Server Farming

Mar 2 2009   4:09PM GMT

Tideway’s latest mapping software offers data center clarity

Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

How do you negotiate the best licensing deals with companies like Oracle? How do you provision servers and storage efficiently and make changes to software without screwing up the other software configurations in the data center?

The answer to all of these questions is “information,” said Richard Muirhead, CEO of Tideway, a New York-based software company with products that identify all the software – physical and virtual – within the data center.

“You have to know what you have and what you use to negotiate well, so understanding your environment pre- and post- virtualization is necessary to negotiate licenses,” Muirhead said. “We help people cut millions of dollars in costs in their data center by helping them find out what is already out there.”

Their newest product release, Tideway Foundation 7.2, is an automated discovery and application dependency mapping software that scans the data center continuously and tells the end user what is going on under the hood. It also lets IT analyze power consumption statistics for business applications, view their carbon footprint, and keeps end-of-life, unsupported software away from production.

“People usually don’t realize there is a product that gives this type of insight, so they muddle on as they always have…we have seen millions of dollars wasted on software licenses. One customer even had a million dollar server that they weren’t aware of that wasn’t being used,” Muirhead said.

According to Muirhead, users typically take about half a day to become proficient at using the software, which is deployed as a virtual appliance using the standard OVF format. The software is currently “optimized” for VMware, and will be supported for Hyper-V and XenServer later this year, Muirhead said.

Tideway’s software costs around $8-9 per server, per month, and a free community version, which can be applied to up to 30 servers, is available for download on their website. As for ROI, people typically see a 5X return within 90 days, Muirhead said. “It is very quick to deploy and cost effective.”

If you want to do some comparison shopping, other companies that offer application interdependency mapping software include IBM, BMC, CA, and Integrien.

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  • Dhesselink
    Sounds gr8 and will definately look into this version. But think about this: a) who is actually using the Oracle or CA software? b) what is it being used for? c) what definitions should be used for quantifying the actual use (Do users matter at all?) d) if you count usernames/userdata: It cannot say anything about the multiplexing front-end (or outdated /generic usernames, for that matter) e) Based on only data it is impossible to determine the license requirements. For example it's impossible to determine if the database is used for Metadata or live data (metadata databases should not need separate licenses) f) what if the software has not been configured to scan a specific subnet? It'll never know what's going on g) No tool will ever be able to tell if a specific environment is managed by need-to-be-licensed options and management packs...simply because it's impossible to do that h) No tool will understand if something's a failover cluster or standby environment... and most people will forget to scan those environments anyway i) I can continue forever with this list. In the end of the day, any software tool is as useful or useless as these 3 combinations: The person who I) created the inventory software II) installed the inventory software, and III) created the reporting screens IV) who interprets the data. Unfortunately I've found no tool so far that can replace common sense in the server enviroment. DH
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