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BPM can support data center side of cloud operations

Ben Farrell
August 29, 2012

Business process management software is not so much a solution that fits within a few niches of operations as it is a way for businesses to tackle almost any type of data analysis-related problem. The technology is able to sift through vast quantities of data, give that information context and ensure it is presented to workers in such a way that they can use it to foster operational improvement.

Whether the technology is used to help oil and gas companies handle supply chains over hundreds of miles of pipelines, allow enterprise-class corporations to deal with the influx of unstructured data from social media, enable efficient smart grid operations or support the cloud, BPM is a key tool. The need for BPM to handle any type of data-related task is especially clear in the data center sector, where many cloud vendors are working to more expansively monitor their operations.

According to a recent TechTarget report, a growing number of cloud providers are turning to traditional infrastructure monitoring tools to identify how their facilities are functioning and improve service level agreement management.

Dealing with SLAs in the cloud is incredibly challenging because data can move easily between physical servers, even to machines in different facilities, and services can be disrupted by a variety of infrastructure issues. As a result, any component or equipment failure can lead to a service disruption or SLA-related problems. TechTarget explained that cloud vendors are working to combat this issue by collecting more data about their operations and using that knowledge to manage facilities more effectively.

This process can lead to a massive influx of information into corporate databases, overwhelming IT and creating many analysis and management challenges. Monitoring devices can track performance in server, network, storage, power, cooling and other data center systems. With potentially hundreds of thousands of devices in a data center that can affect SLAs, large quantities of information are gathered on a real-time basis. Having an effective BPM solution in place can help cloud providers identify the information that matters to them and avoid having to spend excess time on manual tasks. Essentially, BPM helps the IT staff within the data center operate with the same level of efficiency and flexibility as the cloud infrastructure, improving management and enabling companies to better comply to SLA requirements.