Not that long ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Jason Liu, CEO of UC4 Software. We had an interesting conversation about automation of business processes. UC4's vision is interesting.
What UC4 has to say
- New Data Center Tech Could Cost More Than it Saves – Because of added complexity, virtualization and cloud benefits will be reduced and potentially negated without automation.
- Data Centers are Highly Manual – Believe it or not, most data centers are still highly manual but enterprise computing requirements are expanding exponentially. If you think about how the telephone industry started, operators manually connected calls (very much analogous to today’s IT departments). When call volume grew exponentially, phone companies automated with switches. In IT, automation will be the switch, orchestrating computing capacity requirements across physical, virtual and cloud environments, operating systems and applications.
- With Automation Comes Intelligence and Cost Reduction – Intelligent automation platforms will predicatively diagnose and trigger IT resources at precisely the right times, around the clock, reducing manual resource requirements and computing capacity expense. After all, forgetting to shut off the cloud is much more costly than forgetting to shut off the light.
UC4 provides a single, vendor and platform-agnostic view across all IT systems and business processes and the ability to manage and automate across all IT platforms. The company is growing fast with 1,800+ customers worldwide, more than 95 percent of which recently stated that they would buy UC4 again.
Snapshot analysisIt is clear that today's datacenter is extremely complex. The proper tools are required to allow staff to see what is happening, become aware of pending issues and deal with them before they turn into application or workload slowdowns or failures.
One of the more challenging issues is that today's modern datacenter looks like a computer museum. It contains mainframes, midrange machines, industry standard systems, storage servers, network servers, power supplies and, of course, air conditioning equipment. Today's modern applications are built as services that are spread over multiple computers that may reside in many datacenters. Each of these services may be supported on a number of different types of systems, each running different operating systems, using different application frameworks and database systems.
A tool that addresses only part of the needs of the environment can then be seen as yet another problem for IT staff to manage. IT then has to decide are the benefits offered by this tool strong enough to outweigh the need for special expertise, the need for custom scripts to link this tool into everything else that is being used to manage the environment, and the added costs of software licenses, machines to support this tool and the like. Very view automation tools take a holistic view of the entire environment.
I often speak to suppliers of management and automation tools and am surprised that their efforts either totally or largely address industry standard systems running Linux and Windows and all of the other components of a modern datacenter are ignored (as if they didn't exist.) Most don't consider power, air conditioning, security and other important systems in the datacenter.
UC4 is one of the few who mentions mainframes, Linux and Windows. I didn't see a mention of UNIX (includes AIX, HP-UX, Solaris and many others), but they may support this and I just missed it in their presentation materials.
Management and automation of datacenters is a big job. UC4's tools just might be what's needed in some environments. All-in-all, it's worth reviewing what they offer.