CA Outlines Its Own On-Demand Computing Vision

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2003-04-30

CA Outlines Its Own On-Demand Computing Vision

LAS VEGAS—Computer Associates International Inc. yesterday at Networld + Interop outlined its vision for on-demand computing and put some products behind it.

Unlike the platform providers such as IBM or Hewlett Packard Co., whose strategies are centered around their hardware platforms and who dont yet have products to back up their vision, CA waited to be able to deliver real functionality before launching its campaign, according to Sanjay Kumar, chairman and CEO of the Islandia, N.Y., company.

"We decided a year ago to start on this, but we wanted to have products to show. We have taken the first steps. The platform guys—IBM, Sun and HP—talked about (utility or autonomic computing), but they had no products and no product roadmap," said Kumar in an interview here.

"IBMs not there yet, and they have a very vertical focus," added CA customer Cynthia Luman, vice president of operations at CSC Technology, a Jacksonville, Fla., Subsidiary of CSX Corp.

CAs Unicenter brand is at the heart of its strategy and represents the first steps toward more dynamic deployment and re-allocation of computing resources.

CA introduced six new or enhanced Unicenter offerings that support its vision, in which "resources can be managed on demand beyond the enterprise in a loosely knit grid of computing power," he described in his keynote address yesterday.

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Unicenter Network and Systems Management 3.1 add the ability to dynamically discover and map IP resources to the business functions they support. In the new release, maps are dynamically updated as changes are made to the networked environment. New data integration services in the Unicenter monitoring tool allow it to access and aggregate management data from multiple sources such as BMC Software Inc.s Patrol application performance management software or Cisco Systems Inc.s CiscoWorks router management software.

"The auto-discovery capability allows us to map these views to our customers business with no user intervention, and well be able to detect software configuration problems from a single location," said Unicenter user George Fiedorowicz, vice president of technology operations at Concord EFS Inc.

"We have peaks and valleys in our transaction processing. Before we had sized capacity to meet peak periods, but that leaves us with unused capacity. We can now dynamically reconfigure that," he added.

CA also added a new Unicenter NSM Dynamic Reconfiguration Option that allows uses to monitor business service levels, anticipate the need to boost performance and then trigger the allocation of more capacity.

Such capability wont work with applications that cannot deal with multiple instances of themselves, Kumar warned, although most ERP, CRM and other enterprise applications can do so. In addition, applications that exclusively own the data, which cant be shared with other applications, wont be supported.

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But generic services such as file and print services or storage area networks can be addressed, along with Web-services enabled applications, Kumar said.

"Its the generic computing capability where the vision starts," he said.

CA also announced version 3.0 of its Unicenter Management for WebMethods, which also works with Unicenter NSM to dynamically link applications and infrastructure components with the business processes they support.

Version 4.0 of the Unicenter Software Delivery electronic distribution tool can distribute applications and operating systems that automate provisioning and reallocate resources based on fluctuating demand. It also manages software interdependencies to better support on-demand infrastructure functions.

Unicenter Asset Management 4.0 can present an accurate representation of multi-dimensional software and hardware assets.

Finally, Unicenter ServicePlus Service Desk 6.0 brings a measure of self-management to devices and applications under the management of third-party tools by allowing those elements to automatically interact with the help desk.

The platform-independent CA pitched the idea of using IT management to achieve the goals of on-demand or utility computing, which include the ability to dynamically allocate computing resources with changing business requirements, and at the same time increase the efficiency with which those resources are used. Others advocate an "overhaul of existing equipment," asserted Kumar.

"The need for on-demand computing is clear. Resource utilization of IT systems is really low. Most computing environments are over-engineered to meet peak demands. Whats missing is the efficient management of those resources," said Kumar in his keynote yesterday.

The benefit to customers is the re-alignment of IT with the business, greater IT responsiveness and greater IT efficiencies, he added.

CAs vision of on-demand management takes place in two stages: the first involves an "internal utility," while the second involves the "community utility," said Kumar.

"Today were getting set for the first stage—how to reconfigure blade servers transparently," said Kumar.

CAs vision will also incorporate its security and storage management brands later in the year, according to Yogesh Gupta, CAs CTO. "We will do cross-brand solutions suites," he said.

Those developments could be outlined as soon as CA World this summer, Kumar predicted.

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