As enterprise IT shops struggle with configuration and compliance reporting on increasingly complex application infrastructures, more and more are turning to automation tools to help ease the burden.
Three-year-old startup mValent on June 5 will seek to help solve the configuration complexity issue with the latest release of its Integrity change and configuration management software.
Version 4.0 of the software delivers new maturity milestones for the 2-year-old program.
It brings to the mix a new reporting dashboard, integration with trouble-ticketing systems such as BMC Softwares Remedy or CAs Service Desk, and it adds hundreds of pre-defined configuration rules to help establish a baseline for measuring compliance across the application infrastructure.
Although mValent competes with other configuration management or provisioning providers such as Opsware and Cendura, Integrity is unique in its ability to help IT operators quickly fix problems due to configuration errors.
"Once you identify something that needs fixing, our product automates the process of rolling out new configuration parameters and settings changes to the application infrastructure," claimed Jim Hickey, vice president of marketing at mValent in Burlington, Mass.
Integrity includes templates that operators can use to create pre-defined master configurations.
Such masters can be used to automate the process of building new application infrastructure. That approach helps to "enforce consistency of process and cuts out errors," said Hickey.
Despite the growing interest in automating configuration management, many IT shops are still performing such tasks manually.
Joe Kennedy, an IT executive at State Street Corp. in Quincy, Mass., said he finds that surprising.
"People dont have this technology on their radar screen because they dont acknowledge the problems that exist in their own infrastructures. They fail to realize that once you start to employ configuration management software in your environment, you gain significant scalability when it comes to headcount and the management of IT resources," said Kennedy, an mValent customer.
"What its doing is manually arduous, and its easy to make mistakes. A lot of the systems mistakes you run into come from [configuration] conflicts. [mValent] mitigates that for me," he added.
Although the problem has existed "for years," the increasing complexity of application infrastructure has exacerbated it.
But many IT shops dont recognize the scope of the problem, Kennedy said.
"Youre happy living with a stove until you see a microwave," he joked.
The new dashboard in 4.0 provides IT management with a view into the volume of changes that occur within the infrastructure and whether specific changes followed defined change processes.
"You can drill down to see change volume by area to see what areas are experiencing the most volume of change," said Bill Thornburg, vice president of product management in Burlington.
New reports in the dashboard are organized by application, allowing operators to see which applications produced the highest volume of changes and created the largest number of Service Level Agreement problems.
New tabular reports can be used to show auditors who has what permission to change different infrastructure components and measure how assets comply with standards.
New integration with BMCs Remedy and CAs Service Desk links high level workflow with low level changes being made in the infrastructure.
Finally, mValent automated code deployment for J2ee applications and servers to speed fixes.
Integrity 4.0 is due at the end of June.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Joe Kennedy, IT executive at State Street.