CA has fleshed out its application development suite with the acquisition of Nolio, adding a release management tool to its LISA app delivery platform.
The LISA suite is CA’s push into DevOps, allowing firms to develop and test apps in a virtualised environment before pushing them out to production. CA acquired LISA with its purchase of ITKO back in June 2011.
At the CA World show in Las Vegas this week, the firm announced another acquisition in this space, confirming the purchase of app deployment firm Nolio, which had been rumoured for a few weeks. Terms of the Nolio transaction were not disclosed.
The main selling point for LISA until now has been the ability to develop apps in a virtualised environment, meaning if a developer wants to test out how an app will work with PayPal, for example, they can create a virtual version of the payment platform rather than having to wait for the one official PayPal interface to be available. CA has now added an app release tool to the LISA family.
CA LISA Release Automation, which is based on the Nolio technology, is designed to let firms push apps from development into production across different IT environments spanning physical, virtual and cloud.
Bjarne Rasmussen, CA CTO EMEA, said that the Nolio acquisition allows CA to offer customers a complete 360 degree circle around app development and deployment, from the initial development to production to monitoring, which then feeds back into future app development plans.
“With Nolio, we’re letting firms move their programs from production into release, getting it from the datacentre to be ready for a user to use on their computer. In the past, you wrote the code, and then prayed to who you pray to and then released it, but you don’t need to work in panic mode anymore,” he told V3.
“That’s why we acquired Nolio, to let you check for problems like logical errors and bugs in the code before the app is put into production.”
Rasmussen said he viewed the DevOps push at CA as the most important for the firm.
“Any business that has applications has to think about how that app behaves if you expose it to customers. It has to be bug-free, and performance needs to be rock solid,” he noted.
The DevOps suite is most relevant to large customers such as banks and telcos, or any firm that has its own in-house development team.
“If you just write one app, you don’t really need LISA," Rasmussen said. "But for larger organisations, like Verizon when it was first launching the iPhone, you need to check first that the back-end system will be able to cope with user demand.”
CA sells its app development and monitoring products as separate tools rather than a combined suite, and also ensures each one has a well-developed interface so they can integrate with any third-party product already in place. CA LISA is licensed per concurrent user for testing, meaning that you can buy a certain number of licences that can all be used at the same time rather than per developer. For the deployment of virtual services into runtime containers, these containers are licensed per copy.
“We might package the solutions in other ways in the future. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we came out with an app delivery solution as software-as-a service for smaller firms. We’ve already announced app monitoring as a service,” Rasmussen said.
Spencer Izard, research manager at IDC, agreed with Rasmussen that DevOps is a key area for the future of CA.
“DevOps offers the ability to test, provision and operate a business application end to end, and the only other firm talking about this is UC4. I think if CA can help manage apps, that will help turn around their business. They’re moving up the stack and that’s the right way to go,” he said.
“But I’d like to understand from a performance perspective if CA can actually simulate all types of scenarios. If development is spread across multiple testing environments, like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, how do you effectively simulate and test apps for a production environment?”
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