Cassatt to Ship Major Collage Update

Data center automation startup Cassatt says it will ship Version 3.0 of its Collage management product in the first quarter of 2005. The upcoming release will enable Collage to manage multiple tiered applications and will add support for Windows servers.

Cassatt was founded about 15 months ago by William Coleman, former CEO of BEA Systems, who proceeded to bring a stellar management and creative team aboard the San Jose, Calif. company.

Collage is the result of two converging trends in IT, says Steve Levine, Cassatt’s vice president of corporate marketing. “The first is the ‘commoditization of computing architectures and the scaling out [through the use] of a large number of [cheap] Linux and Windows boxes,” says Levine.

The second convergent trend is the fragmentation of applications that’s being driven by the advent of Web services and the concomitant breaking up of large applications into smaller components. “That increases the challenge of managing a large number of systems,” says Levine. That’s, obviously, where Collage comes in.

Cassatt’s vision is to provide a “drop-in” – rather than “rip and replace” -- solution that doesn’t disrupt existing computing operations by its introduction, while providing a simple way to manage large numbers of servers and applications.

Key to this, executives say, Collage uses virtualization technologies to let systems managers “pool” servers and other resources, and then automatically dole them out as needed. Virtualizing the application and its operating environment simplifies administration and hides the complexity of managing the hardware and software behind the scenes, the company claims.

The company’s main marketing bullet point is to enable corporate customers to save money on both staff and technology by not having to “overbuild” computing infrastructure in order to meet service level agreements for all of their mission-critical applications.

“Servers in a Collage environment are interchangeable resources . . . [that can be] easily applied to a specific role. . . . [so that] the application, I/O, and administrative resources become modular processing nodes and are networked together in a managed environment,” reads a company statement.

Version 3.0 will provide capabilities to handle more complex environments, specifically multiple tiered applications, and Windows servers. Version 2.0 supports only Linux servers.

Collage Version 2.0 costs $25,000 for each controller and $1,500 per node, according to Levine. Pricing for Version 3.0 has not yet been announced.

Dan Kusnetzky, a systems software analyst with IDC, says Cassatt is competing with a lot of major players for virtual environment software, but with a distinct advantage. "They actually have stuff that other people are just talking about for futures," Kusnetzky said.

"It's possible to set up a computing configuration where you start with the bare metal, hooked to some storage. This software can load [a multi-tier application]. You can tell it ahead of time that this application needs two app servers, a database, for example. It's pretty clever. It's the third-generation of software, so it's not something where it's just slideware," Kusnetzky said.

ENT Editor Scott Bekker contributed to this report.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.