Data Center Automation Tool Gets Upgrade

Opsware tool makes automating software change management across multiple data centers a reality.

Automating software change management across multiple data centers will become a reality next week with the latest release of Opsware Inc.s data center automation tool.

Opsware System 3.5, along with its new Multi-Master capability, adds the ability to automatically discover software, down to the patch level, running on systems in the data center and also adds support for IBM AIX systems.

Opsware System 3.5 contains a blueprint of the software infrastructure in multiple data centers. The blue print contains data on networking properties, operating system patch levels, application configurations and so on. By maintaining that data in multiple locations, the tool can be used for rapid disaster recovery.

The new auto discovery capability can determine which operating systems, hardware properties, patch levels and middleware versions are running on data center servers. It cant, however, discover custom applications. A model of the inventory data is maintained inside Opsware System, providing a foundation for the tools provisioning, reconfiguration or tuning functions, according to company officials.

Users at EDS believe the automated discovery is a good starting point for taking control of the 50,000 servers it intends to manage with Opsware System.

"When you take an existing installed base, you have to have a base to start from. You cant build everything from the ground up. This is a non-intrusive way to begin to get automated control over other environments," said Steve Lapeaas, senior director of automated Web hosting services at EDS, in Plano, Texas.

In fact, the plan to support multiple data centers and auto discovery was key in EDSs decision to purchase the software and Opswares managed services business.

"This release helped drive our decision to do the acquisition earlier this year," he said.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company also added support for IBMs AIX as well as the latest versions of Sun Microsystem Inc.s Solaris and Red Hat Inc.s Linux.

That too is vital to EDS as it expands the scope of its Opsware implementations control.

"The initial version concentrated on the Web hosting space, but as you move into the enterprise you have heterogeneous hardware and software. If you can name the OS, its running somewhere in EDS. The more interoperability they can create—that just enhances their product," said Lapeaas.

As Opsware continues its steady cascade of enhancements to the Opsware System, it will add support for more operating systems—including HP-UX in version 3.6, due out in January.

That release will also add the ability to automatically roll back configuration changes to a previous state.