BMC upgrades products, adds partnerships

BMC Software Inc. this week announced it has made third-party partnerships and has upgraded its software in an effort to help customers more effectively manage business applications.

The company says it is partnering with Symantec Corp., EMC Corp. and Accenture to help customers directly tie systems from those vendors with BMC’s monitoring tools. The partnerships are part of the software company’s effort to deliver on its Business Service Management strategy, announced six months ago.

Business Service Management involves modeling an application as a business service and monitoring the network, server, storage and other resources as a whole entity, rather than managing the components separately. Companies such as Mercury Interactive, with its Business Technology Optimization product suite, also intend to attack IT management from a business perspective.

On the software front, BMC introduced a new Web interface for its Service Impact Manager (SIM) 2.0 software. SIM builds a map of the network and connects the dots between network components and the applications they support.

The product uses modeling technology acquired when BMC picked up IT Masters earlier this year. The technology lets customers build models of applications and infrastructure relationships – which means the software shows network managers what routers, servers and databases an application taps into when fulfilling an end-user or customer request – and lets them save that as a service model to be monitored by BMC software.

BMC also tightly integrated its SIM and Patrol products with service desk software from Remedy, also acquired by BMC. The integration allows Remedy software to automatically generate trouble-tickets based on events and alerts collected by Patrol systems management and SIM’s monitoring of service models.

SIM 2.0 is expected to be generally available Nov. 15 and pricing starts at US$87,000.

SIM 2.0 will be able to accept data, events and alarms for Symantec’s Incident Manager security management tools, which would help network managers correlate system and security data to more quickly identify and troubleshoot problems. The same goes for EMC’s Control Center console for managing storage.

The partnership with Accenture will help BMC customers define business processes and start to manage the IT service associated with them. Intel will use BMC software to help its customers plan for capacity. And Patrol will be integrated into Siebel Systems’ Universal Application Network business integration platform to help customers monitor business processes and ensure any failures do not affect customer-facing services.

“The silos of storage, network and applications will exist, but IT managers will have to make the business case for every purchase,” says Rich Ptak, president of Ptak Associates, a consulting firm that tracks the network management market.

With the new technology partnerships in place, BMC says it will be able to tie its systems into others on customer nets, a capability that some welcome.

“To manage a business service, you have to understand every piece of the infrastructure that touches it. That’s the hard work,” says Lee Adams, vice president of infrastructure services at Hospital Corporation of American in Nashville. “It’s good to see BMC partnering, because somebody has to help us connect the dots.”

Adams helps manage the network that supports 300 hospitals, 100,000 caregivers and numerous patients, and he says applications involving medication, billing and clinical systems must be tracked closely. Right now, he has BMC working with a supplier of a healthcare application to better manage the performance of that critical system.

“Not every business service will lend itself to service management, but we need to closely track the critical ones,” Adams says. He estimates that it takes about four to six weeks to fully document the processes, people and technology involved in tracking the performance of one application.