CAs Unicenter 11.1 Builds on MDB

The upgrade to CA's network and systems management software provides improved integration.

CA is seeking to lower the barriers to acquiring its Unicenter product by introducing Release 11.1 of its flagship network and systems management software.

Unicenter NSM r11.1 further exploits the common MDB (Management Database) that debuted with the Unicenter r11 rollout late in 2005. The goal: to deliver greater levels of integration across CA Unicenter products.

For example, the new version integrates several offerings that had been sold as add-ons, making it faster and easier to deploy. It now includes Unicenter NSM Active Directory Management Option, NSM Systems Performance Option, NSM Monitoring Option for z/OS and the Unicenter Management Portal.

The integration was a plus for beta testers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston.

"Performance information is collected by the performance agent, and you just point and click, and [it appears] on your portal, which is integrated with r11.1. That makes it easier to use," said Luis Hernandez, lead software systems specialist in IS at the medical branch.

More important, it delivers greater integration with CAs eHealth and Spectrum management products, acquired when CA bought Concord Communications in July 2005.

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"At the event base it includes the ability for one or the other product to have an event flow into the other product and trigger action alerts, notifications and so on," said Vince Re, chief architect at CA, in Islandia, N.Y. "At a deeper level, were taking initial steps toward management data integration in the r11.1 product."

At the same time, in the new release—available Sept. 12—CA delivers an implementation of the MDB running on Microsofts SQL Server, rather than its initial Ingres database.

Hernandez said his organization had avoided the r11 upgrade in part because of the Ingres foundation. "We were reluctant to go with a database we didnt have any expertise in," he said. "We know about SQL Server."

The Management Command Center console for NSM r11.1 also brings event management up to a more sophisticated level.

"In the past, it was about suppressing events, accumulating them," Re said. "This is analytics on top of the events. It gives a bit of correlation and root-cause analysis and the ability to notify people and open help desk tickets without customization."

NSM r11.1 also reduces the amount of "noise" generated by events through an adaptive configuration feature that creates a variable base line that is consistent with historical patterns for managed devices such as servers, said Ajei Gopal, general manager of CAs Enterprise Systems Management Business Unit.

CA also sought to lower product acquisition hurdles by simplifying the pricing structure for the product, which, in the past, was difficult to calculate. "The manager component will be a flat $2,000, and theres an additional variable cost for each of the managed resources. It allows customers to take what they need, and it results in a staged pricing structure," Gopal said.

"It turns out the complexity of pricing has become a real pain for end users. Theres been a lot of pressure to change that," said Rich Ptak, an analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates, in Amherst, N.H.

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