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Systems Management (Harris Kern's Enterprise Computing Institute) Paperback – 11 Dec 2001

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From the Back Cover

Design, implement, and manage world-class infrastructures.

  • Develop bullet-proof processes
  • Implement proven systems management techniques
  • Streamline your IT infrastructure―regardless of size

IT Systems Management describes the process of managing any IT infrastructure to achieve optimum stability, efficiency, and responsiveness. By understanding and harnessing proven systems management techniques, organizations can leverage their IT investment in powerful new ways.

Infrastructure expert Rich Schiesser explains the theoretical and practical aspects of systems management, using observations, methods, and examples drawn from years of professional experience. IT Systems Management is based on the fundamental belief that people, process, and technology are the key ingredients in any successful IT organization and includes ground-breaking coverage on how to implement each key discipline in mainframe data centers, mid-range shops, client/server environments, and Web-enabled systems.

This accessible, but comprehensive guide:

  • Offers an insider's perspective on all the disciplines of systems management
  • Allows focused study for professionals concerned with any of the key systems management areas-people, process, and technology
  • Describes how to develop, integrate, and manage robust, bulletproof processes

IT Systems Management is designed for IT professionals involved in designing, implementing, and managing any part of an IT environment or the entire infrastructure.

About the Author

RICH SCHIESSER has led IT infrastructure groups at organizations such as Hughes Aircraft, the City of Los Angeles, and Twentieth Century Fox, and for 10 years he managed the primary data center at Northrop Grumman. Rich has also taught IT classes at California State University, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Los Angeles. As a consultant, he now designs and implements infrastructures for a variety of companies including Emery Air Freight, DIRECTV, Option One Mortgage,, and The Weather Channel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
a reference and framework 13 Oct. 2002
By Shannon Gaw - Published on
Format: Paperback
I did not really learn anything new from the 500 page "IT Systems Management", but Schiesser created an ITIL-like framework from which I can logically organize and reflect on my past experiences and better understand my future experiences.
Schiesser starts by giving a brief but comprehensive history of computing and systems management. In Part 2, he presents a discussion on "people", organizational, and political issues which would be valuable for any new IT manager, although less so for experienced ones. Finally, on page 109, in part 3, "Processes", he finally begins the meat of the book.
Schiesser defines systems management as twelve processes: Availability, Performance and Tuning, Production Acceptance, Change Management, Problem Management, Storage Management, Network Management, Configuration Management, Capacity Planning, Strategic Security, Disaster Recovery, and Facilities Management.
He discusses each of the above areas, devoting a chapter for each. Some chapters provide more insight than others. Most of the points are obvious for a weathered IT manager, but it does provide value in compiling all the obvious points in one place. And, as mentioned earlier, it provides a framework for thought about managing a data center and or an enterprise.
Schiesser uses a lot of paper with lists of things: characteristics of process owners, resources to consider, steps to developing..., issues, challenges, etc., etc. He also includes assessment worksheets for each process - in duplicate versions: one with weights and one without. That is within the text --- he lists them again in the appendix. I think over half the book is assessment worksheets ... and a lot of white space. If he was adamant about listing all of these worksheets, I think the reader would have been much more appreciative of an included CD so they could actually use them without hiring a typist.
Appendix A is a FAQ, which is an excellent idea to address random thoughts about each chapter, but it was much too short at ten pages. I would much rather have an expanded FAQ rather than hundreds of pages of assessments.
He concludes the book with Part 4 "Technology" - a title I thought was a misnomer. This part includes a chapter on "Developing Robust Processes", with sections like "Helpful Ground Rules for Brainstorming" and "Understanding the Differences between a Formal and Informal Process", which I thought were inappropriate for the subject of the book and too cursory to be of any use. This chapter is followed by another cursory presentation of technology to automate processes, a chapter discussing integration of the 12 processes, and finally special considerations for client-server and Internet computing.
"IT Systems Management" is a good *overview*. IT managers with a few years in the industry will appreciate the framework presented in the 200 pages of part 3, but should not expect any earth-shattering revelations or new insights. For a more detailed presentation of the subject, look into the ITIL books.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Amazingly complete and packed with knowledge 18 Mar. 2002
By Linda Zarate - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr. Schiesser has managed to capture all of the essential service delivery processes in a single book, and he covers each of these topics with a thoroughness that will give you a foundation to implement world-class system management.
He starts out with three chapters that cover the history of system management and had it has evolved into an important discipline that is currently challenged by issues that were not foreseeable when I started in the industry 25 years ago. Today systems are interconnected into complex supply chains and extend onto the desktops of home and business users who are not known to the managers of the systems. Although these chapters can be skipped, they do provide context for the details that come in later chapters. In fact, each topic in the book is introduced at a basic level, then built upon in layer upon layer of detail. This makes learning the complex discipline of system management easy to someone new to IT, and exposes details that even seasoned veterans may not have encountered.
The book's best feature is that covers each of the key processes (support and problem management, availability, performance tuning and capacity planning, change control and configuration management), and ties them to related areas (security, disaster recovery, facilities management, and infrastructure management areas for storage and networks).
Although the book is not sequenced in the key process and related areas in the order I've listed, a pattern emerges as each topic is covered. The glue that ties all of these together is the way the author develops a strategy for organizing for systems management, including staffing considerations, and the integration of the processes at the end of the book. I especially like the way tactical and strategic processes are identified and how the relationships are developed.
As an IT operations management specialist with extensive experience I appreciate the way the book has accurately captured the essence of systems management. As a consultant I found the checklists and worksheets provided in the book to be invaluable. This book represents an important contribution to the overlooked body of knowledge of systems management and IT operations, and should be on the bookshelf of every IT manager or service delivery specialist who takes their job seriously. It should be carefully read by those in the dot com and ASP industries because the processes described in this book, if implemented, will differentiate your services and give you a significant competitive advantage.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Complete coverage of critical processes 18 Mar. 2002
By Mike Tarrani - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book provides sorely needed guidance for developing and implementing system management processes that will assure reliability, availability and support. The topics that this book addresses that are not found in any other I've read include:
* Production acceptance criteria - this topic covers the critical boundary between development or projects, and operations. The value of employing the book's approach to production acceptance is that applications and systems will be brought into production in a carefully controlled manner that ensures all operations is fully prepared to provide the level of support required by the business.
* Acknowledgement of the importance of facilities management, which is almost always overlooked until problems arise.
* One of the most comprehensive and well thought out collections of checklists I've ever encountered. The checklists provided in the book cover every aspect of systems management, ranging from staffing profiles, key issues in infrastructure support processes, to capacity planning. The checklists alone are worth many times the price of the book.
* Linking change control (a rare topic itself) to configuration management. I specialize in these two areas and can attest that the author's treatment is accurate and reflect best practices.
* Special considerations for web-enabled environments. Finally we have material that updates traditional management and support processes to reflect challenges of web-based computing. The tried and true methods many of us learned from mainframe environments impeded the meeting of business goals in web-based environments. This book gives advice that is useful and provides a foundation for evolving processes to meet these unique challenges.
I also like the way each topic is explored by starting simple and expanding into details that are examined for strengths and weaknesses. The net result is an understanding of all factors and issues, including many subtle ones that would have required iterations of trial and error to get right. Most importantly the author stayed focused on processes and best practices, leaving system management products to authors of books for a much narrower audience. This, in my opinion, greatly increases the value of the book and makes it applicable to anyone who is part of the system management or service delivery process. My only complaint, and it is minor, is the lack of a web site or accompanying CD ROM with the invaluable checklists and tools in electronic format.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great handbook for IT managers 27 Sept. 2002
By Catherine Rotzell - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rich Schiesser does an excellent job of organizing the many aspects of successful IT systems management. His presentation is comprehensive. But I also found it very easy to read and digest. I like the way he has given equal coverage and importance to the technical, business, and people components that make up a successful IT organization; especially the people issues, which I find are often down-played in organizations. The book is written in a drill-down fashion, starting each section with background and discussion and ending with practical guidelines and how-to's. It's packed with steps and checklists for establishing each of the various systems management processes that Schiesser covers. You also get information on common issues and pitfalls to look out for along the way. I really like the sample assessment documents for determining the effectiveness of a current process, and for measuring performance once your new process is in place.
For anyone with a background in IT infrastructure who is looking to move into a management role, this will make a great handbook. It contains the practical stuff that would normally take you several years of experience to gain. It's also an informative reference for anyone in applications support and other IT departments, who wants a better understanding of the larger systems management environment and the role it plays in the total organization.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Inexpensive Summary of the IT Infrastructure Library 7 Feb. 2007
By Christiaan Huygens - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is essentially a summary of the IT Infrastructure Library.

Considered in that light, this is a pretty good book for the money. It falls short of 5 stars by giving short attention to service desk (aka help desk) management and by not making clear it's debt to the ITIL.

For those who are not aware, the ITIL is a best practice framework for IT service delivery management. Developed and published by the UK's Office of Government Commerce, it is a series of 8 books: Service Support, Service Delivery, Planning to Implement Service Management, Application Management, Infrastructure Management, Security Management, Software Asset Management, and The Business Perspective. [...]

Having 7+ years experience in IT service delivery I recommend all organizations, regardless of industry or profit-status, utilize best practices for IT management. The preferred way to do this is
1. Implement COBIT to create an overall IT management framework.
2. Implement ITIL for service delivery management.
3. Implement ISO 17799 for security management.
4. Use the Balanced Scorecard methodology to coordinate goal setting and performance measurement between customers, financial stakeholders, internal process stakeholders, and training and growth needs.

To sum up, this is a good, inexpensive summary or intro to IT systems management as defined by ITIL.
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