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MValent updates graphical 'dashboard' for application configuration management

Integrity 4.0 from mValent includes an improved graphical user interface for IT directors to manage application configurations and changes.

The new version of mValent Inc.'s configuration and change management software includes a so-called "dashboard" that the company claims makes it easier for data center managers to track applications and conform to compliance regulations.

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This is the Burlington, Mass. company's fourth version of its Integrity program. It is its first since September and the first to include the Infrastructure Change Dashboard. Company officials say it will be available June 28 with a starting price of $100,000.

The dashboard is the highlight of the new version. It offers a Web-like graphical interface allowing an IT manager to see servers and applications under management, how much change there has been to each application at any given time, and who made the changes. The company says the enhancements help automate configuration and change processes under ITIL, a set of best practices toward good service management.

"It can get to the root cause of problems," said Bill Thornburg, mValent vice president of product management. "A lot of times you change something and it was one part in a chain of things that had to line up just right, and that change caused it to not work correctly. Anytime a system is not working like it should be, that's downtime. Or sometimes they work right, but they're really slow."

"You make a change in one area and it has unforeseen effect in another area," Jim Hickey, vice president of marketing, added. "That complexity manifests itself in a lot of unplanned downtime."

Integrity has the ability to save versions of a system's configuration, allowing data center managers to go back to an earlier version to figure out what went wrong when change to an application has been made. The dashboard feature also has the ability to create reports for internal auditing and for complying with industry or government regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which details how long companies should store electronic records.

Integrity can also weave itself into trouble-ticket programs from other companies to better connect the flow from incidents to solutions.

"The dashboard is definitely nice in terms of consolidating information for application changes," said Stephen Elliot, research manager at Framingham, Mass.-based research firm IDC. "They've done a pretty good job of looking at the application changes, and I think the dashboard really shows what the different managers need to see in a crisp fashion."

Elliot added that configuration management programs are becoming "more and more a foundational piece of technology," especially for companies with large management platforms that must keep applications, servers and other configuration items organized.

MValent's customers include State Street Corp., Federated Department Stores Inc., National Grid and Marriott. It says the companies have used Integrity to reduce configuration incidents, cut down the amount of time IT staff has to spend on those problems and meet auditing needs quicker. The companies were not available to comment for this story.

"Our software reduces operational costs," Thornburg said. "It's really about automating a lot of manual IT processes. We see a lot of people working nights and weekends on manual processes, and this is a problem that's not going away."

MValent's new software will compete with similar application management programs from Relicore Inc., Wily Technology Inc. and Collation.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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