CA Automation Suite - balancing best of breed and suite

CA balances best-of-breed and suites for physical, virtual and cloud-based solutions

Organizations wanting to make the most of the capabilities of their IT infrastructure need tools that make it easily possible to monitor, administer and optimize their client systems, servers (both virtual and physical), single system processes and multi-system workloads. The challenge over the years has been whether it would be best for the organization to select a few best-of-breed (BOB) or an integrated suite of tools  The suite might make things easier to use, but the BOB tools are often more powerful.

CA just launched a salvo of  tools and suites that appear to be designed to stike a balance between those two approaches. Here's how CA desribes their offering:

Business Service Automation
  • NEW: CA Process Automation helps reduce operational expenses, increase staff productivity and increase speed in delivering IT services by documenting, automating, and orchestrating a range of processes across platforms, applications, and IT groups. Key features include a graphical designer interface, over 50 CA Technologies and third-party pre-built data connectors, and visual exception handling. These features provide context to the architects of the tasks being automated and enable quicker results.
  • NEW: CA Configuration Automation enables greater standardization of IT services, reduced downtime, and increased compliance with regulatory and IT security policies by providing application and system discovery and dependency mapping across a range of applications and distributed physical and virtual servers. Key features include granular configuration tracking and auditing; more than 1000 out-of-the-box application, service and system templates and policies; and the flexibility of using either agent or agent-less approaches.
  • CA Workload Automation automates and optimizes the scheduling of enterprise workloads, helping IT meet service level objectives of mission critical workloads. The solution can be hosted and managed from both mainframe and distributed platforms, offering choice and flexibility to data center managers. New capabilities include enhanced agents that support more than 50 job types; dynamic management of mixed workloads for virtualized resources; and the ability to schedule workloads in public clouds such as Amazon EC2, manage business workloads and IT services as a single process, and monitor an entire business process and perform impact and root cause analysis in the event of a job failure.

Infrastructure Automation
  • CA Virtual Automation provides self-service and automated virtual server provisioning using an integrated self service reservation system; built in templates and reports for chargeback; and public, private, and hybrid cloud support, including the ability to directly provision applications into Amazon EC2. New capabilities include support for hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V and support for Amazon VPC.
  • CA Server Automation dynamically provisions, patches, and deploys applications and services across physical and virtual systems based on standard templates and key performance metrics. New capabilities include support for new hypervisors, including Microsoft Hyper-V and support for Cisco UCS.
  • CA Client Automation (formerly CA IT Client Manager) integrates and automates a wide range of client device management tasks such as bare metal buildups and rebuilds, patch management, migration to Windows 7 and remote desktop support. New capabilities include application virtualization management, VMware VDI linked clone management, and business reporting options.

New Pre-Integrated Solutions
  • CA Automation Suite for Hybrid Clouds is designed for enterprises interested in building an internal private cloud and also potentially planning to leverage a public cloud as a part of their data center strategy. CA Automation Suite for Hybrid Clouds helps standardize IT service delivery to business customers through a unified, self-service reservation system and seamless administration. The integrated solution includes three automation products: CA Process Automation, CA Server Automation, and CA Virtual Automation; and CA Service Catalog and Accounting.
  • CA Automation Suite for Cisco UCS is designed for enterprises scaling out a Cisco UCS solution in their data centers that needs heterogeneous configuration and provisioning support and industrial-grade scalability. The integrated solution includes joint CA Technologies and Cisco developed content for CA Configuration Automation, CA Process Automation, CA Server Automation, and CA Virtual Automation that enables images to be moved to Cisco UCS from non-Cisco UCS servers.
  • CA Automation Suite for Data Centers is designed for enterprises looking to maximize the benefits of managing integrated physical and virtual infrastructure and preparing to take advantage of cloud computing’s benefits. This integrated solution, previously called CA Spectrum Automation Manager, is comprised of CA Configuration Automation, CA Process Automation, CA Server Automation, and CA Virtual Automation.

Snapshot analysis

It appears that CA has done a good job of scoping out what organizations need to deal with a rapidly chaning world. They've balanced the needs of those seeking best of breed tools with those wanting a well-integrated suite. They're also offering tools for physical systems, virtual systems and cloud computing solutions.

These new tools and suites are worth a look.