10 big IT management moves in 2009

IT management technology is foisted to the forefront as vendors race to become the primary provider of automation, control and services for tomorrow's next-generation environments

Delivering advanced management and automation capabilities is no longer just for BMC, CA, HP and IBM. Vendors such as Cisco, EMC, Microsoft and VMware are staking claims and striving to win customer favor.

Enterprise IT management technologies underwent an image makeover in 2009. No longer just the mandatory tools discussed by engineers troubleshooting problems, IT management capabilities such as automation and service delivery became central to discussions around adopting virtualization, cloud computing and other emerging technologies that high-tech executives want.

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The usual suspects -- CA, BMC, HP and IBM -- responded frequently to growing demand with technology updates, partnerships and purchases, but 2009 also saw some unexpected vendors move further into the management game. With acquisitions, alliances and product advancements, Cisco, EMC, Microsoft and VMware also incorporated management capabilities into larger strategic announcements, realizing there is money to be made in providing intelligent controls for advanced environments.

"The emergence of converged infrastructure solutions such as Cisco [Unified Computing System] and HP converged infrastructure are driving a significant range of systems management functionality closer to the hardware," says Mary Johnston Turner, research director for system management software at IDC.

Here Network World takes a look back at 10 significant moments (presented in no particular order) in the IT management market during 2009 that prove vendors across the board are prepping 2010's next big thing in management.

Infrastructure vendors make management moves

Much of the significant management news made in 2009 didn't involve familiar names such as BMC and CA.

Companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, EMC and VMware started gaining more attention for how their partnerships and product launches related to data center and policy-based management, typically only on the agenda for the market-leading 'Big Four' management vendors. That trend, according to industry watchers, could be the most notable news in the IT management market for 2009.

"All the infrastructure players are doing more in the management game, especially in the virtualization world, because for now, customers are turning to their infrastructure provider for their initial take on management capabilities. And management technology is a way to reduce total cost of ownership and obviously an opportunity for a new revenue stream," says Cameron Haight, research vice president covering IT operations management for Gartner. "The traditional management players are trying to figure out their relationship with those infrastructure vendors that are clearly augmenting their portfolios with management technology. This continuing progression from the infrastructure providers will be interesting to watch as former partners become competitors and management software makers look for ways to differentiate themselves from the pack."

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