Cirba Targets Software-Defined Infrastructure Control with Workload-Aware Predictive Analytics

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1 Vendor Profile Cirba Targets Software-Defined Infrastructure Control with Workload-Aware Predictive Analytics Mary Johnston Turner David Immerman IDC OPINION Software-defined infrastructure (SDI) enables the creation and operation of open, elastic IT infrastructure that disaggregate hardware resources from software controllers via the use of APIs and unified, policy-based orchestration technologies. SDI solutions operate independent of any hardwarespecific dependencies and are programmatically extensible. Virtualized computing is a widely used example of SDI, but similar capabilities are now being extended to storage and networking. As SDI environments scale up and become more self-service driven, advanced analytics are required to manage workload requests, placements, and migrations so as to maximize the use of CPU, memory, storage, and network resources. Workload-aware predictive analytics solutions such as Cirba are becoming important enablers of large-scale SDI environments by providing a number of important capabilities, including: Maintaining performance by balancing infrastructure supply and application demand Reducing infrastructure costs by increasing VM density and infrastructure resource utilization Improving IT staff productivity by codifying operational policies and automating many formerly manual workload provisioning and migration tasks Minimizing software license costs by optimizing the number of active licenses needed to support specific workloads and business processes Reducing risk by providing a mechanism to automatically enforce compliance with key business and operational policies IN THIS VENDOR PROFILE This IDC Vendor Profile analyzes Cirba, a privately funded infrastructure software company providing software-defined infrastructure control for virtual and cloud environments. Headquartered in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, Cirba was founded in 1999 but did not release its flagship Cirba Analytics Engine until Initially targeted at optimizing physical-to-virtualized computing transitions, Cirba has expanded over the past nine years to address a broad set of virtual, cloud, and software-defined datacenter workload analytics tasks. The company has taken several rounds of venture capital funding totaling approximately $40 million. It currently reports having 130 employees and 350 paying customers. IDC estimates the company saw software revenue of less than $20 million in SITUATION OVERVIEW SDI solutions enable more efficient and flexible use of datacenter compute, storage, and network infrastructure by disaggregating hardware resources from software controllers via the use of APIs and July 2015, IDC #258118

2 unified policy-based orchestration technologies. SDI shifts value away from customized hardware platforms toward software control, orchestration, and service delivery solutions that allow IT teams to optimize workload placements and infrastructure densities using policy-based controls. Early SDI adopters interviewed by IDC consistently identify several important benefits and goals for their SDI initiatives, including: Accelerating time to market Achieving cost reduction Avoiding vendor lock-in Increasing agility Policy-driven, workload-aware predictive analytics and orchestration are needed to automate and govern the unified configuration, provisioning, and operation of IT across software-defined environments. These analytics solutions must be able to integrate with a range of modern and legacy resources; analyze workload memory, CPU, and storage needs; and proactively allocate resources and manage reservations on demand. Company Overview Headquartered in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, Cirba was founded in 1999 and launched the initial version of its Analytics Engine in The company has slowly grown over time, reaching a current employee head count of 130. The company reports it has approximately 350 paying customers. The majority of Cirba's customers are in North America, with recent growth being seen in Western Europe as well. Cirba describes its primary offering as a "software-defined infrastructure control system" that can significantly improve the density of virtualized and cloud infrastructure environments by analyzing requested resources and orchestrating optimal workload placement and migrations in live environments. Customers interviewed by IDC credit Cirba with helping them substantially reduce infrastructure and software licensing costs by improving the density of their environments without compromising application and workload performance. Company Strategy Cirba takes a demand-driven approach to software-defined infrastructure optimization and control. The model-based predictive analytics platform balances resource requests, reservations, and existing workload requirements with infrastructure availability and business SLAs. Rather than simply deploying a workload onto the next randomly available server, Cirba will consider the workload's specific performance characteristics and operational policies such as CPU, memory, and storage requirements as well as high-availability or related characteristics to determine the ideal host environment for the workload. It will determine the optimal host server level placement by rebalancing workloads within the environment to maximize infrastructure density and resource utilization without impacting workload SLAs. Cirba often describes this workload placement optimization as playing "Tetris" with the workload to increase density. The Cirba open API can integrate with downstream configuration and provisioning tools to orchestrate workload placement and eliminate manual provisioning activities IDC #

3 The visualization aspects of Cirba's solutions are an important differentiator. Cirba's dashboards visually display resource performance state and risks. Role-based views are optimized for several different personas including: IT operations staff rely on the Cirba Control Console to quickly identify which clusters, hosts, VMs, and storage resources are at risk and which are being used inefficiently. The Control Console enables automated "what if" analysis. Integrations with third-party management platforms and ticketing systems enable runtime workload rebalancing and VM sizing. IT operations teams and DevOps users rely on the Cirba Reservation Console to manage resource requests and reservations and automate the routing of new workloads to the best possible hosting environment as well as to manage associated capacity reservations for compute and storage resources. Capacity and demand managers use Cirba's solutions in a number of ways. The Cirba Transformation Console is used to model server and datacenter transformations. Combining policy-driven, rule-based analytics and prescriptive consolidation plans, Cirba enables organizations to consolidate and migrate infrastructure rapidly. Purpose-built rules and templates detect potential configuration, utilization, technology, or platform-specific risks early in the analysis process. Cirba's Control Console provides forecasting for virtual and cloud infrastructure that includes trending both for existing workload demand and the demand pipeline (through capacity reservations) for more accurate visibility into future requirements. IT executives access predefined reports on infrastructure utilization, cost, and risk to gain visibility into how their teams can improve efficiency without introducing risk. Cirba supports VMware, Red Hat, Microsoft's Hyper-V, KVM, and IBM's PowerVM on AIX hypervisors. OpenStack support was recently released. Public cloud services support is currently available for IBM SoftLayer bare metal services and Amazon Web Services enablement is part of the current road map. Policies are available out of the box to manage and optimize per-processor or core-based licensing costs for Microsoft Windows Server Datacenter Edition, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM WebSphere, Oracle Database, and Oracle WebLogic. Cirba's ability to optimize VM placements in order to reduce per-processor licensing costs is frequently cited as a source of significant cost savings. A financial services customer interviewed by IDC noted that Cirba has helped significantly increase the density of that firm's infrastructure through compacting hosts and applications and optimizing workload placements specifically to reduce licensing requirements. This has allowed the firm to reduce server software license costs and postpone hardware purchases. From a go-to-market perspective, Cirba relies on its direct sales force to drive large engagements with Global 2000 enterprise customers. Cirba has direct sales presence in North America and Europe. The company is building a partner program that includes a range of resellers and service providers. An outsourcer program targets firms such as IBM and Wipro that use Cirba to optimize the density of the virtual environments they manage for clients. Hardware vendors, such as Cisco, HP, IBM, and Dell that have active professional services and outsourcing groups, team with Cirba to help manage transformation and virtual and cloud environment optimization projects. The company also partners with some of these organizations (e.g., Cisco and IBM) to resell Cirba solutions along with additional traditional resellers and channel partners in North America, EMEA, and the Asia/Pacific regions. Cirba reports that its typical multiyear subscription contract averages $1 million in total value. Pricing is based on the number and type of managed targets. Large accounts can frequently monitor more than 5,000 VMs. The largest customer has more than 120,000 targets under management. Cirba is 2015 IDC #

4 primarily sold as an on-premise, licensed software subscription although a managed service offering deployed on-premise is available. FUTURE OUTLOOK Reducing the capex and opex of virtualized, cloud, and software-defined datacenter hardware and software licenses requires ongoing attention to balancing workload requests, operational policies, and infrastructure availability. IDC's research shows that by 2017: 66% of enterprise IT operations and DevOps decision makers plan to make use of capacity planning analytics to improve datacenter utilization and performance. 63% of enterprise IT operations and DevOps decision makers expect to invest in analytics to support virtual workload placement and optimization in runtime. 62% of enterprise IT operations and DevOps decision makers expect to implement proactive, predictive performance and trend analytics. Predictive workload-aware demand analytics and orchestration will be vital enablers of efficient datacenter operations and resource utilization across virtualized, cloud, and software-defined datacenters in the coming years. ESSENTIAL GUIDANCE Advice for Cirba To date, Cirba has focused on helping customers reduce the cost of running traditional physical and virtual datacenters by increasing hardware utilization and reducing per-processer-based operating system and middleware costs. The company has delivered support for most of the major hypervisor and operating system environments as well as private clouds powered by OpenStack, Cisco, VMware, IBM, and Red Hat. However, to date, the company has put less of a priority on public cloud support. IDC's research indicates that the majority of enterprise IT organizations plan to adopt hybrid cloud architectures in the coming year. To remain relevant to these organizations as they evolve their architectures and workload optimization priorities, Cirba will need to continue to invest and evolve its solution to optimize workload placements across public, private, and hybrid architectures. By continuing to engage with leading cloud, hypervisor, and software-defined infrastructure partners, Cirba will be well positioned to align its R&D road map with the priorities of its large enterprise customer and service provider partners IDC #

5 LEARN MORE Related Research IDC PeerScape: Hybrid Cloud Management Practices for Enabling Workload Portability and Performance Across Public and Private Cloud Infrastructure (IDC #256120, May 2015) IDC MaturityScape: Hybrid Cloud Management (IDC #253611, January 2015) Hybrid Cloud Strategies Create Management Challenges (IDC #252655, December 2014) IT Operations Analytics Special Report: Buyer Interviews and Survey Results (IDC #252344, November 2014) 2015 IDC #

6 About IDC International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make factbased decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Global Headquarters 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA USA idc-insights-community.com Copyright Notice This IDC research document was published as part of an IDC continuous intelligence service, providing written research, analyst interactions, telebriefings, and conferences. Visit to learn more about IDC subscription and consulting services. To view a list of IDC offices worldwide, visit Please contact the IDC Hotline at , ext (or ) or for information on applying the price of this document toward the purchase of an IDC service or for information on additional copies or Web rights. [trademark] Copyright 2015 IDC. Reproduction is forbidden unless authorized. All rights reserved.

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