Opsware Gives CIOs View of Resources Use

Data Center Intelligence module will give users a portal-like view into all the data gathered through the Opsware software to help them determine how their IT dollars are being used.

Opsware Inc. next week will unveil software designed to give CIOs and other executives a more clear view into their data center resources and how those resources are being used.

Data Center Intelligence will be an add-on module when the Sunnyvale, Calif., company launches the next iteration of its namesake data center automation software, Opsware 4.0, in September.

According to Chief Technology Officer Tim Howes, DCI will give users a portal-like view into all the data gathered through the Opsware software—from operating system and software provisioning to patching, code deployment and configuration. Users can then crunch those numbers to determine how their IT dollars are being use, and how to best use them.

"To a lot of [executives], most of their infrastructure today is really a very black box," Howes said. "They know what theyve spent, but they dont know what theyre getting for their money.

"[DCI] gives you a view not of what you bought, but how what you bought is being used, and thats how a lot of IT decisions are being made."

Chief information officers are being pushed by CEOs and others for answers to questions ranging from what their resources are being used for to which employees are using them. Data Center Intelligence is designed to help them have those answers by enabling them to mine the data and see the trends in their use of IT resources.

Users also will be able to integrate data from other sources within the company—such as other management software, including Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView or IBMs Tivoli offerings—to increase the amount of data being analyzed.

In addition, front-line administrators also will be able to see where the bulk of their costs are being spent, and adjust accordingly.

Sixty-five percent to 80 percent of IT costs are spent managing existing systems, Howes said. Getting a better look into those systems will help in managing them, he said. For example, administrators will be able to see which systems are experiencing the greatest and most frequent changes.

"The frequency of change seems to be a good indicator on where the greatest amount of costs are going into the infrastructure," said Raj Gossain, senior director of product marketing.

DCI offers a variety of information, according to Opsware officials. Included is data related to activity related to data center resources, such a how employees are using the systems, productivity metrics, and which servers, software and applications require the most management. The software also tracks how servers are being used and to what degree and which software licenses are deployed on which systems, and such information as server configuration and patch data.

The result is better agility and reduced costs and risks in the data center, they said.

Looking forward, Howes said Opsware is looking to expand the reach and capability of its software beyond servers and into areas such as networking and storage devices. The company also wants to ease the integration of Opsware into a businesss IT infrastructure, and to support such e-commerce applications as enterprise resource planning.