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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview with Suvish Viswanathan, ManageEngine

April 18, 2013 No Comments

In the below interview, Suvish Viswanathan from ManageEngine discusses the myths surrounding enterprise search and big data, and takes it to the next level, referring to enterprise search as the ‘Mother of All Structured Data Search’.

  • Q: There’s a lot of talk about “big data” in the industry. Is enterprise search related to big data?

A: No, enterprise search has nothing to do with big data. The hype surrounding big data makes it very easy to misinterpret any kind of search as a big data technology. While big data is important in its own right — especially in terms of data variety, velocity and volume — today there is a lot of structured data stored in enterprise RDBMSes.

In large enterprises that run multiple, different databases, it becomes extremely difficult to mine those databases because doing so requires specialized DBA skills. That is still a tangible problem which enterprise search addresses. With enterprise search, executives, managers, business analysts and other non-technical users can search any form of structured data from different databases or applications.

  • Q: How are enterprises performing search today?

A: Today, search within the enterprise is performed on a one-up basis, so users have to search each application individually. Each application vendor provides search relevant to its application. This poses a problem when you have to search for data that could span across several applications or multiple databases — for instance, looking for information about network devices that are managed by multiple IT management applications.

While talking to a few of our large enterprise customers in the banking and finance domain, we realized that they use several disparate tools to monitor and manage their IT infrastructure. These companies have thousands of networked devices, and every time they want to search for data on configured devices, like a router or a switch, they have to login to each one of those tools, one at a time, and search for the data.

In addition, users often need to have a good knowledge of the application’s database design and sound SQL knowledge to perform an otherwise simple search. As a result, search becomes very tedious and complex for business analysts or executives who don’t have much database and/or SQL expertise.

  • Q: How does ManageEngine’s enterprise search change things?

A: ManageEngine’s enterprise search can search and fetch results from multiple databases, simultaneously. And users don’t need to be engineers or techs, and they don’t need to know SQL or DB schemas. Basically, enterprise search simplifies life for IT management by:

– Auto-generating the SQL query after reading the RDBMS schema and building the relational model

– Presenting a single console to customers to search the query and visualize the retrieved data across multiple databases and applications

– Filtering the result using facets

  • Q: Is enterprise search an industry first?

A: Enterprise search is an industry first in terms of the way it mines data, without any need for the user to provide SQL queries to retrieve the data. There are other vendors in the market who provide search for structured data, but they require users to possess deep understanding of database schema and the related SQL query. ManageEngine’s enterprise search gets around this by effectively automating the process of learning and understanding the database schema and the relationship.

  •  Q: How did you gather input before developing this feature?

A: We have thousands of enterprise customers who use multiple tools for various IT operations. This triggered the idea of providing a unified search function, which can pull data from not only ManageEngine tools but other commercial applications as well. As our unified IT management efforts converge towards IT360 — which comprises data related to network, servers, applications, service desk, network traffic, and storage — it seems like IT360 is the perfect use case for mining data via enterprise.

We conducted internal surveys to gauge the interest in enterprise search based on the number of tools our customers were using. We found that approximately 83 percent of people who use multiple tools see value in enterprise search and are looking forward to being able to search for any information across their IT applications.

  • Q: You mentioned IT360 earlier. Is enterprise search going to be part of IT360? And what are your plans for enterprise search going forward?

A: With IT360, our main objective is to offer customers a unified IT management experience. Now, we’re building on that experience and upgrading IT360 with the unified IT search functionality of enterprise search. All existing IT360 customers will be able to leverage this new feature in the upcoming new release.

Today, enterprise search is developed as a framework and an extensible API that can be extended beyond just IT360. We have provided out-of-the-box capability to search across IT360, SolarWinds SAM and BMC Track-It! databases. Going forward, we plan to extend this support to other commercial applications. This will create an open ecosystem where a user could use enterprise search to search across any well-known application without any programming knowledge or effort. Ideally, this will evolve into a community effort whereby all application vendors use the open APIs provided by enterprise search to enhance the search-ability of their applications.

Suvish Viswanathan is the Sr. Analyst, Unified IT at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp where he manages the product marketing department for its enterprise IT management solution offering. He plays a key role in addressing various issues and solutions in enterprise IT with decision makers and organizations on increasing their IT productivity. Prior to ManageEngine, he worked as a global market/sales analyst for Syscon. You can reach him on LinkedIn  or follow his tweets at: @suvishv.



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