By Mike Alley, Director, Service Management, Logicalis US

IT teams often hit a bumpy stretch in their rollout of IT operations management (ITOM) processes when they first implement an incident monitoring system in their IT environment. At this point, they are aware enough of the importance of a steady state in IT to support business agility, and they are aware they need to implement some level of ITOM to accomplish that level of stability, but they haven’t yet gotten smart enough to know how to cope with the sheer volume of alerts they are about to confront.

Turning on the new monitoring system, as a result, can be a real OMG moment as screens fill with an outpouring of thousands of alerts. It’s the proverbial fire hose in the face experience, and, if the monitoring system has not been adequately integrated into the service management toolset, a vast and random assortment of incident tickets cascade across monitors throughout the IT department as well.

There are an almost uncountable number of events occurring hourly in a typical IT environment today. Becoming aware of them all with a monitoring system is only the first step. Knowing how to respond to them all is the ultimate goal…and that’s where the event management process is key.

The ITIL Model

In the ITIL model, event management is a formal process that begins during service design and extends through service transition into service operation. It is tasked with the formal definition of events, including their identification criteria and the approved responses. The event management process is typically owned by the IT operations manager.

Event management gives you the knowledge and smarts you need to distinguish between the three basic types of events classified as:

  1. Information: such as logs and automated reports
  2. Warning: the approach of a threshold on some device
  3. Exception: a server is down, for example, or the network is not responding and business services are impacted

By categorizing the events appropriately, event management makes it possible to prioritize your response and focus on the exception event alerts that are tagged as “ASAP!” alerts. Event management can even give you a head start and automatically initiate an appropriate automated response or escalate the event to designated experts for immediate attention.

Event management filters, correlates and normalizes data coming from your infrastructure providing a clear view of your operations, including both steady-state and exceptions (incidents). Therefore, integrating event management with the initial service operations processes provides the control you need to respond effectively to change.

Want to learn more? Download the Logicalis white paper “How to Use IT Operations Management to Become a Strategic Player in Your Organization,” then watch Logicalis Director of ITSM Mike Alley discuss “The Promise of ITSM.”  You will also find answers to many of your ITSM questions at the Logicalis microsite ITSM answers.com as well as on our corporate website.