CA Delivers on Cloud Investment With Service-Measurement Suite

It’s taken a full year and upward of $700 million in acquisitions, but CA Technologies (yes it’s a new moniker) finally delivered on its cloud-computing strategy with several major product announcements. The Cloud-Connected Management Measurement Suite — the centerpiece of CA’s announcements — leverages pieces technology it acquired from Cassatt, Oblicore, NetQoS, 3Tera and Nimsoft over the last year, as well as, no doubt, large amounts of internal innovation within CA.

As I describe in detail in my research note on GigaOM Pro (sub required), the new products –- Cloud Insight, Cloud Compose, Cloud Optimize and Cloud Orchestrate –- attempt to simplify decision-making by letting organizations know what services are available to them and which of their physical, virtual or cloud-based resources are for hosting them. The products complement CA’s infrastructure-management tools, which now support Cisco UCS and provisioning in Amazon Web Services. With these products, CA has set the bar for how management software must act within cloud-connected organizations. It must recognize resources of all types, understand that some services will be hosted elsewhere, and somehow enable users to make sense of it all.

Of course, evolution happens fast in cloud computing, and there’s no telling what the competitive landscape will look like once the products start becoming available in the fourth quarter of this year. Competitors — be they systems-management vendors like IBM, or virtualization vendors like VMware, or both, like Microsoft — fully understand the cloud market (some played integral roles in shaping it, in fact), and they could invest in research or acquisitions to match CA’s service-focused approach to cloud computing. CA might have more innovations up its sleeve, too, which will just serve to up the value proposition for its products. Furthermore, the company maintains partnerships with vendors like VMware and Microsoft around their hypervisors, so customers might be able to build best-of-breed virtualized environments.

However, the success of CA’s approach actually might hinge on the success of the Carnegie Mellon University-led SMI Consortium and the Cloud Commons, two new entities backed by CA and on which which its new software rely heavily. SMI stands for “Service Management Index,” which is a matrix of six factors against which cloud services are rated. Cloud Commons contains SMI rating for thousands of cloud services, as well as qualitative data from experts and users, and CA Cloud Insight compiles SMI ratings for internal services to compare against what’s available in the cloud. It will be interesting to see what happens if neither efforts catches on before the first of CA’s products hits shelves in the fourth quarter, or if competitors latch onto both and incorporate them into their own virtualization- and cloud-management offerings.

Read my full report for in-depth product, competitive and roadmap analysis, and attend Structure 2010 to hear how the rest of the software industry is tackling the cloud.

Photo courtesy CA Technologies.

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