2009: The Year IT Management Morphed

The year 2009 was not just a year in which the Great Recession played out in the IT industry. It was also a year in which IT management tech underwent an image makeover.

Discussion of IT management capabilities such as automation and service delivery were raised to new levels around adopting virtualization, cloud computing and other emerging technologies.

Aside from big tech players, some unexpected vendors moved more deeply into the IT management game last year. And through acquisitions, alliances and product advancements, companies such as Cisco, EMC, Microsoft and VMware brought management capabilities into larger strategic announcements. The common theme was that they realized there’s money to be made in providing intelligent controls for advanced IT environments.

I recently had a chance to review some of the big IT management moments during 2009. Let’s go over some of them, shall we?

– Infrastructure vendors, for example, Cisco and Microsoft, have augmented their portfolios with management technology. For example, Microsoft last year bought Opalis, which makes IT process automation software. Industry experts expect such software to be in high demand in 2010. This gives Microsoft the technology management vendors need to manage virtual systems as well as applications and services delivery via cloud computing. It was a move that ventured onto management software makers’ toes, as those leading companies have either acquired or developed their own, e.g. HP acquired Opsware; BMC bought RealOps. Meanwhile CA and IBM built their own automation technology.

– With Cisco’s launch of a unified computing system (UCS), the company announced that it recognized that management technology is critical to larger infrastructure strategies. (UCS involves Cisco-developed blade servers becoming part of an advanced architecture that incorporates network, computer, virtualization and management resources into a single system.)

CA expanded its broad IT management software suite when it bought network performance management vendor NetQoS. CA gained application flow capabilities its Wily Technology acquisition didn’t deliver. The application performance management products from Wily and NetQoS enabled CA to offer a holistic application management portfolio.

– IBM Unveiled Tivoli Live Monitoring, part of a trend of IT management software vendors transforming in 2009 by switching from licensing to SaaS. IBM packaged sophisticated technology such as Tivoli monitoring as a pay via subscription service hosted in IBM’s cloud computing environment. Tivoli lets IBM provide customers with monitoring services without large upfront investment or ongoing maintenance.

– EMC bought Configuresoft, adding to its portfolio of management vendors already under its belt. The transaction helped EMC broaden its management capabilities across the “entire IT information infrastructure,” EMC executives said at the time. EMC says the purchase will help customers automate management across virtualized environments. EMC also unveiled its Ionix brand, which merged the Configuresoft and other technology buys (Smarts, nLayers, Voyence and Infra).

– Compuware bought Gomez, which provides Web site monitoring and Web application performance management. The move demonstrated that vendors recognize customers want to deal with fewer suppliers when managing their IT environments, but it also underscored the growing demand among end users for independent monitoring of cloud-based services.

These were just some of the major IT developments of the past year, and, to me, it clearly shows that IT management – the whole package, including IT process automation and monitoring of internal and virtual servers, external monitoring, monitoring of cloud providers, website traffic and other metrics – is growing in demand. It looks, too, like that demand will continue in 2010 and beyond.