CIM, APML, SML, CML, SDM, MOF, CMDBF, WTF??… Users aren’t buying vendors’ alphabet soup
Every year there seems to be a rash of IT modeling standards proposed by vendors like Sun, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, BMC, CA, et al. They primp, they preen, they puff out their feathers as they jocky for position. But the comedy (or really, the tragedy) of the situation is that they are competing in a race that none of them will ever win. Especially if they stick to their current belief that they can find one true industry-wide model to rule all of enterprise IT. How many times do they have to launch another vendor-driven standard to a resounding thud to get it?
The plain fact of the matter is that end users just don’t care. They want tools that just work and simple frameworks that they can quickly compose into a solution that fits THEIR operations. They want their IT management problems to just go away, not become a new center of the universe that requires an increasingly diverse and complex set of skills to master.
Although I’m a firm believer that the best solutions in IT management must ultimately be model-driven, I also am well aware that the industry has done a terrible job educating users as to why they should even care about modeling in the first place. “Tool interoperability” is the only answer that is consistently given. But tool interoperability is something that vendors care far more about than end users.
Your average systems management jockey is smart enough and skilled enough to cobble together tools as needed. Sure they would like a smoother answer, but not at the cost of pulling a big modeling headache down on top of themselves. This may not please the IT Architect types… but it’s not the first time that they’ve been ignored by their own overworked rank and file whose paychecks depend on getting things done as quickly as possible.
A fun illustration of the absurdity of the standards alphabet soup took place on a recent episode of the always enjoyable and informative “IT Management Guys” podcast.
Host Michael Cote (a RedMonk analyst) and guest William Vambenepe (a well respected vendor representative from Oracle by way of HP) get into a discussion of current standards efforts and how they relate to other recent standards efforts. Of course,those who follow these things will recognize that these standards have gone absolutely nowhere with users in the wild.
The acronym fun begins about around the 8 minute mark and things really go off the rails around the 15 minute mark. It’s a fun bit of unintentional comedy to hear it. All are very bright guys who really know their stuff and have my upmost respect, but it’s just classic to hear an analyst and a vendor jump from acronym to acronym and throwing around modeling and language concepts all while the other host, John Willis, who represents the cream of the crop of actual in-the-trenches IT Management consultants, sits in stunned silence.
John’s quote to snap them out of it is priceless:
“Just give me something that I can go and manage ESM [Enterprise Systems Management] or do IT management!”
Amen, Brother John.
Side note: Cote also retold a fun little joke that a guy named Chip Holden from BMC likes to tell…
“People ask me what I do and I tell them Programming, and that puts most normal people to sleep. When I’m with Programmers I tell them I work in IT Management and THAT puts them to sleep.”
It’d be funnier if it wasn’t sadly true.