Function Complexity

Function complexity results from the variety of different management functions that are to be integrated. Two factors determine function complexity: the number of distinct functions that need to be integrated, and the depth with which you want integration to occur. This is characterized in the following equation—again, a product, not a sum, for analogous reasons as for the previous equations:

Function complexity = f(#management functions) * f(integration depth)

The fact that the number of functions that are to be integrated is a factor in determining integration complexity should intuitively be clear. A system that integrates functionality from multiple applications tends to be significantly more complex than the sum of the complexities of each application being realized in its own respective system. The number of management layers that need to be addressed in integrated fashion can also be factored in here. Addressing application management, service management, and network management each through their own respective system is significantly simpler than trying to have them all seamlessly integrated.

The depth of integration is a little harder to capture. It has to do with the extent to which functions are really integrated. It is possible for integration between management functions to be very shallow, reflecting the fact that they are internally realized through separate and largely independent applications. For example, two management functions that are only shallowly integrated might share their user administration and be launchable from the same screen but have little else in common. The look and feel of their graphical user interfaces (GUIs) might still differ, data and internal databases might not be shared, interfaces that are exposed to other applications might be entirely disjointed, and access to managed devices might not be coordinated. Deep integration, on the other hand, might make it virtually impossible for users to distinguish where one application ends and another begins, or even whether multiple applications are involved at all. Obviously, deep integration is much harder to achieve than shallow integration.

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