2017-09-06 20:47:00 UTC

Tools to Develop and Manage IT Infrastructure Road-maps


Looking for a tool that can be used to create IT infrastructure road-maps and life-cycle of existing technologies.  Ideally, permissions (read/change,etc) can be assigned to a technology area.  Being able to report on where different technologies are in the life-cycle, when technologies road-maps were last updated as well as technologies coming towards their end of life. 

Most of this is new to me, working at a higher strategic level, so any input would be appreciated. 

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1616 Answers

author avatar
Top 5Real User

My post has reference to the one by Mark Webb on Oct 6.

Well stated Mark. My experiences make me resonate with what Mark has stated.

For many Mark's response might be seen as being off the topic / thread. To these I would say say, pause and reflect.

Any day I will second / support Mark's assertion that shared data descriptions - accessible easily - is a vital foundation - for almost any project in the enterprise, especially now that data is increasingly being recognised - even if only reluctantly - as the new gold. Data has always been the blood stream of business, but it is only now gaining the attention it deserves.

A process to govern the collection, curation, and publication of certified business description within easy reach of everyone in the organisation can pay huge on-going dividends. In essence I am advocating for the democratisation of the meaning of data and through it empowerment of all levels of the workforce. No prizes for guessing that I am a Data Architect ! :-) However, did you notice that I have not used "meta-data"? That is because many, esp. business folks dont seem to be at ease with the term "meta-data".

Meaning / description of data needs to be held for various grains (such as columns/fields, rows/records, tables/files/databases etc., ) . Couple this with similar descriptions of applications (also at different levels such application, version/release, module etc.), and infrastructure. Connect these with business strategy (long term), business objectives/goals (time specific), business requirements, business rules.

One begins to see a holistic picture through synergy across these major dimensions (data, applications, and infrastructure, as well as the business contexts) . This then is the "Enterprise Knowledge Base" (EKB).

Presence of curated content in the EKB in turn helps in clear assessment of the current state (across all the dimensions represented within the EKB), so that future visions, and the road maps to work towards those future states are well founded. Every one being on the same page is made possible.

Admittedly, many organisations might not be in such a position of preparedness, But never too late to start on the EKB initiative.

Lastly an aside .. just as spreadsheets are regarded / pushed by many as databases, many are pushing their favourite data modelling tool as the container for data descriptions. This is unwise in the the long term, and should be avoided. For more information, please contact me.

Cheers. - Madani (from beautiful Down Under)

2017-10-08 00:34:13 UTC
author avatar
Consultant

Regarding Tools to Develop and Manage IT Infrastructure Road-maps query a couple of tools come to mind such as Sparx Enterprise Architect (EA) and Qualiware Lifecycle Manager (QLM) to name two.
Looking for a tool that can be used to create IT infrastructure road-maps and life-cycle of existing technologies.
In the request we can assume that life-cycle is taken to means a standardised approach across on technology components such as plan, provision, deploy, decommission (end of life) and that extraneous in-cycle sub-phasing is aside.
In EA you simply create a roadmap diagram and after setting up the timeline place the object or class that represents the technology object on the timeline. There is no restriction to the type of elements that can appear on the diagram and any diagram can have a Roadmap overlay defined. Significant user defined phases in the element's lifetime are represented by colored bars which can be set to show Duration. The colors and the phases can be configured using a diagram legend which automatically applies them to the elements in the diagram.
Ideally, permissions (read/change,etc) can be assigned to a technology area.
To address permissions most products have security controls built in. In EA this is controlled on a user profile basis by the vendor supplied security features or an add-in like EA Utils.
Being able to report on where different technologies are in the life-cycle, when technologies road-maps were last updated as well as technologies coming towards their end of life.
For this let us assume the choice of technology representation (e.g. Archimate) either has life-cycle related properties in the model profile specification or the EA practise has simply added a tagged value to the technology class object that can be used by the shape script sub-facility to colourise or add adornment that indicates progress toward End of Life. The Roadmap diagram properties can do this for you as well.
Maintain the technology roadmap in either a process task in of the Enterprise Architecture practise or can be handled automatically in the EA scripting sub-facility. Using EA scripting the as time for other environmental factors held in the model change this change used as a trigger that can be assigned via scripting to reposition the technology object in the diagram or re-set the values the roadmap diagram uses to display state (see Roadmap Diagram Options). Most properties, but not all can be addressed by scripts.
Doing this QLM is much the same, however while I know about it having this capability. I would have to research to accurate advice.
I trust this provides at least some insight into how this concern can be addressed.
Kevin MacLean
Swift Fox Strategies

2017-10-06 14:23:08 UTC
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User

Nearly all of my consulting experience has been within the U.S. government space with only a small bit of commercial work thrown in here and there. As can be seen by all the answers posted here, everyone has their favorite tool for developing architecture views and roadmaps. Rather than focus on any given tool, I've always focused on the architecture data because its the data that makes the difference when it comes to decision-making and successful transformations. I've seen a significant number of failed programs (>50% never achieve their stated goals) over the years and they all have several common characteristics - namely a failure to do the basics and then jump ahead in order to capture the mythical "low hanging fruit" and prove usefulness. By basics, I mean the foundation - creating a process, a taxonomy, a meta-model, a shared data repository, and commitment to architecture governance before marching out with PowerPoint views, a SharePoint nested file system, and promises of a golden future.

As architects, we all understand this yet continue to see managers repeat this same mistake project after project. We also tend to overcomplicate the architecture process with confusing terminology, multiple frameworks, hundreds of views, competing certifications, tool love affairs, and a general failure to support the decision-making process with factual data. Some tools are better than others, but no tool or poor tools are always early predictors of failure. MS-Office and 365 are not EA tools; they are communication tools and belong in the "poor tool" category. If your tool(s) don't share data through an open RDBMS, then your tool is also a "poor tool".

The larger the organization or transformation project, the more important it is to commit to the EA Process (Spewak), build the foundation, select and deploy a proper tool early in the process, and implement governance designed to achieve the desired transformation. Keep it simple, stay on target, use the force, reach the goal.

2017-10-06 13:28:27 UTC
author avatar
Top 20Consultant

@Jeffrey: Understand. With that input of yours I would recommend to evaluate what I call the ERP-type of EAM tools focusing on capturing the necessary data using forms, providing tabular and graphical reports, as well as some kind of workflow (like for establishing a blueprint request and approval process).
Some candidates are (already named from the contributors below): Software AG Alphabet planningIT (not the cheapest thing), LeanIX (license based on number of profiles like for number of infrastructure components), and others where I've only seen evaluations or played with demos yet like Avolution, MEGA, Orbus.
Modeling tools like ARIS, Enterprise Architect, and MagicDraw are in my opinion potentially usable but may not be really suited to your needs because on one hand are too flexible (you can model anything, rather diagram-driven than forms-driven) and on the other hand imply additional effort in order to reach the couple hundred consumers (web access definitely recommended). There are publishing components, but I prefer tools that provide access to the data via rich client and web client simultaneously. For MagicDraw this will become true by the end of the year I guess. Still, you are lacking request/approve workflows (can be done somehow, but well...)
In case you have time for something like an exploration phase, it might be worth to start with one of the modeling tools or an open source client tool like Archi (providing the Archimate modeling notation of TOGAF) to play around and sharpen your meta model before going big.

2017-10-06 13:25:27 UTC
author avatar
Top 20Consultant

Lots of tools around there, I won't extend that list here, but rather like to ask you some questions in return:
- Your company has more than 10,000 employees, isn't there already an Enterprise Architect or even a department available? Ask them! They might even have a tool available and, if they have done their homework, an application landscape with each application having a profile. Depending on the maturity level of the EAM initiative in your company they might already have a viewpoint on technologies used by applications. If not, they might just be waiting for someone like you that has a strategic demand to do so.
If there is no Enterprise Architect or department at your company:
- Do you have a well shaped idea of the meta model i.e. which types of assets you want to manage and more important associate with another, do you want to distinguish between as-is, plan, and target architecture? You might want to choose a tool that also delivers or allows for using a predefined meta model like what you can find in TOGAF or similar.
- How many people shall work with the tool (maintaining, viewing), you, a team, a department, or all of the enterprise? The higher your requirement is here the more important become features like web capability, roles and rights management, versioning (or planning games), multilingualism (in case of multinational players), ...

2017-10-06 06:34:07 UTC
author avatar
Top 20Real User

Hi Mate,
The only tool I know that can do this for you properly is Sparx EA. It does not mean that there is no other tool, just that it it the only one I am aware of. I have doen modelling like this in Sparx EA, but it did take a bit of thinking to get the modelling structure right to cover off all the areas we needed to highlight. Hope this helps.

2017-10-05 22:37:40 UTC
author avatar
User

Some people find MEGA/HOPEX helpful for this.

2017-10-05 13:39:07 UTC
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User

I’ve been Planview/Troux/Metis user for nearly 20 years now. Once Metis (owned by Computas) and Troux merged back in 2005, the ability to autogenerate roadmaps for technology from an architecture data base has been essentially a single click function, assuming the user populated the property fields for timing. I’ve used or evaluated nearly every tool available and only those tools that use true object modeling with an RDBMS data store can provide this autogenerate roadmap capability. All the others force you to manually draw the roadmap and then link in the data (e.g. Visio, System Architect, Corso, etc). The nice thing about Troux is that you can populate the database either through direct data entry, automated data collection, or by model diagramming, whichever you prefer. Changes to the database are automatically pushed out to all the models and views, eliminating 99% of the “redraw” effort that many architects are forced to do each time management makes a change. The secret is to know the metamodel and collect the data required to autogenerate all the reports and visualizations.

BTW, Metis was developed by NCR and has been used world-wide for more than 25 years. It is, by a wide margin, one of the best Object Modeling tools ever built. It’s the only tool that’s 100% American owned. Of the foreign tools, Abacus by Avolution is very similar, but you have to build your own metamodel from 100’s of pieces before you can get started with your EA. Troux has several metamodels ready to go right out of the box. Troux may not be as popular as some of the other tools, but it’s the only tool in the Gartner MQ visionary quadrant after being in the leader’s quadrant for the last 10 years. All the rest are just followers (IMHO)…..

Many organizations spend a lot of time figuring out how to keep what they have, how to keep it running, and where they’ve been instead of looking at where they need to be and how to get there. They focus more on what the architecture views look like instead of the data within the view. Successful companies focus on the next and how to get there. Architecture is meant for decision-makers, not IT wonks. Keep it simple, convey the right message, and make the decision obvious to the reader.

2017-10-05 13:01:39 UTC
author avatar
Vendor

General comments:

When managing IT infrastructures, it is necessary to get practical solutions to both simple and complex problems, so we suggest:

1. Consult, Integrate and Innovate

To increase the productivity of a company, it is necessary for the IT team to move towards new solutions, and sometimes it seems that all we do is to do maintenance and new connections.

To change this you have to resort to consultants or experts who will offer fresh ideas on how to improve server performance, avoid overheating or design GUI interfaces more intuitive.

It is also necessary to adapt what has been learned to the reality of the company. It integrates and observes the operation of the company during a time, soon innovates; remember that the IT world is constantly evolving and a solution that worked a year ago may not be the one currently recommended.

2. Standardization and Rationalization

Challenges in the IT area sometimes start with a choice. Do we spend our budget on maintenance or create new tools to improve performance?

This usually occurs when using the systems is not ideal. The best way to deal with this problem is to manage the infrastructure, creating standards in the use of the network and in the storage services.

It is best to migrate all internal services to the same system and apply the virtualization of the information through applications in the cloud, that are accessible from any point of the company, thus reducing the time of technical support, allowing access remote to desks that are in other levels of the company.

3. Uses Frameworks

Maximizes the transparency of the IT infrastructure by centralizing the configuration, development and management of networks in the same software with interactive GUI. You will see the difference once you discover the functionality, since you can see on a monitor any dependency that is connected to the network.

By virtualizing the detection of changes in the system, temperature, malicious software, logging of access, among others, will help the company to generate greater security and you will take a weight off, because you will know which equipment is presenting faults and for what.

4. Do not overdo virtualization

Although we talked about the advantages of virtualization, it must be taken into account that your equipment is not just monitoring, you must complement the physical infrastructure as well.

For this we must separate the functions in IT management, although we can automate the schedules of cooling, auto patching, cache cleaning, among others. There are processes that must remain physical, such as handling security, configuration and in some cases storing information, since automatic filters are not always the best option

Examples:

<https://www.google.cl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjmgf2QwtnWAhXBHpAKHVicB2kQFggkMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cebglobal.com%2Fcontent%2Fdam%2Fcebglobal%2Fus%2FEN%2Fbest-practices-decision-support%2Finformation-technology%2Fpdfs%2FCEB_Six_IT_Roadmaps_for_Better_Business_Outcomes.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0sQNx4LHNLeb_mKJhp8pfS> Six IT Roadmaps for Better Business Outcomes - CEB

<https://www.google.cl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjmgf2QwtnWAhXBHpAKHVicB2kQFgg7MAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mckinsey.com%2Fbusiness-functions%2Fdigital-mckinsey%2Four-insights%2Fit-architecture-cutting-costs-and-complexity&usg=AOvVaw2W8yqKCNggut4KLmzrn6d0> IT architecture: Cutting costs and complexity | McKinsey & Company

<https://www.google.cl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjmgf2QwtnWAhXBHpAKHVicB2kQFghCMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.itinfo.am%2Feng%2Finformation-technology-infrastructure-library-guide%2F&usg=AOvVaw3er6wgVh2ZFYTT9w5-DcQ8> Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Guide

2017-10-05 12:51:13 UTC
author avatar
Top 20Real User

Enterprise Process Center (EPC) from Interfacing Technologies (www.interfacing.com) supports ITIL/ITSM frameworks and integrated tool that has Org. Structure, Assets, Roles, Resources, Process Framework, Process Mapping, Doc Management, GRC module, Reporting, Performance, Collaboration etc. Available On-Premise and SAAS. Let me know if you wish to trial. No obligations.

2017-10-05 09:04:07 UTC
author avatar
Consultant

LeanIX! No combinations needed. Let me know if you want a free trial and I can give you for a few weeks a demo workspace :) http://bit.ly/2xihalR

2017-10-05 08:42:34 UTC
author avatar
Vendor

Hi

Once again I would suggest Sparx Enterprise Architect. Permission based on user defined roles and accessibility to certain areas. Integrates with SVN (https://tortoisesvn.net/) to enable version control and even more access control.
http://sparxsystems.com/enterprise_architect_user_guide/13.5/guidebooks/tech_ea_roadmaps.html
See also
http://sparxsystems.com/enterprise_architect_user_guide/13.5/model_domains/roadmap_diagram.html
This all would indicate that you work from a central repository.
Sparx has introduced a cloud-based version which I regrettably did not test or use yet.

As said numerous times - a very affordable, extensive modelling tool.

Regards
Jana

2017-10-05 08:10:09 UTC
author avatar
Top 20Real User

Software AG ARIS and Alfabet combination is the winner horse, imho. Try that!

2017-10-05 08:05:27 UTC
author avatar
Consultant

Hi,
Basically, this can be accomplished by using an Enterprise Architecture Suite, where you can document your current existing IT Infra situation and target state. The tool can help you by having a central repository for your assets and technologies that you can build specific reporting and help in decisions of future roadmap and support execution of the digital transformation. the tools such as Mega, Software AG - Alphabet, Avolution, Orbus ..etc

2017-10-05 07:59:05 UTC
author avatar
Real User

@Dr. Udo Nink, on the Infrastructure side we do not have an Architect. The roles in the past were handle by single group based on technology areas and through re-organizations that group does not exists. So, the plans are to put in place a Compute (Infrastructure) Architect. We do have an idea of what we want to model and will start with what is in place and then develop the target. Our current infrastructure has some standards but we want to formalize the entire infrastructure standards and strategy. So, we want a tool that can help us to manage that. As far as users, we could have about 8-10 contributors and a couple hundred viewers with an Architect that leads the effort.

I will take a look at some of the feedback from others here to see what they offer.

Thanks!

2017-10-06 12:30:02 UTC
author avatar
Consultant

EA tools can create technology layer roadmap and lifecycle report as well as its priviledge such as RACI matrix, refer to organization component in the business layer artifacts. I have experiences using Avolution Abacus to develop roadmap/masterplan, including its lifecycle report (monitoring & controlling).

2017-10-05 08:01:25 UTC
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