Tool Gains Auto-Discovery Feature

Support for IBM AIX, Sun Solaris, Red Hat Linux also added to Opsware System.

Opsware Inc. this week will unveil its newest data center tool, which adds the ability to automate software change management across multiple data centers.

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. It also adds support for IBM AIX systems.

Opsware System 3.5 contains a blueprint of the software infrastructure in multiple data centers. The blueprint contains data on networking properties, operating system patch levels, application configurations and other parameters. By maintaining that data in multiple locations, the tool can also 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 cannot, however, discover custom applications.

A model of the inventory data is maintained inside Opsware System, providing a foundation for the tools provisioning, re-configuration or tuning functions, according to company officials.

Users at Electronic Data Systems Corp. said they believe the automated discovery is a good starting point for taking control of the 50,000 servers EDS 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 nonintrusive 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.

The plan to support multiple data centers and auto-discovery was key in EDS decision to purchase the software and Opswares managed services business.

Besides AIX support, Ops-ware, of Sunnyvale, Calif., added support for the latest versions of Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris and Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux.

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

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

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

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