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Systems Management On Call

The cost of managing IT infrastructures often outstrips acquisition costs, and users increasingly are frustrated with the complexity of many traditional systems-management platforms. That's why some vendors are looking at alternative delivery and pricing models that could bring utility-style frameworks to the forefront during the next year.

Although still in the fledgling stage, systems management as a service is being offered through hosted environments and a utility-based, pay-as-you go model. Systems-management providers also are looking to tie their services and products more directly to overall infrastructure performance.

"Companies are spending over $10 billion a year on systems-management software to manage technology they've already bought," says Mike Maples, a co-founder and strategy officer of service-management software vendor Motive Inc. "And you've got hundreds of vendors selling products that very often have been overpromised and underdelivered."

For the past seven years, Motive has been providing systems management as a service, though it has taken a different approach than vendors are taking today: The company's management services are generally built in, co-branded, and delivered over the Internet through independent software vendors. Motive's objective is to build manageability into applications as they're delivered, as opposed to layering on management products after the fact. "Software-as-a-service pricing and consumption models are driven by a need to more closely tie dollars spent on technology to actual value realized and the amount of technology used in a given period of time," Maples says.

Motive's primary offerings are Profile, Triage, and Resolution. Profile is used to discover and automate configuration information and performance. Triage lets companies use information received from software applications to assign predetermined and automated response mechanisms to diagnose and fix problems as they occur. Resolution augments Triage with a more-detailed set of diagnostic capabilities and automated repair capabilities.

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