Integrating research root cause analysis tools into a commercial IT service manager




Li, Xiaochun

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IT environments are turning more complex by the day and this trend is poised to rise in the coming years. To manage IT resources and maximize productivity better, large organizations are striving for better methods to control their current environments. They also have to prepare for future complexity growth as their environments cater to the growing IT needs. In the current economic recession, organizations are not only threatened by the growing complexity, but also have to cope with limited personnel due to financial constraints. Organizations are ardent about obtaining new technology to have firmer control on different platforms, vendors, and solutions at a reasonable cost. At the same time, this new technology must deliver quality services that can effectively fulfill customer needs. To deal with IT management challenges, CA developed Spectrum Service Assurance Manager (SAM), a product by CA Inc. (formerly Computer Associates) to solve complex IT environment service management problems. SAM can provide organizations with a wide-ranging view of their multi-faceted IT environments by providing vital pieces of information that no other software can perceive. Thus, SAM can monitor and manage systems, databases, networks, applications, and end-user experiences. Although, this technology is able to detect many errors and problems, it still lacks a good mechanism to diagnose the detected problems and uncover their root causes for end users to fix. Four research groups from Universities of Alberta, Toronto, Victoria and Waterloo—under the auspices of the Consortium for Software Engineering Research—built different tools for root-cause analysis and detection. To integrate these solutions, these research groups worked together with CA Inc. to produce a web-based integration tool to integrate these add-ons into the main SAM application. The resulting framework does not affect any of SAM’s existing features as the additions only involve a new web communication layer that acts from the core of the software to detect and present root causes. The detection tools only parse the log files for vital information and thus the core functionality of the software remains unaffected. My contributions to this research project are presented in this thesis. In the beginning of this thesis, I report on background research on SAM and describe how it is going to solve the increasing complexity problem in IT environments. Later on, I propose two software integration approaches to integrate root cause diagnosis tools with SAM and briefly describe CA’s latest software integration framework Catalyst. Towards the end of this thesis, I compare our integration solution with Catalyst, and discuss advantages and disadvantages of these integration solutions.



software integration, web Application, IT monitoring, EAI