In the previous blog titled “Realizing the value of the CMS: Protect your ability to deliver services with HP Configuration Manager’s new Clustering Analysis and Policy Enforcement,” I mentioned a new type of policy, Similarity policies, and promised to tell you more about them. Well, let me share some background with you for how the need for Similarity policies became apparent to us.
HP UCMDB Configuration Manager provides configuration managers and CI (configuration item) owners the ability to easily set up configuration policies and automatically determine where their CIs do not comply with IT standards, in order to improve data quality and standardization, manage and control configuration drift, and improve cluster resiliency.
Customers shared with us how much value they can gain from applying policies and becoming aware of non-compliant CIs or drifting configurations. But these same customers began to tell us of the challenges of managing highly dynamic environments, such as a development lab or testing environment. They have the need to update operating system versions, patches, application versions, and more, very frequently, and having to update the policies to match all of these changes might be more administration than they want to manage. They simply want all of the systems to be the same. If one system is updated, they all need to be updated so they match according to the attributes which they indicate are important.
This concept applies to clusters too. The JBoss applications within a J2EE cluster, for example, need to match according to the attributes which are marked as being important.
Customers were clearly telling us to provide them with a policy to help ensure that CIs within a cluster or group are similar according to certain attributes, without having to define the specific attribute values. For example, instead of defining (and later maintaining) that the operating system for a group of CIs needs to be Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and the version number needs to be 6.3, the policy defines that operating system and version number for this group of CIs needs to be the same, regardless of the actual value.
I encourage you to try out Similarity policies, which are available with the Advanced Configuration Manager license for UCMDB Configuration Manager. There is a simple wizard in the product to guide you through the process of creating this new type of policy. In addition, with the Advanced Configuration Manager license, Similarity policies are already defined to help improve your cluster resiliency by ensuring that application servers in certain clusters are identical and by ensuring that all the nodes in certain clusters are identical.