CA and Unisys to address

CA Technologies and Unisys Corp. are extending their partnership to offer a packaged service aimed at helping IT shops avoid virtual stall and build a better cloud computing strategy.

The agreement, which was announced Tuesday, is focused squarely on virtual stall, an issue that arises after organizations have grabbed the initial cost savings from consolidating their physical machines and can no longer expand their virtualization infrastructure beyond low-risk test and development servers.

CA data has shown that after 30 per cent of servers are virtualized at a typical global enterprise, the company usually beings to encounter issues in their production environment. This includes more pressure on staff, lack of technical skills in IT, decreasing line of business visibility, and a lack of automated monitoring and reporting capabilities for virtual resources.

“At the 25 to 30 per cent range, people have begun to hit the ceiling,” said Yale Tankus, vice-president of business development at Islandia, NY-based CA. “They hit a fair amount of issues they hit on the policy management side, such as how you monitor and alert based around problems that occur in the virtual environment.”

As part of the alliance, CA will bring its CA Service Catalog, CA Service Accounting and CA Automation Suite for Data Centres to customers. With the data centre product suite, CA offers products for process, server and virtual automation.

It will be packaged with data centre and cloud advisory, planning, design and implementation services from Unisys. This includes data centre move and consolidation services, IT Service Management (ITSM) consulting, and cloud awareness services.

Both companies added that relevant new services will be added to the joint offering as they come on-stream.

Colin Lacey, vice-president of data centre transformation services and solutions at Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys, said that even though IT leaders are still rapidly engaging in server virtualization, automation technologies and cloud investing, many barriers with the client environment are preventing them from reaching their end goals quickly.

“We’re trying to deliver a repeatable approach to bring clients rapidly to cloud end-state,” he said. “This is really about taking a known set of clearly defined service capabilities and bringing them together with market leading technologies from CA.”

Lacey said that in almost every company Unisys has worked with in an advisory role, virtual stall has stood out as a core issue that needed to be addressed.

“When we typically engage with an enterprise, we find that we have to take a step backwards and make sure we’re automating the best processes, and not just any processes,” he said.

“Just as you can take a physical mess and turn it into a virtual mess with no real benefits, you can take a poorly designed process and automate it into a very fast and very poor process.”

For CA and Unisys, the ultimate end state for most organizations today is to get to a fully cloud-enabled model. But to get there, they said organizations will need to gain more visibility into their virtual environment, centralize management controls, and finally, automate as many processes as possible.

For example, CA has advised IT shops to developed repeatable processes for creating and patching VMs. The key, according to the company, is to start small and standardize one or two good processes.

The “start small” advice has also been dished out by industry analysts, when advising companies entering into private or hybrid cloud rollouts.

Thomas Bittman, vice-president and distinguished analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Research Inc., cautions organizations just starting on a cloud path to start small but plan to transform further over time.

“If you dip your toe in the water and you lean too far, you’re going to fall in,” Bittman said at a recent cloud computing roundtable event.

– With files from Kathleen Lau

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