This is the third in a series taken from Chapters Three, Twelve, and Appendix B in CMDB Systems: Making Change Work in the Age of Cloud and Agile. It is not meant as a substitute in any way for the book, but should provide you with a good beginning point for thinking about the technology selection process.
Here is a suggested Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) checklist summary, addressing key areas of product differentiation:
There has been a lot of focus on deployability across the ADDM market. In talking to EMA, most vendors indicated 0.5-1 FTE for initial setup supporting a single application with an average of 1-1.5 FTEs for expanding ADDM support for 15 applications.
2. Agent or Agentless
One of the key tradeoffs for ADDM is the choice of agent-based discovery, agentless discovery, or a mix of both. Some solutions will offer a choice, but many will be primarily agent-based or agentless. Areas of consideration include bandwidth utilization, ease of deployment, versatile access to public and private cloud, as well as areas where credentials can be a challenge.
ADDM investments tend to be directed at mid-tier and larger enterprise or service provider environments where complexity and scope are natural challenges. As a result, most vendor solutions tend to scale well, with CI counts that range from less than 50,000 to more than 10 million.
4. Functional Power and Outreach
One testament to the strength of the ADDM vendors surveyed by EMA is that most of them can discover more than 50 third-party applications out of the box, and the great majority can discover more than 100 third-party applications without customization. Support for custom or in-house-developed applications varies significantly by vendor, and if this is a priority, it is something you should seriously seek to evaluate in a proof of concept.
Frequency of updates is also improving with nearly three-quarters of those EMA recently surveyed supporting near real-time updates and 100% able to support run-time changes based on policy-triggered updates, such as those from vMotion occurrences.
6. Domain breadth
Domain breadth is also key as ADDM support for any core use case can profit from enriched insights into domains.
Three Deployment Perspectives on ADDM Values and Benefits
To wrap up, and in the spirit of our book, CMDB Systems: Making Change Work in the Age of Cloud and Agile, I'd like to share four quotes highlighting ADDM's value and importance, from monitoring across the application lifecycle, one for asset management optimization, and one stressing ADDM as a key differentiator.
"We went with three copies of our vendor's ADDM tool and tuned it to three different environments — one for workstation discovery, one for monitoring the data center and our applications in financial management, and one for our pre-production, application testing environment."
"In terms of asset management, we were pretty disconnected — we had incomplete views and no way to prioritize impacts. Now, with application dependency we can see how everything's connected and we can prioritize how to optimize our infrastructure assets."
"We started with a list of about 20 different companies. It turned out that application dependency mapping became the killer criterion. A lot of companies fell off because of that."
The next blog in this series will examine analytics, automation, visualization and other technologies associated with CMDB/CMS deployments.
Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).