CA Technologies: Connecting the Cloud Services Dots for MSPs?

September 13, 2011

5 Min Read
CA Technologies: Connecting the Cloud Services Dots for MSPs?

By samdizzy


Sometime in Q4 2011, CA Technologies expects to launch its ARCserve backup and restore platform in Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud. But that’s only a small piece of the larger cloud services story that’s emerging over at CA. I’m not suggesting that the cloud can make CA a hyper-growth company. But channel partners should start studying the CA product portfolio — which includes several loosely related cloud services initiatives.

Over the next six to 12 months, I think it’s a safe bet CA will begin to connect the dots between each of its cloud efforts. The latest chapter to the story starts at this week’s MSPWorld conference in Austin, Texas. And the dialog will continue at the CA World conference in November 2011.

Pieces of the Puzzle

So far, CA’s cloud services moves include…

1. 3Tera AppLogic: A key CA acquisition, AppLogic strives to help service providers with application-centric cloud deployments. CA claims AppLogic is “designed from the ground up to expect hardware failures and recover applications quickly and automatically.” I can’t prove or disprove the claim, but here again CA is striving to address a key service provider pain point.

2. NetQoS: A 2009 acquisition, NetQoS developed Performance Center for network flow monitoring and unified communications management. I need to double-check but I believe NetQoS is now part of CA’s Applications Performance Management Solution within the broader CA Service Assurance initiative (mentioned in point 5 below).

3. Nimsoft: The company initially developed monitoring software for mid-market MSPs and corporate IT departments. More recently, Nimsoft has extended from on-premise software to SaaS solutions and service desk software. The big twist: CA acquired Nimsoft in 2010. Under CA veteran Chris O’Malley, Nimsoft’s growth has accelerated.

4. Oblicore: Yet another CA acquisition. Oblicore developed service level management (SLA) software for enterprises and service providers. I believe Oblicore is now part of CA’s service management portfolio.

5. CA Service Assurance: A range of solutions that assist MSPs with application performance management, infrastructure management, network performance management and service operations management. I don’t know if these solutions have gained critical mass, but on paper they target the top cloud challenge facing MSPs: Designing cloud services that live up to service level agreements (SLAs).

6. Traditional Solutions Reinvented for Service Providers: This includes such offerings as ARCserve.  Instead of force-fitting an on-premise solution into the cloud market, Mike Crest, general manager for Data Management at CA,  says ARCserve was overhauled with (A) continued on-premise enhancements plus (B) cloud-centric capabilities to ensure service providers had an easy time with recurring revenues and cloud billing. “We didn’t just re-purpose ARCserve for the cloud,” asserts Crest. Instead, he says, the latest ARCserve r16 offering unifies data protection across virtual, conventional and cloud resources.

7. Other Stuff: CA has plenty of additional cloud-centric products, but I’m facing tight deadlines elsewhere so it’s time for me to stop researching this blog and move the story along… If I missed a big piece of CA’s cloud services portfolio feel free to post a comment.

Strengths, Challenges and Emerging Synergies

CA’s biggest strength so far in the cloud market is also its biggest challenge. Specifically, many of CA’s recent company acquisitions continue to run as highly independent business units. CA’s hands-off approach has allowed many of the acquisitions to blossom.

On the downside, that approach means we’ve yet to see much synergy — at least not publicly — between each of CA’s cloud efforts. But that’s starting to change.

Back on July 27, 2011, CA issued a press release highlighting service provider opportunities involving such technologies as CA AppLogic 3.0, CA Automation Suite for Clouds 1.0, CA NetQoS Unified Communications Monitor 3.2, and CA Business Service Insights 8.0. The effort also included a Cloud Market Accelerator Program for service providers.

The press release covered a lot of ground — perhaps too much — but it at least provided some context for CA’s bigger services provider strategy.

Next Moves

Where is CA going? Just a theory but I think I’ll use the following phrase: Cloud Services Lifecycle Management. Here’s a five-step example off the top of my head:

  1. For starters, let’s say you need to rapidly roll out cloud applications, either in your own data center or in a customers’ data center (potential CA solution: 3Tera AppLogic).

  2. Next, you need to safeguard data no matter where the applications reside (potential CA solution: ARCserve).

  3. Now, you need to proactively monitor those applications and the related IT infrastructure (potential CA solution: Nimsoft).

  4. But perhaps you want to zero in on application performance management, infrastructure management, network performance management and service operations management (potential CA solution: the Service Assurance portfolio).

  5. If cloud problems pop up, you need a way for customers to escalate their concerns (potential CA solution: Nimsoft Service Desk).

  6. Now, return to step one and repeat the process for each new cloud service you’re seeking to launch.

Of course, I’m oversimplifying the discussion. I’ve strung together multiple CA solutions that may not work with one another — at least not yet. The example above offers my idealistic view of where CA could be heading over the long haul.

Eight Weeks Worth Watching

Near term, CA needs a core cloud services team that can talk about both (A) the complete CA cloud strategy and (B) the individual components. That’s where folks like Adam Famularo, GM of CA’s Cloud Computing Customer Solutions Unit enter the picture.

But CA needs more evangelists who can describe the big picture. At this weeks’ MSPWorld conference in Austin, Texas, it’s a safe bet representatives from multiple CA cloud initiatives are on hand.But how many of those CA executives can describe exactly how each of the CA cloud components will ultimately evolve into a complete CA solution for service providers?

Bottom line: CA’s cloud story is still coming together. Lots of piece parts look promising. But the big picture, I suspect, could begin to take shape at CA World (Nov. 13-16, Las Vegas). Stay tuned.


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