24 May 2004 Computer Associates’ chief technology officer Yogesh Gupta has used his keynote at the software giant’s user conference in Las Vegas to put more flesh on the bones of the company’s renewed focus on systems management, with new offerings in asset management, web services and wireless security.
Given recent high-level changes in CA’s own management, Gupta’s 12 years with the company make him a more reliable and considered barometer of CA’s direction Ken Cron, the interim CEO of just two months. Cron’s opening keynote was soundbite-friendly and well-intentioned, but essentially vacuous.
So it was something of a relief when Gupta tried to tie down the so-called “age of management software” to CA’s philosophy of making IT a service to the business. “On demand computing is all about management,” he told delegates. There were even some solid product announcements to back up the philosophy, even if progress is still slow.
Most attention-grabbing was a new wireless security and management package that enables CIOs to draw virtual “cages” to define the boundaries of a WiFi network. The Wireless Site Management (WSM) software, which is still only in its beta version, will automate the rotation of encryption keys and allow graphical mapping of wireless LANs and the devices using them. It can also target and eliminate rogue access points.
The latest release of Web Services Distributed Management r3.1 (WSDM — supposedly pronounced “wisdom”) monitors and reports on the performance, availability and reliability of service-oriented architectures, and now supports elements such as free-form XML, electronic data interchange (EDI) and legacy technologies. It will also be the first CA software to be made available both as a client application and as a hosted service on its website.
Accompanying this will be the Web Services Performance Index, an online listing which uses WSDM to monitor around 70 participating public web services such as Salesforce, Amazon and Google.
Unicenter Asset Intelligence, CA’s asset management suite, is still in development, but has attracted much attention on the demo floor. Gupta’s message here was that a CIO cannot manage his infrastructure without understanding it, so this tool shows inventory, performance and utilization, procurement/retirement details and risk.
CA also made several open source announcements, including a partnership with Jboss Group, which makes open-source application servers, to create a relational database platform for J2EE. CA also promised to open source its Ingres relational database product and its Kernel Generalized Event Management (KGEM) management software will be incorporated into a future release of the Linux kernel.
Also announced was the CA Trusted Open Source Licence (CA TOCL), a proprietary version of the GPL which brings the benefits of open source software with the “trusted lineage” and steady support of a large software company, according to CA.
“We are bridging the gap between the bazaar and the cathedral,” said senior vice president Mark Barrenechea, referring to the book by open source advocate Eric Raymond, which describes the differences between the proprietary and open-source software communities.