Speeding Up Installations a

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2005-11-13 Print this article Print

Priority for CA"> Brigham Youngs Jakins said he believes the integration direction CA is taking will make it easier to work with its products.

"We had a hard time fully implementing all the features of Unicenter [in the past] because it had too many bits and pieces," Jakins said.

"With R11, were very encouraged by what we see. [Unicenter Network and Systems Management Release 11] installed within 2 hours. Thats a first for working with CA. Were impressed with it."

Click here to read about CAs acquisition of iLumin. So far, the changes are making an impression on customers. Jakins said he is happy with the job Swainson has done to corral CAs vision and businesses.

"We like the fact that he seems to be bringing structure and organization to where we saw some looseness before," said Jakins, adding his organization is pleased to see the integration CA is bringing to the Identity and Access Management product line.

However, the heart of CAs integration effort, its MDB (Management Database), could fall short as users try to scale their implementations, according to Tom Bishop, chief technology officer at rival BMC Software Inc., in Austin, Texas.

"It sounds as though theyre trying to put all the management data in one place. Thats pretty courageous [or foolhardy]," said Bishop. "Different products have different uses for data, and trying to unify all that into a single, universal record that describes everything is, frankly, not scalable.

"Being able to have all the data in one place makes some problems simpler to solve, but we view the [configuration management database] as quickly going to have to deal with pretty ugly scalability issues relatively early in its life. Thats why we took on the scalability issue first with a federated approach," Bishop said.

In addition, the redesigned database could require that users working with existing versions of Unicenter using their own databases "rip and replace" those databases, Bishop added.

Click here to read about CAs Brightstor storage management suite. Still, Glenn Exline, IT and telecommunications manager for Patrick Air Force Base, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., said that he could easily take advantage of new common discovery features and a common management database built into Unicenter.

"The ability to do common discovery and [use] common data sources across the enterprise is a major step forward for CA. Thats something weve been asking for, for quite some time," he said.

"Currently, we have to run two discoveries, one for BrightStor SAN Manager and one for other [enterprise] information. It would be nice to run a single discovery and pull together all the information, and having a shared database would make things even easier for queries and reporting as well."

A Unicenter customer for the last seven years, Exline said he is very interested in the prospect of new predictive capability tools within Unicenter. However, he cautioned that predictive capability features hes seen in the past were, at times, too spotty.

"If we were to determine a particular drive in a particular server is going to die, the information being collected and analyzed, and [the product] making a prediction based on that requires historical knowledge that certain events lead to a particular event," Exline said.

"That could lead to [incorrect] actions taken or false findings ... Its kind of like predicting the stock market, but if vendors get it right, I think it could be great."

Patrick AFB runs Unicenter on all its servers to monitor status movement on the TCP/IP side, as well as for event management and correlation.

By recognizing that automated management capabilities will be paramount within customers increasingly heterogeneous environments, CA is taking steps to ensure its technology can coexist with rivals software and hardware, industry analysts said.

"CA has successfully moved from a tools- and products-focused company to one that spends in terms of the customers purchasing interest," said Rich Ptak, principal at Ptak, Noel & Associates, in Amherst, N.H.

"The customer operates in heterogeneous environments where integration within a vendors product set and outside of that set is critically important. CAs enterprise systems management solution will integrate with the other Big 3 [management] vendors: BMC, [Hewlett-Packard Co.] and IBM."

But the attention CA has focused on improving relationships with customers has not spread to smaller accounts, and its layoffs have distanced CA from those smaller customers, said Joseph Baugh, program manager at Sierra Southwest Electric Cooperative Inc., in Benson, Ariz.

"We totally lost our account team. We formerly had a great relationship with CA. Now were in limbo with them. I dont know how well their strategy is working," Baugh said.

"We havent had a whole lot of contact with CA in the last six months. If they can get that integration working across the product lines, itll bring real value back to their software."

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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