CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Enterprise Management Software Approaches for Economical Selective Outsourcing by Managed Service Providers

Date of Award

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Abstract

Organizations of all types and sizes are increasingly dependent upon reliable network interconnectivity for facilitating information exchange in a global economy. Given the expanding mix of technologies and complexity of networked environments, companies frequently struggle to contain rising operational costs, optimize resource effectiveness, and retain focus on strategic objectives. Selectively outsourcing network services and computer infrastructure provides organizations with an alternative strategy to increase efficiency, improve financial performance, and become more competitive. A symbiotic arrangement is subsequently formed when the outsourcing vendor, also termed the managed service provider (MSP), is able to economically satisfy the unique needs of each customer.

A fundamental problem for the MSP involves effectively and efficiently balancing individual customer needs and requirements within the existing set of base services to remain economically viable. More specifically, the existing set of base services and processes must be capable of delivering exponential value to enable management of evolving technologies. The MSP forms a critical advantage by supporting an operational environment comprised of software applications that are relevant, accurate, economical, timely, and reliable to facilitate proven processes and meet customer service level agreements (SLAs).

The goal of this research was to propose an economically bounded software engineering framework and proof-of-concept monitoring application suite for effective, efficient, and extensible network management automation. A mixed methods research approach was based on the survey of secondary marketing data representing 42 commercial and open source management solutions. The findings were synthesized with the literature to describe management capabilities supporting converged networks.

Additionally, software prototypes were developed to demonstrate strategic elements of the enterprise management system. Finally, quasi-experiments of eight management queries indicated significant differences between communication protocols when responding to a similar request.

The results indicated that no single protocol was efficient and effective in satisfying the needs of enterprise management under all conditions. The author recommended careful selection and assessment of each management query to optimize the ability for the MSP to economically scale while meeting customer expectations. Further, the MSP should be capable of providing adaptable monitoring mechanisms, and encourage the use of exception-based and publish/subscribe data acquisition.

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