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A Distributed Control Dispatching Framework (CTL) from ControlTier

By John | March 18, 2008

I usually say that Tarus of OpenNMS is the hardest working man in open source, but ControlTier, with its new open source CTL offering, would make the original godfather quite proud. I first met the ControlTier guys at BarcampESM. They had come to BarcamESM to ask a very simple question, a question that the “Big Four” have not been able to successfully answer in the 30 years that I have been involved in IT management.

How to bridge the IT management gap between operations and development?

The problem is that, even though it seems like it should be easy, it really is a hard problem to solve. I have seen only two companies even come close in my 30 years – IBM and Marimba (now BMC). The problem lies in the fact that the two groups, operations and development, speak different languages. You consistently hear things like, “They don’t give us the tools or training to operate their applications” from the development groups. Also, you hear things like, “They do not know how to run our applications” from the dev guys. The traditional ops guys typically don’t know any of the lexicon of the developers when they talk about code management and build processes. To ops guys, these terms are place holders for long nights and weekends. The dev guys are usually too busy to hand-hold the ops guys and never give them the proper tools and documentation to manage the applications. Years ago, IBM/Tivoli created a DMTF specification called AMS that was all about automating this hand off process. The developers could fill in the blanks during their development process, and generated XML would get pushed so that the IT management tool could intelligently manage the application.

The ControlTier guys have built a fantastic tool for application developers enabling them to automate the tasks required to get an application into operations, but they are still Desperately-Seeking-Susan on how to also integrate ops guys into that discussion as evidence by their attendance at BarCampESM. At BarCampESM, Heath Newburn of IBM was giving out great advice on this topic, and I chimed in a few times as well. As an IT guy, I’ve always been fascinated by this problem, and I have made it a point to stay in touch with the ControlTier guys to keep the dialog going. In a small way, I am helping them define and bridge the Dev2Ops gap (the theory being I am smart at Ops and they are real smart at Dev). Their recent CTL open source offering is a great first step for the Dev2Ops discussion. CTL provides a framework for managing distributed endpoints. This technology was formally know as Ant Depot when it was the framework for the ControlTier product line. What they have done is separate out and improve this framework code as a stand alone open source control dispatching framework. They have also made it user friendly for operations. I am trying to add some feedback by seeing if I can integrate CTL into some Tivoli service gigs right now as the old Tivoli framework is going bye-bye. As I progress with this, I will certainly be blogging about the results.

Topics: ams, bmc, controltier, ctl, ibm, marimba, other, tivoli | 1 Comment »

One Response to “A Distributed Control Dispatching Framework (CTL) from ControlTier”

  1. Damon Edwards Says:
    March 19th, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Thanks for the write-up, John.

    As you mentioned, CTL is an all purpose tool useful for automating any IT task. Our consulting group will apply it to our regular problem domains but we are looking for feedback from administrators from all types of operations.

    If anyone is interested in further information on the Development to Operations problem you can check out these posts: