Friday, May 14, 2010

As CA World approaches: a quick guide to CA's cloud acquisitions and some session suggestions

If you’re having trouble sorting through all of CA’s recent moves, I don’t blame you. It’s sort of ironic timing that key components of what we’ve been working on since last summer have been coming together in such a compressed timeframe. The good news is it means that when we get to CA World in a few days, we should have lots of good stuff to show folks, both from the recent acquisitions and from the organic development underway.

I thought I’d highlight the recent activity and point you to a couple good summaries of what CA’s up to so far. And hold on, because there are a few more (OK, lots) interesting things being announced at the conference next week. (No beans are spilled in this post, if that's what you're hoping for.) For those of you who will be in Vegas for CA World, I’ll give you a couple suggestions for presentations you’ll definitely want to hit, from among the 62 cloud-related sessions. (And for the impatient ones in the crowd, the overall cloud and SaaS session guide is here).

Recent cloud-related acquisitions (in chronological order)

They say you can’t tell the players without a program, so here’s a bit of a recap. I’ve linked to my blogs on each of these acquisitions if you want to dig into any one of these in more detail.

· Cassatt (my alma mater) focused on helping enterprises create policy-based private clouds, enabling you to constantly optimize the computing resources you are using based on service levels for a given application. The team joined CA back in June 2009 – and I think nearly all of us are still here.

· Oblicore, acquired in January 2010, is about service level management, with contract management at its center. In the a world in which cloud computing is more and more common as an option, being able to interpret technical data into business metrics is key. Being able to compare those metrics to your actual service level contracts is even more key. Customers of Oblicore include both enterprises and service providers.

· 3Tera gives you a really interesting approach to getting an application to run in a cloud. It encapsulates an app and its supporting infrastructure and lets you move it, scale it, and deploy it as needed. All those things you had to do manually and with physical hardware before (setting up servers, load balancers, firewalls, etc.), you can now connect, add, or remove, but in software form, with a slick GUI. Right now this is interesting for enterprises and very interesting for cloud service providers.

· Nimsoft provides performance and availability monitoring “from the data center to the cloud,” as they say. Rackspace just standardized on it, and the Nimsoft folks, now a stand-alone business unit of CA, just delivered an on-demand version. Their target (unlike the other technologies above) is primarily smaller, emerging enterprises and cloud service providers. Take a look at for an idea of how easy it is to get started with this stuff.

More than just putting the pieces together

For a feel for how we are looking to help customers, there are a couple of good, recent write-ups that help explain the way we’re looking at the world. Several folks in the industry press have written up some useful background.

Derrick Harris’s piece for GigaOM put a lot of the pieces together, even though it pre-dated even the 3Tera announcement. Second, Charlie Babcock from InformationWeek did a piece for Plug Into the Cloud following an interview with Chris O’Malley, who is leading the Cloud Business Line at CA. InformationWeek did another piece this week, this time after talking to CEO Bill McCracken that’s also a good summary. It even has a few teasers about next week’s event. Denise Dubie also has been following us pretty closely, too, for Network World and she did a good analysis of CA’s moves. Little did I know she was following us *so* closely that she decided to hop on board here at CA (a pleasant surprise; welcome, Denise!).

The business press also has been reporting on CA’s moves, especially after McCracken talked about the pot of money he was planning to apply to cloud computing acquisitions. Investors Business Daily did a Q&A with O’Malley, outlining the broad issues he sees customers having as they try to move toward running IT more like a supply chain, a metaphor taken from the manufacturing world. Bloomberg drew parallels between what CA's trying to do and what our CA World keynoter James Cameron did with "Avatar" -- to change the game. I don't think we have anything cooking that involves very tall blue aliens. As far as I know, anyway.

CA World suggested sessions

If you’ll be in Vegas and you’re interested in cloud computing and software as a service issues, definitely look at the session listings on the CA World site. Here are some sessions I’m betting will be worth your time:

· CEO Bill McCracken’s keynote on Sunday night and Ajei Gopal’s technology keynote on Monday morning. Those will provide great context for everything else. They should also put CA's cloud computing efforts in context of everything else the company is working on (I’ve heard we do stuff around the mainframe, too).

· “Making the Cloud-Connected Enterprise Real,” Chris O’Malley on Monday at 11 a.m. This is the cloud and SaaS keynote session. I have it on good authority that there will be product news and some cool new technology previewed.

· There are drill-downs on cloud management by David Hodgson and Vince Re, and on IT management from the cloud by Jules Ehrlich on Monday afternoon. Great summaries of the breadth of activity in these areas.

· On Tuesday morning Chris O’Malley is emceeing a Cloud Power Session panel about what computing will look like in 2020 (cloud-based or otherwise, if the cloud term is even still in use then). It features experts from, Microsoft, CSC, Rackspace, and Logicalis. Should be really interesting. So should the virtualization power session Wednesday morning with VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, RedHat, and Cisco. Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester will be in charge of keeping that session under control. Good luck.

· There are a couple Amazon Web Services-related sessions worth noting, including Adam Silipsky’s session on Tuesday morning as part of a special business-themed track and one by Jeff Barr of AWS (along with CA’s Walter Guerrero) about service assurance and EC2.

· Sudhrity Mondal (another former Cassatt guy) is bringing his experience helping customers on cloud implementations both at Cassatt and CA to a session called, “The Process and Pitfalls of Moving to the Cloud: Lessons Learned from Actual Cloud Implementations.” That’s Tuesday afternoon.

I could go on, especially since I helped design the cloud and SaaS tracks...but I won’t. I’ll also restrain myself from highlighting my own Cloud 101 session. After all, if you read this blog, you can probably can skip it. Or even give it.

Some other random items of interest:

· James Cameron’s keynote Monday: that’ll be fun. Oh, and Maroon 5 on Wednesday. They’re no Foreigner, but, hey…

· Meeting a bunch of you in person that I normally only talk to via Twitter. As always, I’m looking forward to that as much as the customer meetings I'm attending. Should be interesting all the way around.

And, yes, there will be sessions focused on the items being announced during the week (at least the cloud-related ones). But, no, I can’t tell you what they are yet. So don’t ask. Besides, Monday’s not that far away.

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