Software giant CA Technologies has introduced a series of new and enhanced cloud management products today, including:

Calling the series "Cloud Choice," CA is trying to enable cloud usage and help both enterprise and service provider customers quickly deploy business services in the cloud. A link to the complete announcement package can be found here.

Using the new Business Service Insight manager, customers can benchmark and compare internal and external services and their performance by using the Service Measurement Index hosted at Cloud Commons.com. In addition, Business Service Insight provides the ability to research different service options using social interaction. Valuable service opinion and comparison data can be collected by creating questionnaires to poll peers in the industry.

"CA Business Service Insight provides us with the information we need as we make our choices of what should or could be delivered as a cloud application and what should stay in-house. Much of this decision is based on whether service levels are meeting business expectations," says Jose Ferraz, managing partner, VisionWay, Business Management Services and an early user of the tool.

The data center automation suite calculates capacity requirements and can move apps and workloads into and out of various public cloud providers, including AWS, Rackspace and Terremark. The suite has new versions of CA Server Automation, Virtual Automation and other automation services, including a new automation suite for Cisco UCS too. If you are looking to switch cloud providers, this might be of interest to you.

Also leveraging this automation suite is the first version of Automation Suite for Clouds, which will have a pretest framework including predesigned automation workloads to make it easier to deliver cloud services.

The new release of AppLogic allows customers to now run applications and services using both VMware ESX and Xen hypervisors on the same grid, providing a new level of freedom and flexibility for delivering cloud services. In addition, customers can import workloads using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), making smart use of existing virtualization investments.

Another new product, Virtual Placement Manager, will help with capacity management and optimal workload assignment. This incorporates technology from vendor Hyperformix that CA acquired earlier last year. It helps address problems of VM stall and sprawl by leveraging patented analytics to safely increase overall host to VM ratios and the ability to properly size and place them. This looks like the hidden gem in what was announced today, and you can see a typical screen shot below (you'll want to click on this to see a larger image).

The various CA products can come in handy in a variety of situations, such as:

  1. A company needs to understand the best way to "source" the services that they offer. For instance, is it better to use an internal email service based on exchange or to source it through the cloud (e.g., gmail). Business Service Insight helps them understand the performance of these services so that they can optimize their service portfolio over time.
  2. Manage contracts with outsourcers. Once you have outsourced a service to an external company (cloud based or traditional), you need to ensure they are performing up to the level they contracted. Business Service Insight enables companies to track that in an automated fashion.
  3. Manage internal SLAs in addition to services. Make commitments to departments, subsidiaries, etc. and track them.
  4. In cases where a company sells services externally (service provider model, for example), performance can be tracked with their customers as well.

    Finding the context for these announcements on the sprawling CA Web site is problematic, but you can try to start here, the overall cloud computing landing page. Of course, no actual pricing was announced for any of these tools, so that you will be spending a lot of time on the phone trying to track this down. But these are not cheap tools: The average pricing for CA Business Service Insight has been around $200K. For CA AppLogic, typical pricing starts at $100,000 and grows as the scale of the cloud deployment grows.