CA Cuts Complexity of Managing Managers

The new CA Desktop and Server Management R11 rolls asset management, electronic software delivery and remote control into a single product.

CA on March 20 brought three of its desktop and server administration tools under the Unicenter R11 umbrella to provide an integrated tool set that shares a common architecture and agent.

The new CA Desktop and Server Management R11 offering combines asset management, electronic software delivery and remote control into a single product that exploits CAs common services and new MDB (management database).

The tool set—formerly Desktop DNA and Server DNA tools from CAs Miramar acquisition—is designed to reduce the complexity involved in managing the management tools, according to Michael Walker, director of product marketing for desktop and server management in Santa Barbara, Calif.

"Integration with the MDB allows the desktop and server management solution to operate at a whole new level of integration with the Unicenter service desk and asset management solution to provide a single source of truth for the MDB from the silo organizations within the IT department," he said.

Key benefits that fall out of the integration and unified architecture include the ability to improve service levels by automating and streamlining desktop management practices as well as a reduction in the cost of ongoing operational activities such as deploying new patches or operating system upgrades.

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CA also created a comprehensive patch management function in the new release that better manages the workflow in the patch management process and reduces the burden of testing for interoperability issues from one patch to another.

Rather than deploying patches in an ad hoc fashion, the new Unicenter Patch Management solution encourages users to roll out combined patches on a monthly basis—unless a patch addresses an urgent security risk.

The offering, which is sold on a subscription basis, draws on the activities of a CA content research team that researches and provides meta data for all patches made available in a given date.

The team creates a package of multiple patches that takes into account all of the interdependencies of each.

"That allows us to remove that burden from the customer from having to figure out all that interoperability between the multiple patches," claimed Patrick Schreifels, product manager for desktop and server management in Bloomington, Minn.

The patch meta data package is sent to CAs patch management offering, which uses the CA Unicenter Asset Management offering to verify the patch is applicable to the customers environment.

Once verified, it starts through the workflow defined in Unicenter Patch Management to guide the desktop or server administrator through the process of accepting the patch, testing it, verifying it and deploying it through Unicenter software delivery.

"The targeting and delivery of the patch is handled by asset management and software delivery in the Windows product or Unicenter. The patch manager takes advantage of that infrastructure to identify patches for the environment and does the delivery of those," Schreifels said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCA launches major revamp of asset management offerings. Click here to read more.

CA also carved out a Windows-only CA Desktop Management Suite for Windows offering that provides asset management, discovery, inventory and tracking, software deployment, remote user support and a desktop backup component. It uses a common agent and a single installation process.

CAs common security mechanisms are also exploited in the new CA Desktop and Server Management R11 release, which protects against a rogue system from entering the environment and spoofing the manager into thinking the rogue system is something its not, according to Schreifels. It uses certificate based authentication.

The new products are available now. The Windows desktop management suite starts at $86 per managed asset with volume discounts. The Unicenter Patch Management content subscription service license starts at $12 per managed asset for an annual subscription.

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