The latest versions of CA's database performance management tools mark the first steps towards unifying the underlying data.
This week, CA is releasing a new tool, Insight for Distributed Databases, which combines a couple of previously separate products, adds new integration to CA's Network Service Management, and converges support for four database platforms: Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase.
The new Database Insight tool also adds a general quality of service (QoS) metric which is derived from a number of indicators such as CPU, I/O, and memory utilisation, and response. It also allows you to look at the health of multiple databases on the same screen, rather than just a single database instance. And the support of all four database platforms represents an improvement over previous versions, which required a separate license for each.
Of course, Insight for Distributed Databases is not the only CA tool that monitors database performance. CA's Network Systems Management (NSM) provides higher level views that are cut out for system, rather than database administrators. Additionally, CA's eHealth, SPECTRUM, and Wily Introscope also monitor database performance. Until now, they have done so with their own probes and had nothing in common.
The rest of the year will see these products migrate to a common source of database performance data based on what CA collects with Insight. It will all come out of CA's Management Database (MDB), which is becoming the operational data repository of all CA systems management offerings.
The real story is that CA is starting to unify its database performance management offerings. That reflects the fact that, while systems management vendors have traditionally marketed their offerings under common brands, such as Tivoli, Unicenter, OpenView, or Patrol, in reality, they all consisted of multiple point products whose integration usually came at display level, through a framework or console, or with point to point interfaces.
This is where the impact of ITIL and years of customer frustration have begun to register. On the frustration side, there are lots of war stories about customers not realising the promise of their systems management efforts because of the difficulty of integrating so many components.
In turn, ITIL has provided the framework specifying the elements and processes that are using for management and delivering IT services. At its core is the configuration management database (CMDB). Although ITIL does not prescribe what data goes in the CMDB, it has provided a target for vendors to aim for in building repositories for their various IT management offerings.
As ITIL adoption has picked up steam, it has provided the impetus for vendors to start rationalising their systems management tools. Most, like CA, are recasting them with brands that evoke business performance (CA's is 'Business Service Optimisation').
Consequently, while CA's MDB is not a CMDB (CA's database collects performance data, whereas the CMDB stores systems configurations), you could say that ITIL had something to do with its emergence. And in turn, CA's announcement this week that it will start rationalising its various database performance management tools.