computing may seem to be yet another IT buzzword. The
major hardware vendors have their own unique strategies
for it. Now software companies are drawing plans to
address on-demand computing in the enterprise. Gonzague
Patinier, Consulting director-IT Service Management,
Computer Associates, explains the vision for CA's 'Managing
On-Demand computing.' by Brian Pereira
What is CA's initiative for on-demand
We call it Managing On-Demand
Computing and it's a new way of delivering IT services.
It aims to use all the existing technology resources
to deliver IT as a service. It will enable more automation
in existing infrastructure management. We want to enable
the platform to be more responsive and to self-manage.
We observed management tools
currently used in the enterprise were able to give technical
information. For instance these tools tell us that a
particular router or application has failed. But to
manage IT as a service, we need more specific details.
At present the systems do not give us detailed information
about things like how many transactions or users are
affected by the problem. Existing tools do not give
information that is related to the business.
Our new tools gather detailed
information from the device and give it to the technical
team and also to the users. The business users will
get information relevant to the business, and the technical
team gets the technical details about the problem.
How is CA's on-demand computing
initiative different from IBM's or HP's initiative?
We are in the same space, but
unlike the others we don't sell hardware and only focus
on the management. Within your infrastructure you could
have all kinds of technologies. But our solution supports
all these diverse platforms.
From our perspective, on-demand
computing cannot be isolated from your existing infrastructure.
It cannot be a new silo of technology within the enterprise.
We manage end-to-end. The way we look at it is that
on-demand computing needs to be integrated with your
existing way of managing your IT infrastructure.
On demand computing requires
flexible licensing and we are prepared for it.
How are you adapting your existing
products for this new initiative?
We are working with hardware
manufacturers in the industry to make the devices more
intelligent. The device itself will be able to identify
its problem. To enable this we provide the hardware
partners with APIs, for instance. The device will automatically
contact the help desk when there's a problem. It will
trigger an alert by itself, reporting the failure in
itself. This will create a service-oriented architecture
in the enterprise.
We are also working with companies
like webMethods, as we are looking at not only managing
the infrastructure, but also to manage some of the business
processes. webMethods provides the workflow automation
tools. Using these tools we will be able to measure
if some of the processes are taking too long. So it
will deliver additional information about the service
to the user.
What kind of reporting and
analysis comes out of this?
Some of the key technology that
we use for on-demand computing is the capability to
automatically detect the components within the infrastructure
(automatic discovery). It can indicate the components
servicing a specific business process, or a specific
application. We can discover and map the dependency
for these components to the business.
What are the drivers for on-demand
There are three drivers. One
is the increased usage of IT. The impact of downtime
is greater than it was a year or two ago.
Secondly, the rapidity of change
is increasing. Technology is evolving at a faster rate.
Look at Linux. The rate at which enterprises are adopting
it is tremendous. Three years ago few people spoke about
Linux. Another technology that is rapidly evolving is
wireless networking. Web services is also being increasingly
used in the enterprise.
The third driver is Costs. IT
departments (and CIOs) are required to justify new IT
investments. When you talk of delivering IT as a service,
IS managers want to know what does it cost to deliver
When you deliver IT as a service
you put in place a customer-vendor relationship between
the IT department and the end-user. This leads to better
efficiency in the IT department.
Besides saving costs what are
the other benefits of on-demand computing?
IT drives the business. But
business demands (on IT) are also changing. The response
from the IT service providers is not as fast as the
CEO or CIO would like. So delivering IT services needs
to be done in a more agile way. On-demand computing
Take the example of e-commerce.
During certain periods in the year (like Christmas time)
the demand for products goes up. So businesses selling
online need to increase its computing capacity to deal
with the jump in online transactions. With on-demand
computing you can detect that requirement for additional
capacity, and be able to provide it instantly.
It is about giving organizations
the ability to adapt its infrastructure according to
the changing business environment.
Brian Pereira can be reached at
What is on-demand
On-demand computing means computing resources
can respond to sudden increases in demand, and
immediately deliver the additional capacity that's
required. The idea is to make the delivery (and
availability) of IT resources as rapid as that
of utilities like electricity, piped gas or water.
The fundamental goals
of on-demand computing are to dynamically align
IT capacity with changing business priorities,
while increasing the efficiency with which IT
resources are used. It is about giving organizations
the ability to immediately adapt its infrastructure
according to the changing business environment.
What is CA's vision
for Managing On-Demand Computing?
While other industry initiatives for on-demand
computing concern mainly hardware resources like
storage and CPU utilization, Computer Associates'
vision primarily concerns Infrastructure Management.
It has adapted its Unicenter management tool to
deliver, what it claims, is the industry's first
management platform for on-demand computing. CA
believes proper management of IT infrastructure
is the key to making on-demand computing a reality
in the enterprise.