IT professionals struggling to understand and manage complex distributed IT environments have a new analytical tool at their disposal.
Platform Intelligence, from grid computing company Platform Computing, is designed to assist rapid decision-making by focusing on the usage, performance and value of an enterprise's distributed IT systems and software.
It claims to be the first software to link interdependencies between these distributed assets and the company's business objectives. Platform's grid agent framework gathers distributed data and then applies business intelligence (BI).
"What you're getting is a very rapid set of answers," said David Antilla, Platform's director of product management.
"A chief information officer or chief finance officer feels there is wastage in IT, but there is little information to back this up - and they are not given a lot of time to make decisions."
The software uses the Cognos Series 7 BI framework and currently runs on Oracle 9i database.
Other BI tools a company employs can be used for data capture or viewing, while future releases will use other databases such as IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server.
Andy Kellett, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said: "In principle the ideas behind Platform Intelligence are very good. It appears to work in fairly narrow vertical markets but the message going out is 'we can now take this into other areas'."
At release the software includes four modules, some specifically industry-related:
Infrastructure Insight carries out data collection, trend analysis, reporting and visualisation of IT infrastructure operation and utilisation.
Application Insight gives more in-depth views of grid and other distributed applications, showing things such as utilisation by operating system type for a design group.
Workload Insight is geared to product development for designers, engineers and scientists; it shows who is doing what on which machine for what project.
Licence Insight is designed for manufacturers to manage the cost and optimal use of high-price engineering software licences.
Further modules are being prepared, including capacity planning and profiling - which, Antilla said, was a hot topic because of system consolidation needs - and real return on investment that separates soft and hard system costs.
Pricing will vary because it includes implementation and support that varies according to company networks and needs.
But Antilla's typical figures are: Infrastructure Insight £50-65,000; Application Insight £40-45,000; Workload Insight £30-42,000 and Licence Insight £13,000.
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