Kumar: CA Targets Heterogeneous Storage Management

Computer Associates International

In a question-and answer-session with partners, Kumar said CA will be able to support competitors' APIs because of its "25 years of experience operating in the shadows of corporate giant IBM."

Whereas a company like IBM owns the hardware, operating system and major subsystems, CA has made its living making different system components interoperable, according to Kumar. "You've got to remember, this is in CA's blood," he said. "We have 25 years of experience in the hide-and-seek games. I am changing the APIs. I am not telling you. I am doing this." In 25 years, CA has never missed delivering versions of its mainstay Unicenter product that supports new IBM mainframe OS releases, he added.

Kumar said Veritas is a "good company, but CA is going to kick their ass." The remark drew loud applause from CA solution providers. Turning to EMC, Kumar said he doesn't understand the storage hardware giant's push to transform itself into a software company. "They are going to try," he said. "I've told [EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci and [EMC Executive Chairman Mike Ruettgers I don't get it.

"What all the other guys want to do, we have been there before," Kumar said. "CA has never missed supporting a major new operating system release or major new hardware changes."

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What's more, Islandia, N.Y.-based CA has strong relationships with large customers that it can leverage to make sure it keeps its heterogeneous pledge, Kumar noted. CA can get the right customers to say, "Either you play nice, or I ain't buying your hardware," he said, adding that hardware and software vendors resisting those rules of the game "will buckle."

"I've been there," Kumar said, noting that he wouldn't hesitate to call top executives from EMC or other competitors to make sure they cooperate to serve customers. "I've done it for a long, long time. That doesn't faze me one bit. We've been there. We've done it with IBM, which is the nastiest at playing that game. And we'll be there to back you up."

Kumar also touched on CA's new channel-preferred business model, which provides higher commissions for storage software sales that go through partners. He urged solution providers to work closely with their regional direct-sales reps.

"Remember, the direct-sales organization is also your friend. Go meet with the person running the direct-sales organization. Ask for a cubicle in the office. Tell them you want to come park yourself there. That is OK," Kumar said.

"You want to get integrated into our business," he added. "Before you know it, you'll become part of the fabric of our business. That is a great way to work."