Opsware Evolves via Darwin

by Amy Newman

Opsware Monday announced the next major release of its flagship Server Automation System, software that has evolved to revolutionize network management.

Opsware Monday announced the next major release of its flagship Server Automation System (SAS). The software has code-named Darwin because Opsware believe its impact on IT automation will be revolutionary.

Opsware SAS takes the stance that in today's complex data center, "the network is part of the application," Sharmila Shahani, executive vice president of marketing told ServerWatch.

With 70 percent of most IT budgets used to sustain and run the infrastructure, Shahani sees the desired IT equation as the reverse, and this version of SAS seeks to reign in the chaos and make this possible.

The software takes a two-pronged approach to IT automation. It attacks compliance management through the Compliance Automation feature set and eases the automation of large, heterogeneous IT environments through Opsware ExpressAutomation.

Compliance Automation capabilities automate all aspects of server and application compliance throughout the software stacks — from granular policy-based auditing with automated remediation to a Compliance Center that generates out-of-the-box reports to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, ITIL, COBIT, and other regulatory requirements.

The other key component of the release is the ExpressAutomation feature set, which is designed to deliver the the benefits of utility computing and an automated IT environment without the overhead they usually entail. ExpressAutomation does this by automating the most time-consuming tasks inherent in transitioning to an automated environment.

Key features in the area of Compliance Automation are the following:

  • Audit and Compliance Engine, Opsware's server auditing and compliance engine, enables the granular auditing of servers and applications and ensures adherence to corporate and regulatory compliance policies
  • Dynamic Server Groups, allows policies and best practices to be applied to groups of servers based on their profile and group criteria
  • Application Configuration Management enables the simultaneous and granular configuration of applications across multiple servers
  • Compliance Reporting for all major regulatory initiatives, including SOX, HIPAA, and ITIL

ExpressAutomation features are designed to speed deployment and have administrators up and running within a few hours. The most dramatic new feature is Remote Terminal, which enables administrators to, "log on to Opsware SAS from any machine on the network," Shahani said. Other features of ExpressAutomation are the following:

  • Automated Discovery automatically discovers servers, network devices, and other IP devices at the rate of several hundred per hour
  • Automated Deployment automates the process of bringing discovered servers under management
  • Opsware Server Explorer localizes the browsing and control of any server, regardless of location
  • Premium Policies & Content Pack is a collection of out-of-the-box policies capturing industry best practices around deployment, configuration, security lockdown, and management of common applications and platforms

Opsware SAS is currently in beta. It is expected to be generally available in June.

This article was originally published on Tuesday May 17th 2005
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