BMC releases discovery, topology applications

BMC recently made available two products that the company says can help network managers better inventory their IT assets and create topology maps of interdependencies, which can help when trying to prevent a performance degradation from impacting customers or end users.

Using technology from its separate Magic and Marimba acquisitions, BMC upgraded its Foundation Discovery and Topology Discovery to work more tightly with BMC's configuration management database product, Atrium CMDB.

Atrium CMDB automatically collects and stores configuration data from IT assets such as Web and application servers, routers, switches and end-user machines. The database includes a reconciliation engine that enables it to make sense of data input from multiple sources and model the one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many relationships that exist among IT components. A CMDB is one of the tenets of rolling out the best practices of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or ITIL.

Foundation Discovery is a software application that performs an agent-less discovery and inventory of an IT environment, and Topology Discovery maps the relationships and dependencies among them. Both work with Atrium to maintain an up-to-date database of configuration information. The products include a feature called Universal Application Discovery, which enables them to recognize and identify third-party or customer applications. BMC Configuration Discovery, a separate application within the suite, performs an agent-based discovery that provides more detailed asset information.

For Rick Larson, director of technical services and operations for Select Comfort, BMC software helps him push out software to some 400 stores across the U.S. and now Canada. He says the Foundation and Topology Discovery applications help his staff identify and inventory the machines installed at multiple remote store locations.

"My staff use the tools daily to troubleshoot issues, pick up configuration files and on the helpdesk, for analysis," he says. "We leverage the BMC tools and input the configurations data into our configuration management database."

Larson says his organization has been working with the ITIL framework for several years, and he requires vendors to also follow the best practices. He says he is currently working to consolidate configuration databases that exist within various IT departments, and vendors that can provide technology to help are more appealing to him as an IT buyer.

"Each process feeds into another process so a vendor has to have a lot of knowledge about ITIL if they want to be in the IT service management market," Larson says. "It was unclear for some time what BMC was doing with its acquisitions, but I think they are on the right track now and putting the right resources in place."

BMC also added discovery extensions for popular applications such as SAP, Siebel, Java 2, Enterprise Edition, and VMWare, for example. The company also equipped the software with the ability to export the configuration data to other CMDB tools. The applications can also help IT managers associate IT resources, such as servers, with end users when working with BMC Identity Discovery.

Available now, BMC Foundation Discovery costs US$12,000 per asset and BMC Topology Discovery costs US$50,000 per instance.

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