Unicenter r11: CA Takes A World View

Very, said President and CEO John Swainson, who called the massive Unicenter relaunch “the largest single product announcement in CA history.”

CA has expanded version 11 of its flagship network management product into a modular software suite able to control virtually all of the assets on a corporate network, said Russell Artzt, CA&'s executive vice president of products.

>> 'This is the largest single product announcement in CA history. ... At last we are going to use technology to manage technology.'
--JOHN SWAINSON, CA President and CEO, at his CA World keynote

The suite consists of four separate modules and two ancillary products governed under CA&'s Service Availability umbrella that can be used together to control a network.

With the Service Availability solution, CA wants a platform that reaches out into mixed network environments, collects every bit of data regarding all hardware and software, and then presents the findings through a single interface. From that single interface, and the central database that mines and correlates network data, nearly every network management task can be achieved, be it service and patch management, security and performance management, compliance and reporting, access configuration and task automation, said Artzt.

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The components of the Service Availability solution are Unicenter Network and Systems Management (NSM) r11, Unicenter Advanced Systems Management (ASM) r11, Unicenter Service Desk r11 and Unicenter Service Metric Analysis r11. Those products can be coupled with CA&'s eTrust security and BrightStor storage management software as well as integrate with third-party software applications, said Alan Nugent, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise systems management at CA.


CA's revitalized approach includes:


>> Unicenter Network and Systems Management
>> Unicenter Advanced Systems Management
>> Unicenter Service Desk
>> Unicenter Service Metric Analysis

Granular inspection of network data is a key characteristic of the new offerings. For example, the desktop and sever management view of NSM extends beyond a PC&'s available memory, processor type and OS licensing and can tell how many available slots there are on a board, said Artzt. By leveraging a central database, software inventory data can be correlated with hardware descriptions. This type of management insight can save companies millions of dollars, said Artzt.

Like any new technology, CA&'s Service Availability has its skeptics.

Michael Neimark, system engineer at Elbit Systems, a CA partner and builder of defense technology in Israel, said he might just recommend to his firm that it wait until the next version of Service Availability—the one with all the bugs worked out, he says—before committing to the platform.

“The idea is a beautiful idea to have everything in one view, in one interface,” said Neimark. "But in practice when you drill down into the data [within Service Availability], you begin to discover things that are missing.”

Neimark added that CA&'s focus of centralizing all network management under one roof conjures up the old fear of being stuck with a “single point of failure.”

But Anthony Ferrigno, CTO and vice president of business development at Ciber, a $900 million solution provider, MSP and CA partner in Edison, N.J., said that with Service Availability, CA has finally made a successful leap from point products to an integrated IT solution platform.