CA Releases Configuration Management Database

The vendor plays catch-up with rivals BMC and IBM/Tivoli in the CMDB market.

CA on Sept. 27 will officially enter the configuration management database fray when its own CMDB becomes generally available.

CA at the same time said that the automated application dependency discovery and mapping technology it acquired earlier this month with its Cendura acquisition will be offered to CA CMDB customers as a free upgrade by the end of the year.

The CMDB, a core technology component for implementing IT Infrastructure Library best practices for IT service management, can act as a single source of truth on the state of application infrastructures.

While rivals such as BMC Software and IBM have had CMDB products in the market for some time, CA is playing catch-up with those vendors, according to Rich Ptak, principal at Ptak, Noel & Associates, in Amherst, N.H.

"We still see CA as trailing in the overall CMDB market, but they and BMC are making a much more effective effort in trying to help their customers get online with the CMDB technology and apply it in their environments," he said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about CAs CMDB, click here.

Toward that end, CA took several steps to help speed customers implementations. Its CMDB includes 70 relationship templates, 140 pre-defined Configuration Item classes, 200 reports that require no customization and several adapters for integrating CI data.

CA also added integration with Microsofts Systems Management Server along with several adapters to allow users to gather and maintain a single view of configuration data, whether it comes from CA, third-party IT management applications or home-grown applications.

And CA exploited the common services implemented within its Unicenter R 11 release to integrate the CMDB with its Unicenter NSM, Service Desk, Asset Management and Asset Portfolio Management tools.

"We spent a great deal of time analyzing and researching and working with industry standard groups to make sure time to value for implementation is very rapid," claimed Helge Scheil, chief architect for CAs Business Service Optimization Business Unit, in Redwood City, Calif. "Weve done that by pre-populating with metadata different types of configuration items—servers, network devices and so on. Not the actual instances but the type of assets and projects. That expedites the time it takes to implement a CMDB because customers dont have to first worry about a model to track IT infrastructure," he added.

Beyond those steps, CA is offering the CMDB along with a packaged set of implementation services to help speed time to value for CMDB projects.

The package, called the Service Management Accelerator, combines the products with a rapid implementation methodology and a maturity methodology to ensure that the products are implemented properly and that the scope of projects is appropriate.

"We find a lot of CMDB projects go across all of IT and into the business. When projects drag out forever, the failure rate is much higher. Our consultants go in with the maturity assessment methodology, the CMDB, a training program and templated implementation plans that are customized to the scope the customer wants to tackle," he said.

The implementation times vary with each customer, but Scheil has seen some projects completed in as little as 90 days. "There are a lot of policy and process-related matters involved. It depends on whether the organization has those in place or not. The horror stories were trying to avoid are the one- to two-year projects, where the risk of failure is high," he said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.