CA retools automation portfolio

CA Technologies debuted its newly reorganized tools for automating the provisioning and management of physical, virtual and cloud-based IT resources.

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The CA Automation Suite includes two new products and four upgraded products. It's designed to make it easier for IT teams to select the appropriate tools, depending on their roles. Companies can purchase and deploy the products separately, adding capabilities at their own pace. Or users can choose from CA's three new pre-integrated bundles.

As enterprises increase their virtualization deployments and add cloud computing to the mix, it's creating new management challenges and putting pressure on IT teams to start automating more processes.

Traditional activities such as server provisioning, change management and performance monitoring become more complicated in virtualized and cloud environments, according to Mary Johnston Turner, research director for enterprise system management software at IDC.

"Automated provisioning solutions are needed to help IT teams address these challenges," Turner said. "The CA Automation Suite targets many of these requirements while providing customers with modular implementation options designed to deliver value quickly and allowing customers to ramp up use of automation at a pace that makes sense for their business."

With CA's tools, unveiled last week, enterprises can manage both physical and virtual resources, streamline server provisioning, and improve IT resource utilization, says Ryan Shopp, CA's senior director of automation product marketing. CA looked at how most companies deploy automation and then organized its tools into six products to support increasingly sophisticated requirements, he says. The automation tools follow a logical adoption curve "as companies aspire to increase their virtualization maturity and achieve cloud capabilities," Shopp says.

CA Process Automation is one of the new products, designed to help companies deliver IT services more efficiently by automating processes across platforms, applications and groups. The software includes more than 50 prebuilt data connectors from CA and third-parties such as IBM, BMC, Microsoft and VMware.

The second new product is CA Configuration Automation, which performs application and system discovery and dependency mapping. It includes 1,000 out-of-the-box system templates and policies, and users can opt for either agent or agent-less operation. Automating the configuration of IT assets can lead to greater standardization of IT services, which in turn can help companies reduce downtime and increase compliance with regulatory and IT security policies, CA says.

The four upgraded products are CA's Workload Automation, Virtual Automation, Server Automation and Client Automation.

CA's job scheduler, called Workload Automation, can be hosted and managed from both mainframe and distributed platforms. New to the product are the ability to schedule workloads in public clouds such as Amazon EC2, and the ability to manage mixed workloads for virtualized resources.

On the infrastructure front, Virtual Automation provides self-service and automated virtual server provisioning using an integrated reservation system, CA says. New capabilities include support for Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor and support for Amazon VPC.

Server Automation handles the provisioning, patching, and deployment of applications and services across physical and virtual systems, using standard templates. New capabilities include support for Hyper-V and support for Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) platform.

Client Automation (formerly known as CA IT Client Manager) automates client device management tasks including bare metal buildups and rebuilds, patch management, Windows 7 migrations and remote desktop support. New capabilities include VMware VDI linked clone management and enhanced business reporting options, CA says.

CA's new bundled options eliminate the busy work that goes along with integrating best-of-breed automation products, Shopp says.

"By pre-bundling these together, our customers don't have to focus on duct tape and baling wire to tie together individual products and make sure their APIs are talking and information is flowing. We take care of that for them," Shopp says. Customers instead can focus their energies on the people and processes that are unique to their businesses, making sure those are appropriately codified, he adds.

For instance, CA Automation Suite for Hybrid Clouds includes the tools enterprises need to provision servers and VMs to both private and public clouds. It consists of three CA modules -- Process Automation, Server Automation and Virtual Automation, plus CA's Service Catalog software.

Automation Suite for Data Centers, meanwhile, is designed for enterprises that need to manage integrated physical and virtual infrastructure and are preparing to take advantage of cloud computing. The bundle, previously called CA Spectrum Automation Manager, includes four modules: Configuration Automation, Process Automation, Server Automation, and Virtual Automation.

The final pre-integrated bundle, CA's Automation Suite for Cisco UCS, provides the same modules that are in the data center bundle and adds tools to provision and migrate servers to Cisco's UCS platform.

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Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

This story, "CA retools automation portfolio" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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