Computer Associates may not be going open-source with its product offerings, but it is using the open source distribution model—free downloads for basic functionality, payment for added functions and services—as an example of how it wants to do business in the future.
The IT management company, based in Islandia, N.Y., will introduce on April 24 a new Web-based, freely downloadable DCC (database command center) software module for Internet Explorer that database administrators can use to manage various kinds of databases through many platforms across an enterprise system from any Internet-connected computer.
DCC enables DBAs to perform a laundry list of administrative tasks—through a single-sign-on process—across Windows, Linux, Unix and mainframe databases from a browser interface without having to install any client-based software, the company said.
"This is a new development from a major [database management] vendor. This new tool makes access to data anywhere in the enterprise system very easy," analyst Richard Ptak of Ptak Noel Associates told eWEEK.
"CA is going for sort of an open-source play—giving away a certain set of functionality in return for possibly selling additional software and services down the line. Its a smart move."
Companies wishing to try the software free of charge can download it here.
Included at that site are data sheets, a flash demonstration and whitepapers—along with the download itself. Registration to the CA site is required to download the software.
The inaugural version of the command center can be used to access data from IBMs DB2, Oracle and the open-source Ingres databases.
The next edition—expected later in 2006—will add SQL functionality, said David Schipper, CA vice president of product marketing.
Later editions also will be optimized for other browsers, CA product manager Steve Lemme told eWEEK. Mozillas Firefox is the next one on the list, he said.
"Using this software, a DBA will be able to simply right-click on a database table, for example, and get a pop-up window to make an action decision," Schipper said.
"You can take a DB2 table for Unix, for example, and fast unload it to Oracle very quickly, and in one session. You can set these up as automated actions, also."
DCC also provides centralized schema management—which allows DBAs to create, alter and rename objects specific to each type of database from a common console—as well as unified cross-platform account management tools for granting and revoking access privileges and assigning user roles.
"There has been such a proliferation of DBs over the years, that access to all of them has been a painstaking exercise—particularly in large corporations" Ptak said. "This new DCC buffers over the differences and is really slick."
Ptak said that the DCC can be used to help a business build "a core set of data that can be shared throughout the enterprise."
"An [accredited] administrator can access files in the finance office, in purchasing, in accounting—even on the manufacturing floor, where theyre making products," Ptak said.
"This strengthens and centralizes access to all kinds of data, and this improved federation will help the business move more quickly toward its goals."
DCC also offers free data "unload" and "reorganization" functionality for the open-source Ingres r3, enabling DBAs to re-optimize databases that have become fragmented due to inserts, updates and deletes, the company said.
DCC serves as a common interface for accessing CAs proprietary Unicenter Database Management r11 suite, including:
- High-speed data unloading for DB2 UDB for Linux, UNIX, Windows databases: improves availability of corporate data by reducing the time for unloading and moving DB2 data.
- High-speed data unloading for Oracle databases: improves availability of corporate data by reducing the time for unloading and moving Oracle data.
- Online and offline Oracle database reorganization: improves efficiency of Oracle databases by recovering wasted space and restructuring objects that have become fragmented due to data inserts, updates and deletions.
All of the above software add-ons are "chargeable" and not freely available, Schipper said. Pricing is handled on an individual account basis.
Security of the web-based database management tool is not an issue, said CA product marketing manager Ben Scheerer.
"Whatever security is already in place in the customer system, we work with it directly," Scheerer said. "The single sign-on capability that comes in the DCC works as well as any LDAP [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol] e-mail host."