N+I: CA's Kumar touts Unicenter on-demand

Seemingly borrowing a page from IBM's playbook, Computer Associates CEO Sanjay Kumar used his N+I keynote Tuesday to introduce updates to CA's Unicenter network monitoring software. The updates enable on-demand access to as much network computing power as workers need.

LAS VEGAS -- Sanjay Kumar, CEO of Computer Associates International Inc., used his keynote address at Networld+Interop 2003 to make the case for better management of network resources and to preview additions to the company's network monitoring software.

Kumar said that many companies do not understand how they are using their current network assets. Some devices may be overtaxed, while others go unused. In environments where network resources are increasingly tied to critical business practices, companies need to gain a better understanding of their resources, he said.

Following Kumar's talk, Computer Associates announced six new modules for its Unicenter network management suite. The modules, Kumar said, are designed to provide companies with on-demand computing and ensure that employees have access to as much network computing power as they need.

Of the six new Unicenter modules, these four are most closely tied to enabling on-demand computing:

-- Unicenter Network and Systems Management (Unicenter NSM) 3.1 allows companies to view IT infrastructure according to the business function that it supports and tracks changes as they occur.

-- Unicenter Management for WebMethods 3.0 integrates with NSM to track how applications relate to business functions.

-- Unicenter NSM Dynamic Reconfiguration Option helps to ensure that needed bandwidth is allocated when necessary.

-- Unicenter Asset Management 4.0 gathers information about network resources, a necessary step in determining how to use those resources.

CA is not the first vendor to discover the business need for on-demand computing. Other companies have identified the trend and have developed their own names for it. Hewlett-Packard Co. calls it adaptive management, and IBM Corp.'s autonomic management products are part of its utility computing program, which is also called on-demand. A number of smaller companies are also developing systems that tie business function to network resources and performance.

Conference attendee Jim Hansen, an advisor with the Long Beach, Calif., consultancy Computers UpDated, said that even small companies waste resources. Many times they don't have a great sense of their assets, he said, or to what extent they are using the equipment they have. Some servers go unused, while others create bottlenecks.

The vision for on-demand computing that Kumar is pushing is one that many companies need, Hansen said.

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