Opsware debuts storage automation software

By Kevin Komiega

—Last week was a big one for Opsware. Just days after announcing the availability of its first full-fledged automated storage management product, Hewlett-Packard followed with the news that its $1.6 billion acquisition of Opsware was complete.

Opsware launched its new Application Storage Automation System (ASAS)—based largely on technology acquired from storage resource management (SRM) vendor CreekPath Systems—as part of a new release of its flagship software suite, Opsware System 7.

Along with ASAS, System 7 includes updated versions of Server Automation System 7, Network Automation System 7, Process Automation System 7, Visual Application Manager 7 with cross-tier service visibility, a central Operational Management Database (OMDB), and the Opsware Network real-time service.

The various components work together to identify IT dependencies, automate the management of changes, and assess change impact in the data center while providing a single view of an application. The suite also automates the "hand-offs" between IT groups and other IT systems to automate the workflow associated with change operations across servers, networks and, with the addition of ASAS, storage.

ASAS essentially extends the capabilities Opsware System 7 to provide application-centric visibility into the storage infrastructure, including a single point of control for managing heterogeneous storage, fabric, and array resources. IT managers can use ASAS to visually depict the server-to-storage supply chain for troubleshooting and impact analysis, ensure compliance of the storage infrastructure and track storage utilization, providing an enterprise-wide view of storage capacity and utilization, according to Jason Rosenthal, Opsware's senior vice president for server automation products.

Rosenthal says Opsware integrated CreekPath's technology with System 7 to create the foundation for ASAS.

"We took advantage of the work CreekPath had done building a communication infrastructure with underlying storage. That technology gave us the ability to talk to every storage device under the sun," says Rosenthal. "We took that infrastructure and device support and built an entirely new application on top of it that is tightly integrated with our suite."

Rosenthal declined to comment on how Opsware's post-acquisition technology road map will shake out given that the company is now officially part of HP and has access to a wealth of storage technologies and resources, but he does believe there is a logical complement between HP's storage portfolio and the ASAS product.

"ASAS is a storage automation product focused on meeting the needs of server administrators, while the technology HP acquired from AppIQ and currently uses in its Storage Essentials software is designed for storage administrators," says Rosenthal. "The complementary nature of the two technologies will lead to a more holistic approach to storage management."

HP has stated that the acquisition of Opsware is intended to augment HP's portfolio in the Business Technology Optimization (BTO) market by combining Opsware's IT automation offerings with HP Software's business and IT service management capabilities. HP defines BTO as a category of software and services that help CIOs to enhance the value and optimize business outcomes from their IT investments.

HP also announced that it has appointed Opsware CEO Ben Horowitz to lead the BTO organization.

As a result of the transaction, Opsware has become a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard.

This article was originally published on September 25, 2007