My last couple posts have focused more on the people and process side of things for IT Operations Management, but the right tools are also very important. Choosing the right tool for IT Operations Management might be one of the hardest things to do in IT. You have a lot of different requirements from a lot of different teams (Virtualization, Storage, Network, Apps, Business Management, etc.), so it makes matching a single tool very difficult. As you see I said "right tool" and not "right tools" and the reason I said this is because we are usually looking for that one tool that serves all our needs. This is one of the areas I think IT Operations limits their decision making when evaluating tools. Chances are you are not going to find just that one tool that meets all requirements of the multiple teams. I've seen too many times where the virtualization team looks for a ITOM tool, but want it to report on compute, hypervisor, storage, and network. They then limit their search to a tool that can perform all those funtions, even if the tool is only sub-par at all those functions. They then end up with a sub-par tool, because they wanted "one tool to rule all". If they only opened up to selecting multiple tools to get their job done, then they might have had tools that can perform all functions very well.
One thing that is important when selecting multiple tools for IT Operations management is that the tools provide a way of integration. I'm not saying that the tools have to directly integrate, but you need to be able to integrate the tools into your own process. Tools you select should have API's or SDK's that allow you to abstract needed information from the tool programmatically. This will then allow you to feed other groups' information to tools that they might use that don't have direct integration. This allows you to start aggregating information and getting more of an end-to-end few from apps to infrastructure.
I would love to hear from others on what they find important when selecting tools and how you managed integrating multiple tools into your process.