On the second day of its 7,000-attendee CA World 2010 conference in Las Vegas, it announced four products in the Cloud-Connected Management Suite to help a traditional enterprise "bridge the gap" between data center operations and the public cloud. In doing so, it attempted to reposition the software firm formerly known as just CA. It wants to be a more forward-looking company, helping customers gain access to the next generation of business computing.
"We're basically buying technology on the other side of the bridge," then restructuring it to connect to the enterprise data center, said CA Executive VP Chris O'Malley, as he walked from a Monday morning keynote address through the sprawling Mandalay Bay convention center to his appearance at a press conference. He is head of CA cloud products and the former chief of CA's mainframe product line. "We believe the cloud is going to change the meaning of IT," he added at another point in the interview.
CA's recent acquisitions have included 3Tera, NetQOS, Cassatt, Oblicore and Nimsoft, all of which could be described as companies producing software for cloud computing. Nimsoft, for example, is widely used as a virtualized server management tool by managed service providers because it is designed to see into and report on a multi-tenant server, instead of a server running one or two applications.
As a result of the acquisitions, it will produce two new cloud management products later this year and two in the second and third quarters of 2011, O'Malley said. CA Cloud Insight will provide customers who are cloud users with a yardstick for measuring existing cloud providers and their services against the business goals of the organization. In six months, CA Technologies is planning on leveraging a new set of cloud definitions and metrics that will be established by the Service Management Index, a creation of Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus, and an industry consortium of backers, including CA. The metrics will be used to determine quality and performance of cloud services, according to a vendor neutral standard.
O'Malley said shoppers for cloud services will be able to pull performance statistics for difference services in the Cloud Insight product and compare and contrast services. If users favor one metric over another for their business, say security, they can weight it more heavily in the index, then view their prospects through that filter. If they value speed of virtual server response, or consistency of availability, they can view services through those filters.
"We believe cloud services are going down the path of manufacturing's supply chain," he noted. In effect there will be an IT supply chain of cloud services and "customers will need to understand the services available," he said.
CA Cloud Insight product Cloud Insight will first become generally available in October, said David Hodgson, senior VP and head of engineering on the cloud product line.
A second product, also to become generally available in October, is CA Cloud Compose. It will provide a catalogue of reusable software components for composite applications. It will be derived from the 3Tera acquisition, which included AppLogic, a product that can take an application and package it as a virtual machine targeted for a particular cloud environment. CA intends to make Cloud Compose, and the AppLogic product itself, a cross-hypervisor system that could produce cloud workloads for clouds that run Citrix Systems' XenServer, VMware's ESX Server, Microsoft's Hyper-V and perhaps other hypervisors. Cloud Compose will include both composite application creation and deployment capabilities, O'Malley said.
CA Cloud Optimize in will be generally available April 2011. In addition to the metrics supplied by the Service Management Index, Cloud Optimize will also draw on a new community that CA launched Monday, the CloudCommons.com, where any cloud customer may share an experience in what worked or didn't work for them with a cloud technology or vendor. After six months of the CloudCommons collecting data, the new Cloud Optimize product will start farming that data for information. By combining the service index with CloudCommons data, Cloud Optimize users are expected to be able to figure out what combinations of services and service providers suit them best, and provide them with the best cost structure, O'Malley said.
The fourth product in the new Cloud Management Suite is CA Cloud Orchestrate, due out by third quarter of 2011. Cloud Orchestrate will provide workflow control and policy-based automation of changes in service infrastructure, as dictated by feedback gathered by Cloud Insight, Cloud Compose and Cloud Optimize. Users will pursue efficiencies and incremental gains in the cloud by adjusting their operations to the best practices indicated by the reported statistics. Cloud Orchestrate will be built on technologies gained from the acquisitions of 3Tera, Oblicore and Cassatt, O'Malley said.