ITSM Reference Architectures

As part of the council’s mission, we have been leading the development of Reference Architectures to give Clients a rapid view on the positioning and architecture of the ITSM solution. Rather than documenting a single, holistic reference architecture we have identified key entry points towards ITSM. These entry points are based on client demand, but also the technical strategy within the portfolio.

Each of these reference architectures start with a consumable Architecture Overview. The overview shows the ITSM capabilities in context and convey in a single picture the key elements and aspect of the entry point.

The next level down are Whitepapers that further detail the reference architecture. The whitepapers show the business value for the given entrypoints and show characteristic use cases based on real-world scenarios. We then map these use cases to the reference architecture and then map capabilities to products and offerings. The whitepaper further includes the implementation methodology: where to start, and in which sequence to add things. Our goal was to make the whitepaper consumable to allow a quick read and who our point of view.

As the third element, the team has started working on a detailed and prescriptive Deployment Reference Architecture. This will be the lowest abstraction level and contains specific areas on how to build and operate the solution. It will contain aspects such as System Context, Components, Personas, Use Cases, Architecture Decisions, Resiliency, and so on.

In todays rapidly changing world, time is frequently a bigger driver than perfection. Therefore, we didn’t want to wait until all elements of the reference architecture are finalized. And quite frankly, there is no such thing as a final architecture in a dynamic environment like information technology. We rather want to share components of the architecture as it evolves.


We have identified the following six key entry points towards a modern ITSM solution:

  • IT Service Management
  • Hybrid Management
  • DevOps for Service Management
  • IBM Middleware Management
  • Service Management for Communication and Service Provider
  • Analytics in Service Management

IT Service Management

In today’s complex environments clients are challenged with the need to maximize existing on-premises assets while utilizing the Cloud for speed and innovation. With IBM IT Service Management clients can build, run, and manage applications, IT, and assets running either on-premises, in the cloud, or across both (hybrid). Collaboration is enabled across Development and Operations to automate business and IT processes, to achieve performance insights with analytics and to optimize inventory.

ITSM solutions help IT Operations teams to effectively manage increasingly complex, hybrid environments and accelerate Cloud services delivery. These solutions deliver advanced automation, performance management and orchestration capabilities.  IBM has provided thought leadership to improve the ‘state of the art’ in IT Service Management for the past 30 years and continues to do so, whilst effectively delivering solutions and successfully managing client environments.

Link to the Reference Architecture:

Hybrid Management

Clients in most industries are rapidly moving to models where their applications are hosted in a mixture of On-premise physical infrastructure, and Cloud Infrastructure (public and private, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service etc.).

Traditional Systems of Records need to be integrated with the newer Systems of Engagements, enabled by Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, and Social. Application components placed in these environments will change over time according to the dynamic needs of the business.

The era of Cloud requires digital engagement, rapid delivery of client facing applications, and new consumption models with focus on business outcomes and end user experience. Monitoring and analytics are no longer an option but an assumed requirement.

Clients need the ability to manage such hybrid applications, and potentially even a hybrid management solution itself. Management solutions should enable their needs and not limit them!

Link to the Reference Architecture:

ITSM for DevOps

Supporting the DevOps life-cycle is a key component of ITSM.  From providing developers with existing application(s) performance information to the change management process to deploy an application into production and monitoring of it.

The ITSM integration provides information, development support, instrumentation and capabilities to deploy the application into the environment along with operational rules

The integration of Endpoint Manager. Control Desk, Application Performance Monitoring and Netcool Operations Insight provides a full end-to-end life-cycle ITSM solution to support DevOps

Link to the Reference Architecture:

IBM Middleware Management

Today’s dynamic, on demand business depends on an array of complex applications. These are composite applications, meaning that they are deployed as partitioned business logic and data that span Security Servers, Web servers, J2EE application servers, integration middleware and mainframe systems including CICS and IMS. Traditional silo focus tools that monitor individual systems are not equipped to manage and diagnose composite application performance and availability problems nor true end user experience.

IBM Application Performance Management helps you to view the health of web applications and all servers. You gain in-depth diagnostic information for specific application requests to identify  when a problem begins to manifest as well as the root cause of problems. Now you can resolve performance issues faster (possible before your client realized there is  a problem), reduce downtime costs and improve customer satisfaction.

IBM Automation products automate repetitive tasks, reducing costs while improving quality and consistency.

Service Management for Communications and Service Providers

Around the world, Service Providers are answering the call from data-hungry consumers and upgrading their networks.  They face challenges from managing, multi-vendor, legacy and next generation networks. It’s now far less clear if a network problem will actually affect service, and it’s harder to tell where the problem is actually occurring.

Outages in these networks often result in large number of events from many devices on the network

Netcool Operations Insight (NOI)  can help, you can:  1. Understand and  gain control of service health 2. Avoid connectivity issues, manage network performance end to end and better maintain service level agreements (SLAs).  3.Provide the visualization necessary to understand the service quality   that is being delivered to consumers and enterprises.

Analytics for ITSM

The era of analytics provides the ability to aggregate many sources of data for analysis using the latest capabilities in big data to handle the diverse set of information available about each client’s IT infrastructure.  Instead of having to anticipate all of the problems while creating an ITSM infrastructure, new analytics capabilities provide a vast set of tools to help identify problems.

These tools provide new methods to pinpoint problems resulting in reduced Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). Furthermore they enable Operations personnel spend more time investigating real problems instead of chasing and classifying simple events.

Link to the Reference Architecture:

Over the next posts, we will document each of these entrypoints and introduce the associated Reference Architecture.


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