BMC Software announced today it is launching an expanded set of cloud-management products and services, including a partnership with Amazon Web Services that is designed to help end-user companies keep control of data even outside their firewalls.
The Amazon partnership is a differentiating factor for BMC, but it's not the most important part of this set of announcements or of BMC's cloud offerings in general, acknowledges Kia Behnia, BMC's chief technology officer.
Cloud computing is an extension of virtualization - and virtualization is an extension of centralized data-center computing that requires process control, automation and policy based controls to help both with the technical operation of the data center and with the company's ability to comply with financial and other regulations on what it can do with its data, Behnia says.
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The market for cloud-based and all-in-one data-center management tools has become more crowded recently, with new packages, marketing campaigns and new produces from EMC's new Ionix business unit as well as Dell, VMware, Microsoft, NetSuite, CA and a host of startups.
BMC is extending its traditional systems management and business-process automation capabilities under the rubric of its Business Services Management (BSM) banner, which includes service automation, support, service assurance, service automation and the Atrium management software and Configuration Management Database (CMDB).
The company promises to let customers create a single catalog to centralize the applications, services and policies governing resources available through both internal and external data centers, expanding the ability to set, audit and maintain service levels on internal and external networks, and automate the provisioning, deprovisioning, change, movement and control of applications, virtual servers and other IT asset, whether they reside on servers designated within an internal or external cloud, within a virtual infrastructure, or on a more traditional data-center server, Behnia says.
The poor economy is helping to drive many customers toward virtualization and cloud computing because of the promise that both can provide more centralized and efficient management of IT resources, Behnia says.
The economy is certainly driving some interest in both technologies, but not just in the need for end-user companies to cut costs, according to Bob Laliberte, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
"There is a tremendous amount of hype around cloud right now, and all the systems management vendors are moving there because it's an inflection point," Laliberte says. "Managing virtual infrastructures has become a real priority for most companies, and cloud is an extension of that, sometimes within the data center, sometimes off-site. As customers change the way they do things, it presents and opportunity for HP or BMC or IBM to get in with customers they couldn't before."
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