Hitachi Data Systems Corp. announced the latest addition to its software line up with Operations Director, a systems management program aimed at streamlining day-to-day IT tasks with one installation.
“We’ve kept the product as simple to deploy as possible,” says Brett Hesterberg, technical product manager with the company’s IT Software Business Unit.
Operations Director is built for asset management through compliance with software licenses, software distribution and security management all in one program. It is already sold in Japan by HDS parent company Hitachi Ltd. and is a follow-up to Operations Analyzer, a systems monitoring program.
“HDS encourages our software resellers to build service offerings around Director. As such, we are not offering competing services,” Hesterberg says. Resellers can integrate Operations Analyzer, which many already sell, with the new program to make their recommendations to clients. Unlike Operations Analyzer, which just alerts administrators to an update need or security problem, Operations Director will actually fix it.
Integration is a key aspect of the new program, Hesterberg says. Previously, IT administrators needed several modules to do what Operations Director can do. With those programs offered by some of HDS’s competitors, weren’t meeting their customers’ efficiency needs.
HDS has targeted the new program to businesses of all sizes. “We aim to leverage our enterprise experience,” Hesterberg says, but Operations Director is built to serve small and medium-sized organizations with limited resources.
“Frequently, they are customers that haven’t actually invested in very sophisticated monitoring, probably because it’s too complicated and expensive,” says Mary Johnston Turner, research vice president of enterprise systems management with IDC. Even though the product doesn’t sound too sexy, it definitely does reduce downtime, human error and labour costs, Turner says.
“The systems management world is a pretty busy and crowded place,” Turner says. Gartner Inc. estimated in 2008 that lifecycle management tools accounted for $2.1 billion, or 80 per cent of the configuration market.
Hesterberg was unable to comment on the possible margins resellers could gain with the new program, but says that with a worldwide release, the market opportunity is huge. “These functions we’re including are used by almost all IT departments in the world,” he says.
Operations Director, though, is best suited to organizations that have well-defined requirements, according to Turner. “It’s a relatively lightweight tool,” she says. “I think depending on the customers, as they mature an their environments become more complex, may need deeper analysis.” In other words, the program isn’t well-suited to highly virtualized or cloud environments, she says.
The program is available in 100-device packs, scaling up to 3,000 devices. Licensing for 100 devices is $4,000. Customers are able to add off-network devices without using licenses. A free 30-day trial is available for download on the HDS Web site.