Borland tool said to link development, deployment
- By John K. Waters
Borland Software moved late last week to expand its application life-cycle
management (ALM) strategy by unveiling a new infrastructure management offering
designed to bridge the gap between development and deployment. On Friday, the
Scotts Valley, Calif.-based toolmaker launched Deployment Op-Center.
''Op-Center is designed to reduce the complexity and high operational
overheads associated with controlling the availability and continued 'health' of
software infrastructure, applications and services in modern, highly distributed
and heterogeneous IT environments,'' said Moty Aharonovitz, Borland senior
product manager. ''Basically, we have extended our view to be much more holistic.
Now we see the rollout process as part of the overall life cycle of
That holistic view can lead to the development of a formalized mechanism for
the transfer of deployment-related information from development to deployment
teams, Aharonovitz said. Op-Center includes an XML-based, template-driven user
interface to assist in the collaboration between the two teams, allowing
developers to document core application deployment requirements for distribution
Op-Center is said to offer IT managers centralized automation and control
over an organization's infrastructure applications through such features as:
* IT Inventory management for modeling and mapping models to define logical
and physical associations between applications and infrastructure resources;
* Application infrastructure configuration management of middleware (J2EE,
.NET and CORBA), messaging (Tibco, SonicMQ), Web servers and database
* Automatic failure detection, isolation and recovery via configuration
templates that provide developers with a mechanism to document critical
deployment information; and
* SNMP-based connectivity with network and system management products (i.e.,
HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli).
Op-Center is said to provide a visual way of managing infrastructure
applications. Toward that end, the tool delivers a single console to view
application resources deployed on multiple hosts and multiple sites, Aharonovitz
explained. This intuitive GUI is designed to give IT managers an
easier-to-navigate hierarchical model that helps them to understand the logical
and physical structures of complex deployed configurations.
''The idea was to simplify these complex workflows and configuration processes
that require very specialized and extensive knowledge, which increases risk to
the organization,'' Aharonovitz said.
Borland began nearly two years ago to integrate its tools and technologies
with acquired products to create development environments equipped to handle all
aspects of application development, from the planning and requirements-gathering
stages, through development and testing -- the application life cycle according
Expanding the definition of ALM to include application deployment and
management makes sense to Meta Group analyst Thomas Murphy. The increasing
complexity and distributed nature of apps makes it more difficult to isolate and
fix failures and to ensure app availability, he said. Deploying and managing
applications today is simply a much bigger and more complex job than it used to
be. ''Traditionally, solving this problem has required specialized and expensive
skills with complicated manual processes,'' Murphy said. ''In addition, there is a
growing need to enable improved communications between the development and
operations staff, extending ALM from a development viewpoint to encompass
deployment and management.''
In its 2002 report, Leaping to Intelligent
Configuration Management , Meta
identified a new market category for infrastructure software management, which
it called Intelligent Configuration Management (ICM). Meta expects ICM to become
a major component of most Global 2000 infrastructure and application management
environments by 2007. And it believes that the challenges associated with
infrastructure software management are being heightened by the advent of grid
computing environments and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs).
Op-Center is about the configuration and deploying of applications in such
environments, Borland's Aharonovitz said. ''The distinction that I'm making here
is critical. Op-Center is not part of the grid computing space, but it does
support the adoption of these trends.''
Op-Center is a cross-platform solution designed to handle applications on
both J2EE and .NET platforms, but Borland also made sure to include support for
CORBA. Borland has a large installed base of VisiBroker customers who need to
manage existing mission-critical CORBA applications in production, Aharonovitz
said, specifically within the telco and financial services markets.
''Many people think CORBA is essentially dead or not relevant,'' he said, ''but
our customers are telling us that they will continue to use CORBA for at least
five to 10 years. It's working, it's reliable and they're not interested in
changing it. We have thousands of customers deploying mission-critical
applications on top of our VisiBroker technology. Our strategy is to honor their
commitment to CORBA and to provide them with the mechanism to facilitate
effective management and monitoring of these technologies.''
Deployment Op-Center is the latest addition to Borland's growing family of
deployment products, which includes Janeva, a solution for integrating
.NET-based applications with J2EE- and CORBA-based back-end systems, introduced
last May; and the newly enhanced Borland Enterprise Server, which was unveiled
last Friday. Op-Center is available now on Windows, Solaris and Linux
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached