Monday, 5 May 2008

Data Centre Automation – again

I blogged about data centre automation on the 25 March, but I forgot to say that it now has its own acronym – DCA (obviously). I mentioned that BMC had bought BladeLogic, but I didn’t mention that the price was $800 million. And since then, CA has bought Opalis Software Inc – an IT process automation specialist.

The reason behind the acquisitions and new product announcements is that software vendors can make a lot of money from automation software. And the reason for that is because companies running data centres want to save as much money as possible, and automation is a great way of doing that – even though it involves paying money to software vendors.

Good automation allows an organization to maintain the reliability of their data centres. It also allows all the processes running on the mainframe to proceed at least as efficiently as before. Lastly, it removes the possibility of operator error – whatever action is carried out is always to the same high standard.

In fact, as well as BladeLogic, BMC also bought a company called RealOps last summer. RealOps was an automation specialist. With Opalis being bought by CA, it seems likely that any smaller automation specialist company is going to feel itself alone at sea being circled by sharks – or larger software companies.

According to a recent Forrester report, Hewlett-Packard (who, as I mentioned previously, bought automation-specialists Opsware last summer) came out as market leader in the DCA space, with BladeLogic and BMC coming in second and third – although, of course, now they are a single company. Also according to this survey, CA came behind IBM – so the Opalis acquisition must be intended to push them up the rankings.

A data centre automation product has got to do far more than simply automate tasks previously performed by operators. We’re now expecting to see workload automation, process automation, provisioning automation, ITIL automation, disaster recovery automation, security automation, asset and capacity management automation, etc etc. If you think a process happens at your data centre, then you need software to automate it!

The DCA space looks like it is quite an exciting area to be in. And hopefully, as consumers, we can benefit from the efforts the software vendors are putting into being able to provide all-singing all-dancing products.

1 comment:

DM said...

Good article - thank you. One small point: CA hasn't (yet) bought Opalis; they merely announced an OEM-style relationship with them. Of course, the rumor is that CA will pick them up but it hasn't happened yet.