In my previous post I discussed what you need to know about servers, storage and networks when undertaking a discovery project.  Today, I’ll discuss a few more items items you’ll want to learn about in discovery: applications, services, middleware and contracts.

• Applications, Services and Middleware

The discovery phase must catalog applications, services and middleware, including documenting
functionality and applications that depend on them. Failure to recognize and accommodate the
following components when reorganizing a data center may cause critical applications to fail:

  • Applications that share information and interact in real-time and are supported by business,
    core and middleware services.
  • Business services, such as a service used to check in an airline passenger, may draw data
    from several databases and access the functionality of a variety of applications.
  • Core services support business applications, technology infrastructure and/or middleware.
    Examples include domain name services (DNS), directory services, authentication services, and
    FTP services. From an end-user perspective, these services operate transparently—as long as
    they function properly. If a domain name server fails, every application in your organization may
    be impacted.
  • Middleware services are essential elements that support business operations, including
    services for queuing and transaction management, transporting data, and coordinating data
    movement and transaction flows.

• Contracts

Hardware and software IT assets may have associated documentation that must be tracked,
including contracts, warranty protection, maintenance and service contracts. For example, Service
Level Agreements often guarantee the performance, reliability and availability of an IT asset or
Keep in mind that a contract may be affected by a data center transformation. For example, if
hardware is moved to a new geographic location to centralize operations, that move might impact
service agreements. Or, virtualizing multiple servers onto one larger physical server may also affect
software contracts.

What have been some of your experiences or challenges with data center discovery? Leave a comment or send an email to kfinger (at) virima (dot) com