Last month, systems management technology vendor Configuresoft announced the Configuration Intelligence Initiative. Configuration Intelligence is a technology that connects configuration, provisioning, and Service Desk information and from the combined data provides sets of analytics (or Intelligence Briefs, in Configuration Intelligence terms) that report on system behavior and highlight potential problems. Configuresoft's Director of Program Management, Jason Cowie, told me in a recent briefing that Configuration Intelligence works similarly to the way business intelligence solutions mine data from data warehouses.

The ability to correlate system configuration information with event and performance information hands an enterprise the key to optimizing its IT infrastructure and making IT a full partner in achieving strategic business goals. Senior Analyst Andi Mann of Enterprise Management Associates writes that "Configuration Intelligence . . . not only measures how the organization is doing, but also delivers the analytics providing deep insight that lets them take aggressive, yet safe moves in their computing environments based on real behavioral information."

The first product release in the Configuration Intelligence initiative integrates Configuresoft Enterprise Configuration Manager (ECM) with BMC Remedy (as the Service Desk component), Microsoft Systems Management Server (as the provisioning component), and EMC VMware (as the virtualization component). After mining and correlating the information drawn from the various systems, Configuration Intelligence delivers the following series of Intelligence Briefs:

·        Highlighting the overall trend of changes and change alerts across sites, business units, OSs, hardware vendors, and logical and virtual machine groups.

·        Correlating in-band and out-of-band changes and their relationship to organization-wide critical systems and security events (in particular, the number and type of Service Desk incident and trouble tickets).

·        Signaling significant changes in the percentage of systems that are successfully patched or compliant.

·        Evaluating the effect of IT processes on QoS delivered to the organization.

·        Preparing the organization with normalized facts and strategic information necessary for major computing initiatives, including moves to server virtualization and significant OS upgrades and migrations.

As Jason explained it to me, Configuration Intelligence provides a "continuous" approach that combines change and configuration management, provisioning, and Service Desk technology with intelligent analytics to identify change and behavior patterns and discover where service levels aren't being met. (For example, you can "identify down" from change to specific incidents as measured by incident tickets and reports.) The appropriate remediation levels can then be based on accurate insights into a system's change information, actual state of configuration, and system dependencies and behavior. Not only can you then make better decisions about appropriate change, but you can also drive good changes out through the infrastructure.