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There's an interesting article in ACM Queue
about WSDM-MUWS and the prevailing standards for the management of hosts using Web Services and how this shapes up against traditional management technologies, such as SNMP. Quite interesting, one aspect that is not covered is the potential for integration of various existing management technologies using ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) technologies.
This is an area that I have considered for some time now where I can imagine applications registering callbacks with disparate alerting services. This would mean rather than paging support staff in the middle of the night because an application was running low on disk space that the application could raise an internal PO to the ERP system, have its budget checked, receive an authorisation token to present to the Storage System that would then provision the required space and finally acknowledge the alert.
Once systems management begins to integrate with current application architecture the automation opportunities are huge. Anyway enough dreaming, back to reality and manual provisioning, read the article its worth the effort.