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CA Embraces Virtualization As Future Of Data Center Management

CA Data Center Automation Manager is one of 10 new automation products launched this week, but it's the one that most reflects where data center automation may be headed.

CA, the big systems management vendor, is launching a new data center management product to run a heavily virtualized data center as a flexible resource of expanding and contracting virtual machines.

CA Data Center Automation Manager is one of 10 new automation products launched by CA on Tuesday, but it's the one that most reflects where data center automation may be headed. It views physical and virtual machines as one resource that can be managed by a rules engine enforcing administrators' policies.

If systems management meant in the past such venerable engines as CA Unicenter and HP OpenView keeping a watch over operations, it will mean in the future "taking the next step into actively managing them," said Stephen Elliot, CA's VP of strategy for infrastructure management. CA's announcements today plunge it into managing virtual as well as physical resources from a single management console.

CA Data Center Automation Manager, a $154,000 product, can see both active and sleeping virtual machines. It can provision new virtual machines by cloning variations from an existing core set. It can consult the CA CMDB (Configuration Management Database) and see what capacities existing servers have, whether their usage has been recently realigned, and what resources remain to be tapped. It can provision new virtual machines as an application falters or decommission them as traffic declines, Elliot said.

Users of Data Center Automation Manager can integrate it with other CA system management products, although they are not a prerequisite. Elliot emphasized how the insight into performance goes far below the level of whether the server's still running through CA Wily APM, its tool for gaining a view of how well an application is performing.

Wily APM, or application performance management, is a hot new area for CA with the acquisition of Wily Technology in 2006, the maker of a sophisticated Java application management tool, Introscope. Wily APM consists of Introscope 8 and Wily Customer Experience Manager 4.2. Metrics from both systems can be collected and fed back into Data Center Automation Manager to help determine the virtual machine resources that are needed. In August, CA announced it had garnered more than 1,000 customers for its Wily product set.

As if to emphasize management through the virtualization layer, CA is de-emphasizing its former systems management flagship, CA Unicenter Network and Systems Management, now renamed simply CA-NSM. Instead, it's giving a full name to its additional layer of management that incorporates virtual resources. Many of the other nine upgraded products carry the release 11.2 designation, and Data Center Automation Manager 11.2, while new, also assumes that numbering nomenclature.

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