10 automation companies to watch

Established players, start-ups develop automation technologies designed to take the 'man' out of manual processes in today’s enterprise data centers

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Opsware products include Server Automation System, Network Automation System, Process Automation System, Visual Application Manager, Asset Management System, Operational Management Database (OMDB), and later this year Opsware Application Storage Automation System.

Why is it worth watching?

Opsware earlier this year acquired automation start-up iConclude, which company offices say will equip Opsware to provide IT automation and integrated change management across network, server and storage environments. According to the company, iConclude technology complements the existing Opsware suite, working to accelerate and simplify automation projects. Industry watchers say the additional technology could make Opsware an automation powerhouse.

“Opsware can leverage iConclude’s integration into the big four management products to deliver more agnostic automation across heterogeneous environments,” Forrester’s Hubbert says.

How did the company get its start?

Opsware was founded as managed-service provider Loudcloud. The original Opsware technology was developed as an engine to automate the many manual tasks associated with managing a complex IT environment. Loudcloud eventually sold its managed-services business and decided to focus its efforts on developing a complete Data Center Automation solution for IT organizations managing increasingly complex and heterogeneous IT environments.

Where did the company gets its name?

Opsware is a shortened version of operations software.

RealOps

Founded: October 2004

Headquarters: Herndon, Va.

Management: Sean McDermott, president, CEO and founder, previously founded Windward Consulting Group, a consultancy specializing in operational management solutions.

Funding: $8 million in April 2006 and $5 million in October 2004. Investors include Valhalla Partners and Palomar Ventures.

What does the company offer?

RealOps Automation Management Platform, or AMP, software that collects and integrates events from multiple systems into one library, which then works with a workflow engine to automate actions.

Why is it worth watching?

Industry watchers say RealOps technology offers end users the choice of using their existing best-of-breed technologies while also introducing IT process -- based on the best practices in ITIL -- automation into their environment.

“AMP allows customers to integrate their systems management tool into one operational management tool. RealOps sits on top of the management tools and integrates, making it easier for customers to automate without overhauling their environment,” says Evelyn Hubbert, a senior analyst with Forrester Research (listen to a podcast with Hubbert on today’s automation technologies).

How did the company get its start?

Company founders originally developed the technology to help enterprise and government clients move beyond tools restricted by IT domains to work across silos to improve daily operational efficiencies.

Where did the company gets its name?

RealOps founders crafted the name on the premise that its software would address “real operational” problems for customers.

Virtugo Software (formerly uXcomm)

Founded: uXcomm founded 2003; Virtugo founded December 2005, uXcomm acquired Virtugo Software in April 2007

Headquarters: Beaverton, Ore.

Management: George Vanecek, founder and chief architect, with previous experience designing and developing software systems at IBM, NIST, Purdue University and AT&T Labs.

Funding: Total more than $20 million, most recent round $13.6 million in July 2006. Investors include Intel Capital,

Foundation Capital and OVP Venture Partners.

What does the company offer?

On its own, uXcomm developed software used by server, storage and application system builders to develop management software. Virtugo’s technology allows enterprise IT managers to track, analyze, and diagnose virtual platforms and increase performance, optimization and manageability while aligning available resources with business needs in real time.

Why is it worth watching?

Virtugo’s capabilities are strong in virtual environments, including VMware and Xen. Industry watchers say the rapid sprawl of virtual servers and the added complexity of managing virtual environments demands automation.

“Virtualization is basically drive the need to automate more things. The number of alerts and things coming up from monitoring and management systems in virtual environments are too much for any human operator to handle,” says George Hamilton, director of Yankee Group’s enabling technologies enterprise group.

How did the company get its start?

After the company launched, uXcomm worked at creating the technology in its systems management tool that could discover and manage physical resources as well as Xen virtual resources. Virtugo focused on monitoring and optimizing VMware partitions.

Where did the company gets its name?

UXcomm executives say the company will take on the Virtugo name this month [June 26], because it more succinctly describes the company’s mission: to help customer go virtual.

Learn more about this topic

Automation software adds oomph to applications

05/22/07

IT automation: right and wrong

03/30/07

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