BMC software the IT service management vendor that is arguably best known for producing the Remedy ITSM product, also has an interest in providing a broad set of tools for the management of enterprise’s IT assets – it’s cloud life management (CLM) and cloud operations management (COM) toolsets are platforms aimed at managing virtual infrastructure over it’s entire lifecycle. The mantra BMC is trying to get across is one of plan/build/run, where it’s product portflio helps an enterprise manage the complete lifecycle of its cloud assets.
Part of this lifecycle occurs chronologically across time (at planning, deployment and management stages) and part of it also occurs vertically across different levels of the stack and across different flavors of infrastructure. To this end CLM 3.0 announces a number of heterogeneous and higher stack functionalities including;
- Support for SaaS request & provisioning
- Integrated with Database and App Release Automation
- IBM LPARS platform support
- Integration with VMWare vCloud Director
- Integrated metering for chargeback
- Cleaner, shopping cart UI experience
All in all a broad offering but there is an area not supported by the existing offering and that is application deployment or in today’s modern parlance, DevOps. BMC is seeking to remedy this with the acquisition of Austin, TX based deployment specialist VaraLogix. The DevOps terms is a somewhat ephemeral concept but broadly relates to a coming-together of development and operations roles (formerly a very polarized split) where by developers have a degree of oversight over the operational aspects of their application deployment. Automation is one part of that puzzle (most notably delivered from products like Puppet and Chef) but there is also a lot of management and monitoring functionality that is important to the DevOps role also.
VaraLogix itself creates the “Q” product which automates deployment and configuration management for both .NET and Java applications. It does so with a centralized management console and the creation of a release repository for archiving of all application components.
The enterprise world is slowly (but surely) moving on from a heavily siloed situations where development and infrastructure are two different worlds. At the same time they’re moving to a far more heterogeneous take on technology than previously. These two changes together raise the question about the need for a central management view on IT operations that combines heterogeneous infrasturcture management alongside application development and deployment toolsets.
Given this – the acquisition of an application deployment product by an infrastructure management company would seem to make sense. And conceptually it does. The reality however is that it is very difficult for an existing company to nicely combine an acquired product alongside an existing on. If my concept of how the future will look for enterprises is right, simply offering two vaguely related products from one vendor simply won’t cut it, rather what is needed is a single pane of glass that spans various horizontal infrastructures and vertical components. In the release announcing the acquisition BMC suggests that VaraLogix will be integrated into the new BMC Release Lifecycle Management products – we’ll have to see how that goes.
In the short term the option of application deployment tools might fill the check-boxes of IT decision-makers who want to be able to give a vague nod in the direction of lean development methodologies and DevOps, it’s not really a long-term and future proofed approach. Rather I see the future as being a much deeper infra and application management solution, that’s one of the reasons that I’m involved with Appsecute (see disclosure regarding this) where the vision is to provide tools that give developers the freedom to use whatever infrastructure platforms and tools they want, to have complete control over their development and test environments, and then to still be able to hand over their apps to IT when they go into production. The second part of that is to provide tools that give IT Operations the freedom to control their production environments, and to have complete visibility over the development and test environments as well. In practice this means a broad solution that includes things like access control, monitoring, escalation, deployment and migration that work across a range of infrastructure vendors and development platforms, whatever each developer or business unit happens to be using. Appsecute CEO Mark Cox riffed on this theme in a recent blog post.
If BMC can cleanly tie together CLM tools alongside its RLM products – then there is the possibility that the combined product offering could become very compelling. History would suggest that outcome is probably unlikely.