Patrol to Get a New Look

Upgraded system management tool to offer more unified environment using common repository

Eager to appeal to IT users more concerned with business processes than simple technology, BMC Software Inc. is readying a version of Patrol that will change how the system management tool looks and acts.

The Patrol 7 architecture, set to be rolled out in stages beginning this fall, initially will give users unified Windows or Web-based consoles for system management data, a reporting portal, and enhanced desktop management capabilities. More important, this first phase of the launch, code-named Tuscany, bolsters BMCs underlying shared name-space technology, enhancing Patrols ability to extract and correlate data in a unified environment using a common repository.

"Now youll get the same functionality but with a unified view, better usability, better access, easier navigation," BMC Chief Technology Officer Kirill Tatarinov said here at the companys BMC Learning Universe user conference.

Ultimately, the improved Patrol will allow users to quickly build targeted management tool sets and offer better root cause and event correlation and analysis of management data, analysts here said.

The final three phases of the Patrol architecture, dubbed Napa, Bordeaux and Burgundy, have no timetable for delivery, according to officials, as the company is still seeking user input to guide development of Patrol 7.

Users wont see many of the benefits of the architecture shift, however, until new Knowledge Modules—agents that test and report on applications performance—are created and the name space and repository are integrated with midlevel management tools and managed node-level enhancements, officials said. No time frame has been set for the release of the new modules, either.

Beyond the first phase, "Were putting a lot of effort into midlevel management," Tatarinov said. "[Were] combining the power of the intelligent agent, which runs on the managed node, with the power of the domain manager, which runs between the console and the agent."

The move is part of BMCs effort, begun last year with Patrol 2000, to join the many arms of Patrol, which has grown in part from technologies captured in acquisitions over the past four years, such as its Best 1, Command Post and New Dimension products.

Unifying how Patrol behaves across the enterprise and incorporating management information from the companys Mainview mainframe products also plays to BMCs efforts to distance itself from its mainframe computing past.

The more flexible and tightly integrated Patrol comes at a time when IT departments are moving away from traditional infrastructure management and toward management of service levels that consider business processes over technology.

"You have to think commercially," said Aaron Cheng, group manager at Hydro One Telecom Inc., in Toronto. "You need to get serious about service-level agreements. BMC is about helping manage SLAs. So when you have an alarm, you go beyond just trying to fix things. You know every customer being affected and how."