Vendor pumps ITIL support into automation software

iConclude has released an upgraded version of OpsForce that can automate tasks across larger networks

Automation software maker iConclude this week made available an upgraded version of its flagship product that the company says can automate tasks across larger networks and align automated processes with best practices framework ITIL.

The company released OpsForce 2.1, the fourth iteration of the product since iConclude was founded in early 2005 by former Mercury Interactive executive Sunny Gupta. OpsForce 2.1 is said to automate the repair of some problems based on predefined scripts. The software provides diagnostic aids to speed problem resolution by administrators or staff.

Gupta, iConclude CEO, says this release provides large customers with "more proactive problem management" by showing IT managers the most common performance problems. He says the software falls into the category recently dubbed Run Book Automation by research firm Gartner, in which known fixes to common daily issues -- usually kept in an network administrators brain -- are put into software and automated.

"We are pushing problem resolution to the front-line worker, and not requiring higher-level IT staff get involved with so many events and alerts," he says. "Customers tell us their alert volume needs to decrease and we can interface directly with an HP OpenView or other management tool to kick of automated responses to very common alerts."

This version includes features such as an enterprise dashboard to help customers use the automation technology across larger environments. And iConclude executives say added IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) support in the software will help IT managers better track the actions taken to resolve problems and create a complete audit trail for regulatory purposes. IConclude also added more Linux and Windows platform support in this release.

OpsForce 2.1 installs on a dedicated server (either a Windows server with an SQL database or a Linux server with an Oracle database) and another application used for configuration and administration, OpsForce studio installs on a workstation. The software works without requiring IT managers to distribute agents to managed devices. For instance, it collects data from Unix and Linux systems with SSH or telnet and from Windows environments with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or remote scripting calls. The software can also integrate with third-party software to automate predefined tasks or tripper homegrown scripts customers have developed in house.

OpsForce 2.1 competes with similar IT service management and automation software from start-ups such as Indicative Software, OpTier, Optinuity and RealOps. The company could also face competition from BMC, CA, HP and IBM, but says its software is more complementary that competitive to the larger management platforms.

Pricing for OpsForce 2.1 starts at about US$50,000.

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