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These top IT news stories prepare operations to finish 2017 strong

Enterprise IT's Kubernetes options have drastically changed since 2016, as have ITSM and app monitoring choices. Catch up on the news that's shaping your ops tool set in 2017 here.

Keeping up with IT operations is a challenge when every week brings some new change to the vendor landscape.

Several acquisitions and partnerships have changed the face of the product market for container orchestration, IT service management (ITSM) and application performance management (APM). And more organizations look to artificial intelligence for its many benefits.

Here are the top IT news stories of 2017 thus far.

AppDynamics updates its product -- and ownership

Early this year, networking vendor Cisco purchased AppDynamics, a fan favorite among IT operations management software companies, adding another public cloud-focused company to its arsenal. Cisco, which previously acquired Piston Cloud, Metacloud and CliQr, has been inching into the public cloud space, a more difficult task than anticipated. Intercloud -- Cisco's public cloud attempt -- failed to get off the ground, leaving the vendor to start over on a new approach, which, in this instance, was to absorb an organization with a dedicated customer base.

AppDynamics customers were understandably concerned that the APM provider would meet the same fate as its predecessor. But a few months later, AppDynamics' Developer Toolkit and Enterprise iQ updates reassured users that the acquisition didn't slow down the company -- at least not yet.

ServiceNow has computers doing the thinking

ITSM provider ServiceNow established a long-term partnership with IBM in February to integrate Big Blue's machine-learning and AI technologies with its IT services automation platform.

This partnership comes on the heels of ServiceNow's DxContinuum acquisition in mid-January, another top IT news story. It displays the company's enthusiasm for the potential AI has to reinvent ITSM. The use of AI and machine learning also could push ServiceNow use into new functions outside of ITSM.

Together, IBM and DxContinuum will add algorithms for anomaly detection, autoclassification and predictive analytics to ServiceNow's product -- with plans to integrate a benchmarking component for improved performance monitoring.

Organizations seek a closer relationship with Kubernetes

This spring saw multiple acquisitions and mergers surrounding the prominent container orchestration software Kubernetes, including moves from big names like Dell Technologies and Microsoft.

Dell-owned platform as a service (PaaS) provider Pivotal debuted a Cloud Foundry update that supports Kubernetes for more cohesive IT management. Although IT organizations could use Kubernetes with Cloud Foundry before, they were often in the deep end with no buoys due to a lack of support from either vendor. Added Kubernetes support brings developers and operations admins closer together with an integrated tool set. And increased portability is a welcome improvement for IT management.

In April, Microsoft absorbed Deis, a Kubernetes development company, to facilitate Kubernetes compatibility with the Windows OS. The acquisition supports Microsoft's endeavor to back Kubernetes' interactions with Azure, its public cloud offering.

Despite this, Kubernetes isn't easy to roll out into Windows environments. Translating code for Linux into code for Windows takes work, and the alpha release in December needs time to iron out its wrinkles.

DevOps deployment tools expand

The goal of DevOps is to instigate collaboration among developers and operations, as well as the business managers using development tools. But not all product users in a DevOps toolchain are code gurus, so these tools must appeal to a broader user base.

Top IT news in early 2017 revolved around Jenkins, Ansible Tower and New Relic UIs that create the visibility, granularity and control IT ops teams need. Jenkins Blue Ocean has made continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) more granular and visible. New Relic's customizable dashboard for its APM tool increases visibility into the infrastructure stack. And configuration management command-line tool Ansible gained a shiny new UI dashboard for Tower, its proprietary management console, that enables DevOps teams to manipulate the entire pipeline from a single place.

New UIs might not be enough, though, as organizations look into CI/CD tools that go a step further on the ease-of-use spectrum. Tools like Shippable from Shippable Inc. and Spinnaker from Google and Netflix rolled onto the scene, making news in 2017 and disrupting Jenkins' hold on the market with fewer hands-on options.

Red Hat and AWS explore container portability

One of the primary draws of using containers over VMs is that they increase application portability. But getting that portability into hybrid cloud environments continues to be difficult. Open source Red Hat teamed up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to update OpenShift for container portability. This collaboration also brings AWS into on-premises data centers -- at least for Red Hat customers -- and makes AWS competitive with Microsoft Azure for organizations seeking a hybrid cloud provider.

Next Steps

The new de facto business model of IT is open source. While it works for some organizations, like Docker and Kubernetes, it doesn't always work out as well for others, such as ClusterHQ, which closed its doors in January.

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