At the centre of Computer Associates International Inc.’s plans to integrate various Platinum products is its own Jasmine TND (The Next Dimension).

Announced in May at NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas, Jasmine TND is component-based database management and application development software that integrates information from different sources and operating systems.

“What we’ve done with the Jasmine TND infrastructure is [provide] a framework to (incorporate) all your data sources, allowing you to use different application development tools (or) use middle tiers if that is what you want to do. And it’s all tied together with services within the infrastructure which are based on Unicenter,” said Jim Callaghan, U.K. product marketing manager of information management products at CA.

“What we’ve got at the heart of the Jasmine TND infrastructure is a repository for everything that’s going on. Unicenter was actually put together on the same object model, but by extending this away from enterprise management, which is where Unicenter fits in, we can apply the same principles to other business applications,” Callaghan explained.

Jonathan Eunice, analyst and IT advisor at Illuminata in Nashua, N.H., said: “CA had an application framework for 10 years now, but it has not really pushed to get customers to adopt it. And so Jasmine TND is basically exporting the core of the infrastructure that CA is using for Unicenter.

“What Jasmine TND does is rip a lot of the core of Unicenter out…a lot of the features that were half implemented or 80 per cent implemented in Unicenter — implemented specifically for system management — are now generalized and put into Jasmine. And Unicenter becomes kind of a layer on top of Jasmine,” Eunice said.

He described Jasmine TND as very similar to what “Oracle portrays with Oracle8 or what IBM does with a combination of DB2 and MQSeries.”

Currently available in a limited beta program, Jasmine TND incorporates neural network agents, dubbed neugents. Neugents detect patterns and clusters in business data that enable analysis and change prediction.

According to Callaghan, neugents work largely on their own, operating on established trends, unlike traditional OLAP tools that require a model, an understanding of what is going on in the organization and an appreciation of the types of questions to be asked.

“[Neugents] will analyse the data. You don’t tell them anything…there may be things you’re not aware of that they can identify, and as time goes by the neugents continue learning,” Callaghan said. For example, neugents can currently help predict when a system may go down or, in the future, may be able to anticipate when sales performance will increase or decrease.

According to Eunice, “When neugents first came out six or eight months ago, they were very specific for performance management of NT servers, one single feature, one single function.”

But because the underlying technology is very general, he said, CA could move neugents to different operating systems or databases or apply neugents to different realms. Now, “in the end game, which is Jasmine TND, it’s not even really a systems management thing — it’s just a pattern recognizer,” Eunice said.

According to Callaghan, Jasmine TND has four great strengths. The first is the ability to apply intelligence via neugents. The second is that users can “integrate pretty well anything (because) we want to draw information from existing systems. You don’t have to redevelop existing systems to take advantage of new technology.”

The third strength is the incorporation of visualization, which helps overcome language barriers. Finally, he said, Jasmine TND means more than developing applications just for the Internet, “but for whatever the future holds as well.”

Calling it a layered approach, Callaghan said: “We can isolate the application from the front end and from the back end, so as technology changes or even if we change the way the infrastructure works…we can isolate the application, pull it out and put a new one in.”