Intigua Virtualized IT Operations Command Center
The entire notion behind this product is that most data centers started life as physical environments and now are migrating to some form of virtual or cloud environment. While system administrators have, over the years, come to grips with managing the various tool sets that live in the physical data center, similar paradigms don't readily exist in the virtual world.
Intigua's Virtualized IT Operations Command Center combines the virtual and the physical - making administration both more unified and more effective and efficient. Simply, the product encapsulates, optimizes and embeds controls around agent-based and agentless technology across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure.
To be sure, there are other approaches - such as scripting, manual management and generic tools - but all of these have drawbacks in efficiency and effectiveness. More important, an overabundance of tools on individual virtual machines can become an overhead nightmare. To get around this, Intigua changes the suite of management tools in a data center into a suite of services that can be deployed quickly and efficiently.
In addition, the system has an exceptional dashboard that really brings all of the pieces together. For example, at a glance the administrator can see the number of servers, virtual machines and management tools deployed. That's not just on the virtual network by the way - tools running on physical devices are covered as well.
The dashboard is not the only display tool that this product uses to simplify the administrator's work. There is a screen called the IT Management Services Catalog. This allows the administrator to connect to a service with the click of a mouse and manage the devices, services and tools that are related to that particular service. Everything is automated under the hood and that makes for good efficiency.
The management services platform communicates with all servers in the environment regardless of what environment(s) they are in. So managing servers in a virtual data center is no more difficult than managing physical servers, and servers in the cloud are equally manageable. Agents and management servers can be connected and synchronized and those management services can be tracked constantly to ensure their health. Because the concept of services - rather than heavy dependence on agents - is part of the architecture, there is minimal interference between remaining agents and applications.
Thee are a couple of useful consequences to all of this consolidation and control. First, the architecture allows compartmentalizing activities enforcing separation of duties. Second, by specifying explicitly what tools address which servers, users are able to make the tools and, therefore, the servers more tamper-proof. This improves defense-in-depth.
The architecture is pretty straightforward, though quite creative. All code is encapsulated in a management agent container. That, then, communicates with platforms through the container services layer. The communications engine is adaptive, multi-protocol and hypervisor aware. A REST API is used to integrate and automate processes using a library of built-in plugins.
One important example of how this approach can benefit an organization is shown by the impact of a misbehaving tool that has agents on a large number of devices. When the tool misbehaves, it can have a catastrophic impact because it is present on all devices, taking up resources. Identifying the tool, encapsulating it in a container and managing it through the management service effectively defanged it and the enterprise went back to proper operation.
Enforcing role-based access control positively impacts unnecessary server access. Today, most management tools require administrator rights to work properly or, in some cases, at all, but, by moving the direct management to a service, even though the service needs super-user rights, the administrator does not. By itself this is an improvement in security in most enterprises.
A system such as Intigua Virtual IT Operations Command Center had better be compatible with the bulk -if not all - of the tools in use by enterprises around the world. That certainly is the case here since Intigua is vendor-agnostic and can support just about any security, logging, configuration management, monitoring, backup or asset management and discovery tool. The virtualization of the entire management tool set vastly simplifies administration across the enterprise and, given the consumer-grade user interfaces, we found this to be simplicity itself to deploy and use. Pricing is reasonable considering what it does and we found this offering to be well thought-out and implemented.
At a glance
Product Virtualized IT Operations Command Center
Price Starts at $50,000 annual subscription.
What it does Virtualizes existing management tools using proprietary container technology to encapsulate them in their entirety, and enables them to be centrally managed and automated via a policy engine.
What we liked Simplicity of operation and the fact that it allows centralized control of IT/IT security tools under a single pane of glass.