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MOF, ITIL and System Center Operations Manager 2007

When a organization pass the stage from an IT department that is just a bunch of guys and to a business focused unit providing IT solutions for their business, then they will need some kind of  framework and best practices.  In general, frameworks for IT is all about managing your IT services to the same high level of quality you expect from the rest of your business processes. In this post I will write about two well known frameworks, ITIL and MOF, and also give some examples how Operations Manager 2007 provide the organization with tools for those frameworks.

IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
ITIL is a compile of best practices from companies around the globe. ITIL describe in general how to structure work and organization to deliver IT services in a stabile and effective way.  There are eight disciplines with ITIL:

The IT Service Management sets

  • Service Delivery
  • Service Support

Other operational guidance

  • ICT Infrastructure Management
  • Security Management
  • The Business Perspective
  • Application Management
  • Software Asset Management

To assist with the implementation of ITIL practices a further book was published providing guidance on implementation (mainly of Service Management):

  • Planning to Implement Service Management

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF)
Many companies have accepted ITIL and then modify it to its own framework, for example IBM, HP and Microsoft. Some companies add new components and some merge it with already existing framework.  Microsoft Operations Framework is built upon ITIL. MOF does the work of adapting ITIL with specific guidelines for using Microsoft products and technologies.

The MOF model includes the following parts

  • Changing (where new service solutions, technologies, systems, applications, hardware and processes are introduced)
  • Operating (performing day to day tasks effective)
  • Supporting (resolution for incidents, problems and investigation)
  • Optimizing (minimizing costs and optimizing performance, capacity and availability in delivering IT services for the organization)

System Center Operations Manager 2007
With the four areas above in the mind, what can Operations Manager provide us with and help use work with ITIL and MOF?

Changing – When new products and technologies are introduced you should make sure they can be monitored in Operations Manager; if there is no management pack from the vendor you can build your own. You can also use reports and performance view to plan you new system and how it will work together with the rest of systems. 

Operating – All day to day tasks can be initiated from the Operations console. Tasks are built in every management pack, but you can also build your own. If you have a daily task where you manually check if X = Y or Z and then you do something. Why don’t let Operations Manger look for you and perform that task? You can do that as a response on an alert or with a script.

Supporting – This is what operations manager is about, monitoring. From Operations Manager you can interpret and act on information or problems when it occurs. Operations Manager also includes links to both a company knowledgebase and to Microsoft product knowledge. This will help you to minimize time taken until the incident are resolved. Operations Manager support role based monitoring and security. This will make it easier when setting up notification and console scope for different teams within you organization. Operations Manager is designed as a model based health monitoring service. A object can be a low-level singel CPU but it can also be the entire array of devices and services that comprise a complete supply chain system.

Optimizing – Operations Manager can monitor performance and also generate reports to help you find bottlenecks and also plan new purchases. Every management pack includes a number of reports. Operations Manager can also help you plan maintenance to minimize unnecessary downtime. A exemple of function for this is distributed applications where you can setup all dependences within your IT environment. 

During System Center suite rollout we will see more of model-base management, ITIL, MOF and Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), all technologies that help businesses enhance the dynamic capability of its people, process, and IT infrastructure.