Cisco users gain configuration help from Opsware

Cisco support part of larger upgrade to Opsware’s Network Automation System

Opsware Wednesday upgraded its management software with support for Cisco gear that the company says will help customers automate software updates and prevent configuration-related performance problems.

Opsware updated its network change and configuration management software, Network Automation System (NAS), with additional integration into Cisco. The added feature enables customers to check planned upgrades against Cisco's Software Image Manager and then upgrade device configurations with more confidence that the changes won't negatively impact performance. And with automation features, the company says NAS 7 can now speed device changes and take remediation actions without human intervention.

The process automation and Cisco support is part of a larger upgrade to Opsware NAS 7, which performs network change and configuration management. The product is based on TrueControl technology Opsware acquired with Rendition Networks in 2004. NAS discovers network devices and instructs them to deliver configuration data to a central location. The product uses server and agent software to collect data and remediate issues, such as patch updates or policy compliance.

With this release, Opsware has tapped into an existing partnership with Cisco and added IT process automation technology from its iConclude acquisition, completed earlier this year. For instance, NAS utilizes Cisco's Software Image Manager (SWIM) tool. By coupling Cisco device and software-specific information with IT process automation, Opsware executives say NAS can more quickly analyze device configurations and remediate potential issues, such as prevent inconsistencies across devices.

"NAS can present customers with Cisco-recommended updates or software images for devices," says Jason Rosenthal, senior vice president and general manager of server automation products at Opsware. "It automates the process of getting the right Cisco software onto their devices and reduces errors in configurations and conflicts."

Opsware also integrated iConclude's IT process automation capabilities into NAS 7. Now the software can take automated actions to bring devices into compliance based on preset policies in real-time and enforce policies to protect devices from potential threats.

Opsware competes with companies such as AlterPoint, Intelliden and Voyence with its NAS offering, and Rosenthal says the pending acquisition of Opsware by HP will only strengthen the company's network, server and storage management offerings by providing tighter integration into HP network, system and application management software and IT governance and application testing tools from HP's Mercury Interactive acquisition.

NAS 7 is expected to be available in the fourth quarter and costs US$10,000 for up to 999 managed nodes.

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