Portals First, Web Services Second at CA World

eLABorations: New technology in CleverPath, BrightStor, Unicenter products shows the shape of things to come from CA

ORLANDO, Fla.—Computer Associates Internationals CA World was about a lot of things, but mostly the software company talked about portal technology.

CAs CleverPath 4.0 portal tool, released today, includes integration tools for incorporating third-party applications—an essential addition to the product for rapid deployment. Version 4.0 also has wireless device detection that allows it to automatically format information so it can be displayed correctly, and integration with a wide range of other CA products.

Portal technology was also touted in CAs Unicenter, its enterprise management tool set, and in BrightStor, the companys storage management product.

Although these products also possess a nascent version of portal services—basically a Web-enabled interface that combines information from a variety of sources into a secure, easily accessible interface—it seems clear that the portal technology foreshadows future developments.

To that end, BrightStor has gained a portal that allows it to present storage resources in a Web interface and to also kick off configuration actions on these newly discovered systems. For example, during a demonstration, some Hitachi storage devices were configured with LUNs and made available for use with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. eWeek Labs looks forward to putting BrightStor to the test to see if independent testing reveals the same ease of use.

Web Services Ahead

Wherever theres a portal, Web services are sure to follow, and this was certainly the case at CA World. IT managers dont yet have to make a decision about whether to adopt Microsofts .Net or Suns J2EE platform: CA supports both.

When pressed, Yogesh Gupta, CAs CTO, refused to disclose the number of developers assigned to each platform.

"We see that a large amount of the development for either platform is in common," Gupta said. "So when we did the Web services development for the new version of CleverPath, the specific work to build the adapters for .Net and J2EE involved very few people."

It was clear from presentations made at the show and from work weve done at eWeek Labs that the hardest work on a portal comes in tying together the behind-the-scenes applications. If products are already Web-enabled or if the number of applications to be integrated is relatively small—five or fewer—then portal development should be relatively quick.

The converse is also true.

Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.