IT management nirvana: Monitoring physical and virtual environments in one console

Vendors such as CA continue to strive toward complete software offerings that let IT operations track performance of virtual and physical infrastructure with one tool.

CA introduces Spectrum Service Assurance 1.1, the vendor’s latest management application designed to ease the challenge of monitoring virtual and physical infrastructure to support IT services and guarantee optimal performance.

Virtualization is changing the technology market for more than just server vendors.

The technology is also driving management software makers to extend their applications to monitor cross-platform virtual elements, while also keeping track of the co-existing physical environment. Bringing metrics regarding the health, availability and performance of both worlds together into one console continues to be a shared goal among leading vendors such as CA as well as a slew of industry newcomers.

Products of the Week slideshow: View a screen capture of CA Spectrum Service Assurance 1.1

Review: CA offers the strongest current option for cross-platform virtual management

The management software maker Monday introduced its CA Spectrum Service Assurance 1.1 application that company officials say will enable IT managers to monitor from one console the status of virtual and physical infrastructure components in relation to critical IT services. Using the Spectrum technology CA acquired with Concord, (which had acquired Cabletron’s management software arm Aprisma Management Technologies) the company designed a new application that performs root-cause analysis in an effort to reduce troubleshooting time in a mixed virtual-physical environment, ultimately speeding mean time to repair.

“We built on the Spectrum foundation of integration fault and performance management and also added capabilities that can address the impact of degraded performance across the physical and virtual infrastructure,” says Stephen Elliot, vice president of strategy for CA’s Infrastructure Management and Data Center Automation business units. “The software helps IT managers better and more quickly understand what needs to be fixed and who the right person is to fix it across domains.”

The service assurance software can also help IT managers set thresholds and build service models of the performance they expect from their cross-platform environment. Spectrum Service Assurance would perform automatic analytics to help fix problems and eliminate service slowdowns and failures for customers, Elliot says. Industry watchers argue such service assurance products should be the next step for many existing management technologies.

“Now is the time to start using the term service assurance more broadly in the enterprise community, to describe how intelligent, integrated monitoring should be elevated and interpreted into service constructs, abstracted across IT resources,” wrote Jim Frey, research director at Enterprise Management Associates, in a blog earlier this year.

The product is one of many product upgrades CA announced recently. From access control to project management and application management, the vendor says it is working to integrate is software to better address advanced customer environments. For instance, the company added new integration between its CA Wily APM 8.2 and CA Sysview 12.5 productst o enable application management capabilities to span distributed and mainframe environments. Because 70% to 80% of data resides on the mainframe, according to CA, it is critical to extend the reach of management products across various environments – without requiring extensive integration work on the part of customers.

“When it comes to application management, we found customers leverage transactions as a means to administer, monitor, diagnose, detect and triage problems. They are sitting in their application silo, but they need to have a meaningful conversation with someone else about application performance,” says Rick Fitz, vice president of product management at CA. “By providing tight integration between the distributed and mainframe products, we are able to break down that communications information and enable cross-enterprise application performance management.”

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