CA Acquires Hyperformix – Bolsters Predictive IT Management Capabilities

On 9/28/2010 CA Technologies announced that it will acquire Hyperformix. Hyperformix is a vendor that delivers capacity management and performance management solutions for physical and virtual environments.

With this announcement CA formerly enters the capacity planning, and more importantly the capacity management market for virtual environments and their underlying physical infrastructures. It is important to distinguish between the capacity planning and management use cases for this product set. Capacity Planning is something that enterprises have been doing for years and is a periodic activity that is focused upon making sure that an application system does not run out of capacity for a critical hardware resource inside of the purchase cycle for more of that resource.

Capacity Management is about making sure that momentary and temporary constraints in capacity do not impact the performance of business critical applications. Capacity Management is a discipline that was practiced to a high degree of sophistication in the era of the mainframe when hardware resources were scarce and expensive, and which fell by the wayside as they became every less expensive and over-provisioned. However virtualization is all about eliminating much of that over-provisioning and re-creating at least a reasonable amount of scarcity than then needs to be managed.

The hard dollar ROI from the server and core consolidation that occurs in a server virtualization project rests upon effective capacity management. When one is virtualizing low hanging fruit a simplistic approach that looks at how much physical CPU and memory a workload needs often suffices (it has sufficed for much of the virtualization that has occurred to date). However when one is virtualizing business critical and performance critical applications just looking at the resource utilization of the workload is not enough. What is needed is a process that factors how the increased utilization of resources will impact transaction response time for these business critical workloads.

Such an approach then requires two things that are not present in first generation capacity management tools. The first is a data model for the tool that incorporates application response time or transaction response time as the key variable that is the indicator of capacity issues. In other words, if response time is being degraded then it is a problem even if the resource utilization profile for the workload appears to be normal. Conversely if CPU is at 99% and response times are within acceptable bounds then there is not a resource contention problem. The second needed item is a statistical methodology that can model the non-linear relationships between resource utilization metrics and response times so that capacity constraints that could impact response times given a projected increase in load can be anticipated and avoided.

For example, the bottleneck isn’t always an over-utilized CPU, it may be a complex synchronization or an long code path across multiple CPUs that is causing the end-to-end reponse time to be extended. Hyperformix can model detailed system components and the buffering and queuing amongst them, and populate those models with real-world performance data to provide both analysis and prediction of end-user response time.

The acquisition of  Hyperformix by CA adds this sophisticated capacity management capability to the the CA virtualization performance management and cloud performance management portfolio. The synergy between what CA already has in its Virtual Assurance product and Hyperformix is obvious. Virtual Assurance can already collect applications independent response time data from virtual appliances that sit on mirror ports in the vSwitches via technology that CA acquired from NetQos. Both the Hyperformix product and the Virtual Assurance product are capable of collecting detailed resource utilization data. Therefore these various data feeds can now be fed into the Hyperformix model to determine when capacity constraints are going to impact response times. This is one of the absolutely critical capabilities that enterprises must have to be able to confidently virtualize business critical and performance critical applications.

It is also interesting to speculate what long term role the Hyperformix statistical modelling technology will play in CA performance management and performance assurance products. VMware has puts its stake in the ground via the acquisition of Integrien that only a real time and self-learning approach will be able to keep up with variability inherent in a virtualized or cloud based system in order to provide effective root cause analysis. It is possible that over time this modelling technology will evolve into a real time self learning performance management capability analogous to what is provided by VMware/Integrien and Netuitive.  If this occurs this will mean that CA will be the first and only one of the big four systems management vendors with an effective root cause strategy for the new dynamic data center.

Press Release Below

CA Technologies Bolsters Its Virtualization Management Portfolio with Agreement to Acquire Hyperformix

Hyperformix’ Capacity Management Solutions Will Help CA Technologies Accelerate the Customer Journey from Virtualization to the Cloud

ISLANDIA, N.Y. September 28, 2010 – CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) announced today a definitive agreement to buy Hyperformix, a leading provider of capacity management software for dynamic physical, virtual, and cloud IT infrastructures. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Virtualization capacity management is among customers’ most critical IT management needs,” said Roger Pilc, general manager of CA Technologies Virtualization and Automation customer solutions business. “An important aspect of our virtualization and cloud strategies is to help customers overcome the ‘VM stall’ challenges they encounter as they roll out virtualization and progress to a dynamic, cloud-based data center architecture. Hyperformix strengthens our ability to help organizations advance their IT infrastructures to benefit the business.”

Capacity management enables customers to discover how physical, virtual, hardware, software, storage, and network resources are being used, and to determine what resources will be needed in the future. The technology also helps customers optimize the deployment of those resources to meet business objectives.

The acquisition of Hyperformix will help CA Technologies extend its leadership in virtualization management, with market-leading virtualization capacity management capabilities that complement its existing virtualization, automation, and assurance solutions. Together these technologies will comprise a comprehensive, integrated solution to help customers evolve from an entry-level virtualization project to a mature dynamic data center and private cloud operation.

Specifically, the combination of CA Technologies and Hyperformix will help organizations:

• Overcome challenges such as VM Sprawl (uncontrolled VM deployments) and VM Stall (the inability to move beyond initial virtualization of 20-30 percent of servers);

• Ensure application performance and service level agreements; and

• Deliver cost, agility and availability benefits to the business through faster and more reliable data center consolidations, virtualization rollouts, platform refreshes and application migrations.

CA Technologies and Hyperformix share many customers and partners. This acquisition presents new opportunities for expanding and strengthening relationships with those organizations, while opening new opportunities with ones whose goal is to advance their virtualization operations.

“Capacity management is an important discipline for customers attempting to expand their virtualization and private cloud deployments,” said Peter Klante, President and CEO, Hyperformix. “As a virtualization rollout progresses through the enterprise, insight and comprehensive planning are required to realize its potential. CA Technologies and Hyperformix will deliver on that critical need.”

The transaction is expected to close within CA Technologies third fiscal quarter, which ends December 31, 2010. Hyperformix’ operations and its employees will become part of the Virtualization and Automation business at CA Technologies. CA Technologies intends to expand its integrations with Hyperformix’ solutions to include the CA Virtual, CA Service Automation, CA Service Assurance and CA Cloud portfolios.

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