NetIQ, part of Attachmate, has become the latest player to offer what is popularly called run book automation. It will be introducing a new product, Aegis, at the Interop conference in New York.
Aegis will include several features that are expected of a tool that automates workflows in the managing of data centers, or the delivery of IT services. It includes a correlation engine that collects events from multiple sources and correlates them to trigger specific processes.
It also includes workflow modeling, where you can codify best practices in managing the data center or responding to events through a visual tool. One of the salient features is the capability for recording actual workflows, so you can document what was done for the auditors.
And like others in this space, it provides some pre-built process templates from which you can customizes your own IT service management workflows. Aegis also includes various web-based visualization tools for monitoring process execution, and various reporting tools and metrics so you can identify opportunities for improvement.
NetIQ is also planning to open a community portal for Aegis users to share their own customized workflow templates or adapters to third party tools. There will be several distinct tiers of contributors, ranging from the end user side, where templates or best practices are freely shared, to a second tier where specific add-ons are vetted by NetIQ, and eventually, a third tier for third party developers seeking to market niche add-ons.
The product is built around NetIQ’s established AppManager, which manages Windows environments. By year end, NetIQ will rollout adapters to its own products, including Security Manager, Secure Configuration Manager, and Enterprise Administration. Early next year it will begin introducing adapters for external offerings including BMC Remedy, EMC Smarts, and HP OpenView. Based on customer demand, it may later add adapters for offerings such as VMware, Tivoli, and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2007.
We’re frankly not surprised to see new entrants to the field that Gartner terms by the archaic label Run Book Automation, which we’d rather call IT Process Automation. The goal of run book, or IT process automation is to automate the workflows that data center operations use for keeping the motors running.
And although ITIL itself does not specify automation of workflows, doing so attains one of ITIL’s goals, which is establishing consistent, repeatable processes for delivering IT service. BMC and HP have already acquired their way into this market. We expect that CA and IBM won’t be far behind, although in IBM’s case, we might make more bets on internal development rather than outright acquisition.