BMC and Hewlett-Packard, two key software management tools suppliers, are upgrading their applications to provide more automation and help organisations to align business with IT.
BMC will flesh out its business service management strategy with major updates to its Marimba and Remedy products at the end of the year.
Business service management is the company's eight-point approach to helping IT directors align business with IT. The strategy is designed to provide proactive service management, predict IT problems, automate fixes and prioritise IT resources.
BMC said it would take a major step towards business service management with the introduction of a configuration management database in December, part of a new version of BMC Service Impact Manager.
The configuration management database will integrate with two newly available tools, Marimba Configuration Discovery and Discovery Express, to support automatic installation of patches and software.
Jim Grant, vice-president and general manager at BMC, said the database would allow Marimba to find the configuration of computers on a network, and roll out patches and software to target machines based on a predetermined IT policy.
The software includes what Grant described as topology discover, which he claimed would be able to build a model of how system components, such as a database, relate.
"This model can then be used by Marimba to target patches and software updates," he said.
An update to Remedy provides workflow, which is used to prioritise how the software or patch is rolled out.
Analyst group Ptak, Noel & Associates said an existing Remedy user could implement the policy-based configuration automation component to automate an existing process. Alternatively, a Patrol user may focus first on rolling out the discovery engine to improve problem resolution times.
HP has also improved the automation in its Openview Change and Configuration Management software product.
The upgrade offers additional PC client management tools, better administration and improved reporting capabilities, said HP. It added that this will enable better business and IT decision-making, with automation that takes action quickly on those decisions.
HP Openview can automate the change and configuration management of software across any computing device and platform, according to the company.
"Change in business takes many forms, and the most successful companies today rely on their IT systems to adapt quickly to changing business requirements," said John Schneider, vice-president and general manager of HP's technology solutions group.
HP added change and configuration management to Openview after it bought Novadigm in April.
In August, rival software firm Computer Associates released Unicenter Desktop DNA r4.7, its product for managing PC data, system settings and application settings and configurations.
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Coping with all business eventualities
Change and configuration management software is designed to close the gap between the changing needs of a business and the reality of the typical IT environment by solving a number of problems.
- According to Jasmine Noel at Ptak, Noel & Associates, it meets several challenges:
- A lack of standardised processes and change implementation best practices across locations and various layers of the infrastructure
- A lack of centralised and standardised configuration management practices that continually detect and enforce a desired state in the IT environment l Manually executed client and server software upgrades and security patches that frequently fall outside the change and release process. Change and configuration management software accelerates the implementation of business service management applications for an organisation.