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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.
Data Center Automation Manager can also integrate information from CA Change Management Database, which captures server and system configuration; CA Endeavor's software change management tracking; and CA SysView, its mainframe application performance manager.

CA Data Center Automation Manager does not yet include the mainframe. CA's management suite extends to provisioning virtualization on the mainframe through its CA Management Suite for Mainframe Linux. But that capability is "a potential future integration" into Data Center Automation Manager, said Elliot.

David Brattain, senior VP of systems at Elavon, the third-largest credit card transaction processor, said he has been using Data Center Automation Manager for more than a year as it progressed through beta versions. He maintains three data centers in the United States and several overseas. On average, his U.S. data centers are 80% virtualized, he said, using VMware's ESX Server typically on HP Inspiron x86 servers.

"We're saving 30% of our floor space" in all three data centers through server consolidation, negating the need to acquire a new data center, he said. Through Data Center Automation Manager, operations supervisors "know when we've reached a performance threshold and apply more resources (virtual machines) to avoid a slowdown or outage."

Elavon already uses several CA systems management products, including CA Endeavor and CA Wily Introscope, feeding information into Automation Manager. "We're measuring network utilization, CPU utilization and memory utilization," and managing virtual machine commissioning and decommissioning accordingly, Brattain said.

At Elavon's Denver data center, where it tests the 1 million lines of custom code it adds to its operations annually, Automation Manager "does the work of one or more system administrators" by compiling quality assurance and test managers' request for testing services, tapping the required software combinations from a library of stored virtual machines and scheduling the tests.

In its data centers around the world, Elavon processed more than 1 billion credit card payments and settlement of funds between banks in 2007. To keep up with the traffic, managing its heavily virtualized data centers is vital to the company. "We have a strong feeling that the dynamic allocation/deallocation of resources is the next thing in virtualization. We don't know anyone else doing this" in the same manner as Data Center Automation Manager, Brattain said.

In addition to Data Center Automation Manager, CA announced:

  • CA NSM 11.2 (the former Unicenter) has been enhanced to offer an integrated view of alerts and events across physical and virtual environments, both distributed and mainframe. Included is upgraded network performance management and integration with the CA CMDB. The database performance monitor provides centralized monitoring and alerting on potential database issues.
  • CA Wily APM has been optimized to manage the online customer experience associated with Web applications. It can help ensure that both .Net and Java applications meet customer experience performance goals.
  • CA Software Change Manager release 12 offers new capabilities in controlling global software development projects to meet compliance requirements.
  • CA Information Governance Suite allows the management of digital and physical records across repositories with policy-driven controls.

Virtual servers save real money on hardware and time on maintenance for stressed IT departments at small and midsize businesses. InformationWeek has published an independent analysis on this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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