If you work in IT, you probably heard about IT service management (ITSM) or Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is a set of best practices to improve IT effectiveness and quality, and it has gained wider adoption over the last several years. ITSM is at the heart of ITIL and aims to improve availability of IT services while reducing the cost of repeatable IT processes.
ITIL consists of several areas: Service Desk, Incident Management, Problem Management, Configuration Management, Release Management, Change Management, Availability Management, Service Level Management, Capacity Management, Financial Management, and IT Service Continuity Management.
When a user experiences an outage or a slow service, an incident is created through a service desk (or help desk). The goal of Incident Management is to determine if the incident has a known solution or a workaround. Incidents that do not have a solution will turn into problems, and the Problem Management process takes over. The goal of problem management is to quickly get to the root of the problem and determine an optimal solution to the problem. This aids in reducing the number of incidents.
When you use vanilla Apache Tomcat, the diagnostic data you get is the bare minimum and is often not sufficient for understanding the cause of the problem. With Tcat Server, however, you get highly specific diagnostic data for Tomcat that helps you to understand the cause of the problem and resolve it quickly. (For an example, please see my earlier post on Finding Bad Code).
Release Management deals with implementing changes in an IT environment, including both non-technical (business plans, time estimations) and technical (implementing a change and testing it). To be an effective participant in release management, you should be able to track your application deployments and be able to test that the deployment has happened and tested. If you use a default Tomcat deployment, you might be copying an application (WAR file) into the Tomcat webapps directory or use the manager application to upload the application. Either of these methods do not provide a way to preserve the history of deployments. Tcat Server, on the other hand, provides advanced deployment capabilities including deployment history. Using the Tcat Server restore functionality, you will be able to roll back a deployment to a prior state. This is especially useful when you are rolling back a release due to testing.
There are other areas of ITSM where you can use data from Tcat Server to make Tomcat a good participant. I would like to hear from you on this topic – has ITIL/ITSM impacted the way you make technical choices in your organization? If you are already using Tomcat today and your organization is implementing ITIL, how are you gathering the data required to report for ITSM processes?