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Opsware tries on software for size

The newly minted software company unveils a product aimed at managing data for big companies, and gears up for "blade" server software next year.

Opsware on Wednesday unveiled a new product aimed at managing data for big companies, closing the book on its first quarter as a software company.

Opsware, formerly known as LoudCloud, unveiled version 3.5 of its data center automation software, which includes support for new operating systems and additional disaster recovery tools.

The company is also working on a version of its software configured for "blade" servers, small computer systems designed to fit side-by-side into a larger chassis.

In June, Opsware sold its Internet hosting business to global services giant EDS. Opsware at the time said it planned to focus on creating software that would help companies manage servers and business applications.

EDS also agreed to license Opsware software for its utility services business--a relatively new concept where companies buy information technology services in the same way they buy electricity, for example. Large technology companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard are interested in the concept, and Opsware is looking to capitalize on the trend.

"When (utility computing is) finally there, we envision our software being integrated into that," Opsware Chief Technology Officer Timothy Howes said.

Version 3.5 adds support for IBM's AIX operating system as well as for new versions of Solaris and Linux. It allows companies to manage data centers in multiple locations from a single console, and can be installed on top of existing data centers.

Pricing on the new software can range from $50,000 to $200,000 for initial installations, depending on the configuration. The software is available now.

The company's software for blade servers is expected in January. Blade servers, initially geared for the low-end server market, have grown in popularity as hardware makers release higher-end versions that incorporate more complex processors.

Pricing for the server software depends on configuration, but is expected to be around $50,000.