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What is IT system life-cycle management?

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IT system life-cycle management is the administration of a system from provisioning, through operations, to retirement. Every IT system, resource, and workload has a life cycle. Life-cycle management lets you:

  • Reliably create systems in an automated and scalable manner. 
  • Track and account for all systems, assets, and subscriptions
  • Ensure that systems are consistent across their life cycle. 
  • Decommission systems and resources when they are no longer needed.

Common life-cycle management challenges

Environment sprawl

Larger environments contain a greater number of systems, complicating system status and event tracking across your organization.

Technical debt

Legacy systems often require special tools and processes to administer, impeding efforts to bring all systems under a single set of management tools and processes.

Limited staff

IT teams are not growing at the same pace as the infrastructure they manage. This results in more work for the same number of staff, making it hard to get ahead of technological change, innovation, and business demands.

Business continuity requirements

System management must be accomplished in a manner that does not interfere with business operations.

  • Retire resources at the end of life: Abandoned and unused resources consume staff time and budget, even if no one is using them. Implement a process for retiring unused systems to save management effort and costs. 
  • Deploy automation: As the size of your infrastructure increases, so does the effort to manage it. Use automation to streamline common tasks, reduce human errors, and free staff to focus on innovation. 
  • Connect your tools: Integrate your tools via available application programming interfaces (APIs). Use your preferred interfaces to perform tasks in other tools, streamlining operations and improving productivity.
  • Content management: The supply and administration of the software, packages, and patches you deploy in your environment.
  • Provisioning management: The process of defining and controlling how systems are provisioned and deployed.
  • Subscription management: A means to identify how many assets you have deployed and their characteristics. It can often be associated with a system of record for your assets.
  • Configuration assessment: The process of scanning systems to understand current configurations and identify those that require action.
  • Drift analysis: The use of a configuration assessment to compare systems against baseline configurations, past configurations, and other systems to find similarities and differences.
  • Configuration management: Defining a desired system state, then building and maintaining systems accordingly. It is closely related to configuration assessment and drift analysis and uses both to identify systems that require updates, reconfiguration, or patching.

Keep reading

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Configuration management is a process for maintaining computer systems, servers, and software in a desired, consistent state. It can be managed by automation.

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Application lifecycle management (ALM) is the people, tools, and processes that manage the life cycle of an application from conception to end of life.

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An SOE is a standard operating environment, or a specific computer operating system and collection of software that an IT department defines as a standard build.

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