Run book automation pioneer Opalis is rolling out a new version of its flagship software, adding to the momentum behind the push for process automation technology.
The Opalis Integration Server Version 5.4, launched Nov. 27, a day after rival Optinuity released its own software update, adds process automation support for SOA (service-oriented architecture)-enabled applications, a new policy testing console and the availability of its Opalis Process Catalog for Virtualization.
The IT process automation space has heated up significantly in the last year, with large enterprise management players like Hewlett-Packard and BMC Software entering the market. Both HP and BMC acquired technology developed by smaller players. Fueling the interest are a couple of different factors, said Andi Mann, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates.
"A lot of the demand is driven by productivity," Mann said. "Our own research shows that automation can reduce staffing requirements by around 50 percent. Thats absolutely significant, but its not the biggest driver. The biggest driver is faster response to business needs and better security and compliance."
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A Forrester Research report offered the first market sizing forecast for the IT process automation software space. In the report by analyst Jean-Pierre Garbani, Forrester pegged the market today at about $50 million, but forecasted it to grow to about $700 million by 2015.
In refining its more mature run book automation software, Opalis addressed the need to integrate SOA-based applications into automated process flows to improve application performance management.
Version 5.4 adds new XML processing to enable manipulation and transformation of content delivered from Web services applications. "Were adding XML transformation capabilities right into the workflow. We plug right into the SOA enterprise service bus," said Charles Crouchman, chief technology offer at Opalis.
To address the hesitancy of many customers to fully automate workflows, Opalis in Version 5.4 added a new policy testing console that allows users to build their automation policies and test them in an isolated test environment.
"You can fully test your policies in an IDE [integrated development environment] sort of environment [so that] you can test your automation before you deploy it," Crouchman said.
As promised earlier this fall, Opalis also released its Process Catalog for Virtualization in the new version. The Process Catalog for Virtualization provides pre-built, fully-documented automated workflows that address virtualization. It includes provisioning and decommissioning of virtual machines, migrating virtual machines between physical servers and managing changes across VMs.
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