application environments through to Proofs of Concept (POC) and energy audits.
In addition, through Bull Tele-Services (BTS), Bull System Manager provides advanced remote management and 24/24 7/7 service.

An optimized total cost of ownership
Due to its openness combined with an easy integration and deployment flexibility, Bull System Manager can manage a larger number of servers running AIX®, Linux® or Windows® while lowering the cost per managed system and driving down system management costs. Its architecture enables remote management thus improving the management flexibility.

Governance of IT project portfolios: now more strategic than ever

More demanding requirements, shorter timescales, greater technological complexity… effective management of IT projects is at the top of the agenda for Information Systems Departments. Indeed, industry watchers point the finger at high failure rates: 30% of IT projects overshoot their budgets by between 10% and 20%; one in four projects ends up costing twice what was originally envisaged; and only 29% of projects are completed on time and to budget, with the expected levels of service quality.

A number of reasons are given for this: wrong initial estimations, extending the functional scope of the project, problems relating to interdependencies or conflicts between several projects running in parallel... Overall, 39% of IT Departments say they do not have a clear picture of the project portfolios, which means it is extremely hard to anticipate potential issues and problems.

Building a ‘portfolio’ of IT projects aims to ensure that funding for IT investments are in synch with objectives, and reconcile the expectations and needs of the IT Department’s various ‘customers’. At a time when financial and human resources are often limited, it is absolutely essential to put in place a rigorous selection process for IT investments, which ensures that the organization maximizes its return on investment (ROI). This involves managing and controlling all projects in such a way that it is always possible to decide what needs to be done, on the basis of the value of the projects involved, the risks, priorities and resources available at that moment. In schematic terms, the project portfolio is nothing more than a simple tool for comparison. It must involve dedicated processes for arbitration between projects and people with clearly defined decision-making responsibilities. Finally, it should be fully aligned with the organization’s various strategic, financial and operational objectives.

Bull Management, the company’s dedicated consulting and integration business unit, has developed significant expertise in this area and offers a structured approach that can be adapted to the needs of each organization. This approach is based around the PPMTM software component from IT4 Control, a specialist Project Portfolio Management solution.

[Legends: Value creation
1 – Put together an inventory of projects
2 – Scoping: defining the scope, challenges and points for arbitration
3 – Validation and weighting of project evaluation criteria
4 – Evaluation of projects and acceptance of the model by project managers
5 – Analysis of results, adjustment of criteria, arbitration and communication of decisions]

The approach that Bull offers allows the evaluation criteria for a project to be determined according to:

  • Contribution to strategic business value.
  • Contribution to strategic IT value.
  • Project economic value measures.
  • Project risk measures.
  • Measures related to the failure of the project.

In parallel, three essential elements help to ensure that the set objectives are met:

  • Identifying horizontal actions that cross between projects. Every application has its own life cycle. But once projects have been identified, categorized and evaluated, it is worth defining actions that are common to more than one of these projects.
  • Ensuring the functional coherence of the information system, something that is often obscured in the way projects are run, but is one of the key factors to ensure its continued existence.
  • Adapting to the culture and organization of the enterprise, to ensure the effectiveness and survival of project portfolio governance.

Examples of best practice in PPM

  • Defining consistent, objective and measurable criteria.
  • Involving Senior Management as early as possible in the definition of strategic objectives and arbitration processes.
  • Encouraging an iterative approach to fine-tuning and weighting evaluation mechanisms, involving business management in the process.
  • Aligning the arbitration and governance process to the context of the individual organization.
  • Putting in place a tool to ensure the continuation of the portfolio management approach, drawing on proven processes.


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