In the process, CA is backing the Cisco/VMware alliance that pairs Cisco's hardwired, virtual switch with VMware's vSphere 4 virtual machine management. Cisco is entering the blade market on the strength of its ability to offload the function of VMware's virtual switch in the ESX hypervisor to a switch external to its blade server, therefore improving the server's performance in hosting virtual machines.
Large amounts of network or storage traffic demands much of the hypervisor's attention as its software switch tries to cope with the flow.
On Monday CA announced it will provide comprehensive management services for vSphere 4 and Cisco's Nexus 1000V distributed virtualized switches.
CA will broaden its CA Spectrum Infrastructure Manager, which assesses infrastructure operation; CA Spectrum Automation Manager, which provisions servers based on policies; and CA eHealth Performance Manager so that they can view, assess and manage physical and virtual servers, their network environments, and the databases and communications on which they depend. All three are being enhanced to support vSphere 4, VMware's virtual machine infrastructure management system, and Nexus 1000V.
That integration means "the lines between physical and virtual network and systems management have blurred," said Roger Pilc, corporate senior vice president and general manager of CA's Infrastructure Management and Automation business unit. By watching both virtual and physical resources from one management console, CA customers will be better able to maintain operation of business services, he said.
Spectrum Infrastructure Manager and eHealth Performance Manager will be able to monitor events in the software infrastructure, spot anomalies, perform root cause analysis, and respond with actions that correct performance issues, Pilc said in the announcement. By being able to see network operations as well, CA's management tools will become a way to set up and manage hybrid clouds, where part of a data center's operations have been offloaded to an external source, he said.
VMware's Shekar Ayyar, VP infrastructure alliances, said in the announcement that CA's move will "help accelerate the continued adoption of virtualization within corporate data centers" and will provide "a streamlined management solution for customers' cloud computing needs."
Spectrum Infrastructure Manager includes a discovery and modeling capability that applies to both physical and virtual resources. Combined with eHealth Performance Manager, CA's tools can track VMware VMotion migrations of virtual machines from one physical server to another, updating its model of the infrastructure automatically.
The tools are meant to save time and staff expertise by tracking resources, monitoring complex processes, and minimizing noise or symptomatic reports of problems while bringing focus and knowledge to performance issues that are pending.
Spectrum Automation Manager can take information from the other two tools and use it to provision more virtual machines or decommission virtual machines according to pre-established policies, Pilc said.
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