BMC adds IT automation capabilities with RealOps

Management software maker BMC on Thursday announced it has acquired run-book-automation vendor RealOps.

The deal, the financial details of which were undisclosed, brings run-book, or IT-process automation technologies, to BMC’s business service management (BSM) portfolio. Company executives say it gives BMC an edge over its top competitors including CA, HP and IBM.

“The acquisition of RealOps provides BMC with a mature product that fits well with our BSM strategy and delivers industry-leading capabilities that competitors like HP Software talk about but can’t deliver,” said Jim Grant, senior vice president and general manager of BMC’s Enterprise Service Management business unit and a former vice president and general manager of the HP OpenView business at HP.

Specifically, RealOps will extend BMC’s Remedy IT-process automation platform and tie into BMC’s Atrium configuration management database. “Organizations today need strong ties between operations and service management,” Grant said in a press release.

RealOps, based in Herndon, Va., was founded in October 2004, around the same time as competitors OpTier and Optinuity. The start-ups separately looked to ease the manual labor required to perform common IT-operations tasks. The technology, dubbed run-book or IT-process automation by such analyst firms as Gartner, lets IT shops automate common procedures typically performed manually by IT staff. Vendors such as Opsware, Opalis and Network Automation also provide such capabilities, which industry watchers say the big four management vendors will be looking to bring into their respective product portfolios soon.

“The next big step for the big four management vendors is a move into automation in the areas of active configuration management and dynamic resource allocation. It will be a big disruptive play and a defining technology when they move into automation technologies,” says Will Cappelli, a research vice president at Gartner. “It will be more of a challenge for BMC and CA than for HP and IBM because the latter have server and storage technologies from which they can incrementally grow. BMC and CA will have to almost spring into the market with a fully shaped technology through acquisition.”

The appeal of such automation platforms is their vendor-neutral capabilities. That means not only will BMC be able to kick off automation in its own products, but its software working with RealOps will be able to automate tasks on the third-party systems customers inevitably will have in-house.

RealOps integrates with several existing products, industry watchers say, letting it carry out automation across heterogeneous environments. “AMP [RealOps Automation Management Platform] allows customers to integrate their systems management tool into one operational management tool. RealOps sits on top of the management tools and integrates, making it easier for customers to automate without overhauling their environment,” says Evelyn Hubbert, a senior analyst with Forrester Research (listen to a podcast with Hubbert on today’s automation technologies).

The data is aggregated, normalized and correlated against AMP’s predefined activity library, which lets the software identify whether the data matches a predefined automated action in AMP’s library. If so, the tool kicks off the automation. If a server doesn’t respond to predefined standards, for instance, the software will generate a trouble ticket.

The RealOps acquisition follows BMC’s May purchase of performance management vendor ProactiveNet. ProactiveNet equipped BMC with technology to pinpoint more quickly the source of performance problems across network, systems and application environments.

BMC says the RealOps team structure will not change, and the RealOps CEO will report directly into BMC.

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