Opsware Touts Enhancements

Multimaster module for system 3 manages multiple data centers.

Opsware Inc., now that it has shed its Loudcloud Inc. name with the closing of its deal with Electronic Data Systems Corp., is moving forward with a set of enhancements and add-ons to its data center automation software.

Last week, after closing a sale with the U.S. Department of Energy, Opsware announced the ability of its namesake software to simultaneously manage application server provisioning and configuration management across multiple data centers.

The new Multimaster SAM (Service Automation Module) option for Opsware System 3, one of 67 SAMs, is aimed at large IT shops with multiple data centers running Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris, Linux and Microsoft Corp.s Windows-based servers. Multimaster SAM provides consistency of management across the data centers and a blueprint for quickly replicating server configurations in a disaster, according to Tim Howes, chief technology officer for the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

"You also get the ability to manage applications transparently across data centers," Howes said. "If you have a primary application running at one site and a backup of it at another, Opsware lets you manage it as a single application."

Outside of costly disaster recovery services, "people worry about the data, but they dont have anything to recover the system the data has to go on [in the event of a disaster]," said Corey Ferengul, an analyst with Meta Group Inc., in Chicago. "There is a lot of knowledge tied up in the configuration of the servers. People lose sight of that."

Because Multimaster SAM can replicate application server environments, it can automatically rebuild the applications, configuration settings, patches, installation order and other information required for a server in another data center.

As Opsware looks to build its business and presence as a systems management software supplier, it is likely to continue to market a series of enhancements to the Opsware System 3 platform, said Ferengul. "They want to make as much noise about their product offerings as they did about their services offering," Ferengul said. "They want to be a large-deal-type vendor, and that requires a name people recognize and a level of confidence."

Opsware is off to a good start, securing EDS, of Plano, Texas, as its first name-brand customer with a commitment to spend $52 million over three years to license Opsware.