New tool takes the

Nearly two years after its first release, Platform Computing recently announced version 2.0 of its SiteAssure system.

According to the Toronto-based company, SiteAssure 2.0 is a policy-based automation system for distributed computing environments. The system monitors the characteristics of a distributed computing cluster and reconfigures the cluster as required.

“With 2.0 we have generalized the solution and have gone much broader and made it essentially a general-purpose IT operations automation tool,” said Rodney Jones, manager of advanced customer engineering for Platform. “Because SiteAssure is resource-agnostic, you can detect events or conditions in pretty much any resource be that storage devices, file systems, applications, servers, network devices and even content things that go over the wire and take some kind of action.”

Jones said that SiteAssure 2.0 applies policy-based management to networks of workstations and networks of distributed computing environments where IT operations become significantly more complex as CPU power is added.

“It is a lot of process involved in maintaining that distributed infrastructure,” he said. “The (issues) have always been to keep centralized computing because although it has always been more expensive up front, the cost of maintaining and managing that infrastructure is actually quite less.”

He added that the role of SiteAssure is for it to act as the IT operations central knowledge repository and execute rules and policies automatically without the IT administrator having to intervene.

Platform’s vice-president and product line general manager, Ian McKay, noted that with 2.0, administrators can spend more time sharing knowledge and less time writing custom scripts.

“They have all the right buzzwords,” said Richard L. Ptak, senior vice-president of Framingham, Mass.-based The Hurwitz Group. “The fact that they hit all the right buttons (with SiteAssure 2.0) is impressive.”

Although Ptak admitted Platform has not briefed Hurwitz on the product, he did say the marketplace in general needs automated policy-based remote management tools and capabilities.

“What (SiteAssure) is doing is automating the response,” Ptak said. “It allows you to have an agent…that sits on the infrastructure and watches what happens. What it would do is, typically when an event is kicked off, instead of just going and notifying somebody it will actually execute a piece of code that attempts to fix the situation.”

Ptak compared a typical IT dilemma to that of a swimming pool filter. He said that what a filter would do is automatically fill the pool when the water levels became to low.

“It allows you to automate and correct problems without having a human to interact with it,” he said. “It can be virtually any process that a human could do that doesn’t require judgement.”

Platform Computing said SiteAssure 2.0 is designed to have little impact on the resources that it monitors and can be integrated with existing management frameworks including Tivoli, CA Unicenter and HP OpenView.

SiteAssure 2.0 is available at the end of this month and pricing starts at US$35,000. For more information, visit