Opsware System 7 Adds Storage Management to Mix

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Sep 18, 2007

Data center automation vendor Opsware Tuesday unveiled Opsware System 7, the latest version of its software suite.

The latest version of Opsware's flagship offering brings integrated automation to storage and bolsters functionality throughout the product suite.

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Today's data centers are all about convergence, and the new version aims to tie the server room closer together, bringing integrated automation to the storage realm, along with a feature bump to the management options available for the network, servers and IT processes.

Opsware System 7 consists of seven basic components: Server Automation System 7, Network Automation System 7 (announced last week), Process Automation System 7, Application Storage Automation System, Visual Application Manager 7 with cross-tier service visibility, a central Operational Management Database and the Opsware Network real-time service.

A major aspect of Opsware's mission is to eliminate the siloing inherent in so many organizations, Jason Rosenthal, senior vice president and general manager of Opsware Server Automation Products Division, told ServerWatch. Thus, the components work together to identify dependencies and automate the change management across them. The software also assesses the impact of changes between the various data center infrastructure elements.

Rosenthal said that virtualization is driving much of this integration.

Forrester Vice President Jean-Pierre Garbani said he believes, "Opsware has made full use of their acquisition of iConclude and come up with a solution that includes automation of configuration management at all levels. This is most definitely where IT must be headed if it wants to reach its objectives of productivity in operations."

Of all the feature enhancements in Opsware System 7, the most highly anticipated is the addition of storage automation. Application Storage Automation System (ASAS) leverages technology Opsware picked up in the 2006 acquisition of Creekpath Systems. With the ASAS module comes a host of automation capabilities and integrated storage management and reporting functions.

ASAS differentiates itself by taking an application-centric approach to storage while providing a single point of control to manage heterogeneous storage, fabric and array resources.

Opsware is hardly the first ISV to automate storage. MonoSphere and Onaro, for example, are already in this space. What sets ASAS apart is that it enables IT admins to manage storage from within the bigger picture — thus the reduction in siloing. ASAS does this by visually depicting the server-to-storage supply chain, a design intended to result in faster troubleshooting and impact analysis. ASAS' feature set also includes the ability to track storage utilization and view storage capacity and utilization from an enterprisewide perspective.

Opsware System 7's integration goes beyond storage, as do enhancements to its functionality. Server Automation System (SAS) 7, for example, now integrates with the rest of the suite from the get-go via the Process Automation System. SAS also offers application visualization, which enables users to model and visualize business apps. An application-to-infrastructure view spans applications, physical and virtual servers, storage, and network devices to provide an integrated view of an application's state of compliance.

Other functionality includes application auditing and compliance management; multiteam, drag-and-drop software provisioning; and the Opsware Platform Extension (OPE), which enables users to create and deploy new custom automation applications.

ASAS may be the newest kid on the Opsware block, but Network Automation System 7 (unveiled last week) and Process Automation System 7 (announced in August) are newbie modules as well.

Network Automation System 7, builds on the software's network change and configuration management capabilities; Process Automation System 7 integrates with Server and Network Automation System 7 to provide bi-directional integration with other Opsware Suite 7 products and enable it to be invoked directly from the Server and Network Automation System and Visual Application Manager user interfaces.

The Opsware System 7 suite is expected to ship in fourth quarter, Rosenthal said.

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