What Enterprise IT infrastructure managers in Europe struggle with most is to ensure consistent end-to-end application and service performance guarantees, according to a survey by Forrester Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORR).

In its just released report, ¿Top Five Challenges For Enterprise IT Infrastructure Managers ¿ And How To Resolve Them,¿ Forrester presents the results of interviews with 67 enterprise IT infrastructure managers at $1 billion-plus companies about their key challenges in running the corporate IT infrastructure. Forrester picked out the top five issues that companies struggle with and has compiled best practices on how companies are successfully attempting to overcome these challenges.

The Top Five Challenges For Enterprise It Infrastructure Managers: Best Practices

  • Consistent End-To-End Application And Service Performance Guarantees
    These days, business decision-makers increasingly demand (rather than just expect) consistent service-level guarantees for key applications or services across the whole enterprise. Forrester advises IT infrastructure managers to develop a service catalog and look at implementing service-level management (SLM) and/or business service management (BSM) technologies ¿ the latter as a way to measure the overall service quality from an end user perspective.
  • Unplanned Infrastructure Changes Resulting In Incidents And Downtime
    Manual interference and the lack of consistent service management processes are still the No. 1 source of incidents resulting in end user downtime. Unplanned and untested infrastructure changes remain at the heart of the problem. According to Forrester, this cries out for automation and for companies to implement a rigorous change management process ¿ using ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) best practices ¿ and dynamically link infrastructure to applications.
  • Unanticipated Infrastructure Effects From Consolidation And New Application Projects
    Almost two-thirds of IT managers expect further infrastructure consolidation in the near future. To deal with the huge management challenge for IT infrastructure managers that results from such consolidation projects, Forrester points to what may sound obvious: Implement testing before deployment. This should be an accepted best practice ¿ but Forrester finds that many IT managers still don¿t do it.
  • Misconfiguration Of Network Objects
    Forrester warns that misconfigured network objects can cause sudden catastrophe to a company¿s most critical applications. Although there is no silver bullet here, Forrester believes that change management based on solid tools and ITIL best practices will get you a long way. To really see an improvement here, companies should look to automate network configuration and routine tasks.
  • Wide Area Network Performance
    With companies now starting to deploy voice over IP on a large scale, infrastructure managers have added the issue of how to separate mission-critical traffic from the rest of the list of concerns. Forrester¿s advice: Implement WAN bandwidth management and take a look at WAN traffic compression.

Thomas Mendel, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, says: ¿Enterprise IT infrastructure managers tell us that the challenges they face are becoming more severe. However, forward-looking companies are already addressing the most important challenges with a mix of ITIL process implementations for service delivery and new tools like service catalogs, SLM/BSM, autodiscovery technologies, network configuration management, WAN traffic compression, and bandwidth management. Companies should look at their specific situation and use these examples as best practice guidelines.¿