Computer Associates chief launches Unicenter 3.0

ORLANDO, Fla. – The newest version of Unicenter has a lot in common with Lego building blocks, Sanjay Kumar told CA World attendees here on Monday.

The Computer Associates International (CA) president and CEO unveiled new functionality in Version 3.0 of the company’s flagship enterprise management software product, stressing its modularity and flexibility as two of its key enhancements.

“We are focused, in Unicenter 3.0, in moving the management of the infrastructure into the infrastructure,” he said. “This means we have to make Unicenter more flexible than ever before. [It’s] also more modular than ever before. Combined into a new business model, it allows customers to participate in Unicenter efforts and the value [it] can deliver.”

Kumar said that customers will now be able to get the product in “more incremental chunks” than in the past, and will enjoy more scalability and reliability as well.

Valerie O’Connell, an analyst with Boston-based The Aberdeen Group, said she expects Unicenter 3.0’s modularity to decrease its cost for customers.

“You don’t buy all your food for a year. You buy what you want when you need it and use it as you go. This (Unicenter version) places more responsibility on the customers to know what they need,” said O’Connell, Aberdeen’s managing director of enterprise systems management.

Kumar also announced that the company will now focus on four core brands: Unicenter; eTrust, for enterprise security; BrightStor, its newly dubbed enterprise storage brand; and Jasmine, its portal technology. “Portals will become the new eyes for CA software,” Kumar said. “More and more of our products will be shipped with portal technology, and the portals will become your eyes to the computing world.”

CA also introduced a host of partnerships intended to support Unicenter 3.0. CA and Oracle Corp. are teaming on Unicenter Management for Oracle 9i Application Server, which ties Unicenter to the recently released latest version of Oracle’s database software.

Oracle offers its own portal interface to its 9i database, with which CA is competing. Asked which portal product customers should use – Oracle’s or CA’s – Rene Bonvanie, Oracle’s vice-president of 9i marketing acknowledged the overlap in functionality and said that while Oracle encourages customers to stick with Oracle components, the company recognizes that it’s not the only IT vendor.

CA has also paired with Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) to integrate support for RIM’s BlackBerry wireless handhelds into Unicenter. CA is working to develop Unicenter capability to let administrators manage a company’s BlackBerry deployments through Unicenter, and to enable mobile access via BlackBerry devices to Unicenter functions such as shipping, inventory and help desk ticket tracking. Windows CE support for such functions is already built into Unicenter 3.0, said CA’s Andersen, and support for the Palm operating system is in development.

– With files from IDG News Service

Computer Associates International Inc. in Canada is at

Research in Motion Ltd. in Waterloo, Ont., is at

Oracle Canada is at