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Blade Logic CEO Sees $10 Billion Systems Management Market

Looking to make a name in systems management, Blade Logic has been quietly growing at a steady pace for the last four years thanks to growing interest in lowering IT costs. But with the advent of blade centers and a new wave of distributed computing, Blade Logic CEO Dev Ittycheria says this space will soon mushroom into a $10 billion market. In an interview with CRN Editor In Chief Michael Vizard, Ittycheria talks about what economic and technical factors are driving a need for a new approach to systems management at customers such as HSBC,, Priceline, Time Warner and Putnam Investments.

CRN: One of the areas that creates the most cost and general inefficiency is server management. Why are things in this space so chaotic today?

ITTYCHERIA: If you think about the day to day lifecycle of a data center, there are typically five basic things that happen in the data center. One is there's a set of people that define what are the standards around the policies that they should have in place for best practices, and the standards in terms of how we build a management infrastructure. The reality is that whatever they define as standards are unenforceable because there's no way to automate those policies because they're very manual.

The second challenge is that the provisioning tools that people have are very inflexible because they're designed around images. Every time you change hardware, you have to have a new image. Every time you change an application or a configuration update, you have to have a new image. It's inflexible and frankly unusable for changes that occur very frequently. They're not really designed to manage complex changes. They're not designed to make very fine-grain changes. And they don't have the sophistication of being able to simulate a change before it occurs to see what may go wrong, or if the application work, or be able to roll back a change gracefully if something goes awry.

The fourth area is the whole audit and remediation area, what we call the compliance management area. Many people just do compliance management on things like patches and like higher-level things like files. But there is no integration to provisioning and change automation tools. If you do an audit and find out that one server is missing a set of files, or configuration files, there's no way to feed that back into your provisioning tool to make sure that the server gets provisioned with those missing files. It's very ad hoc. It's very manual. And it's very error prone. And then in terms of reporting, you only get basic hardware or software information. It's very incomplete in terms of provisioning change and compliance history.

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