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Computer Associates Unveils Storage Software Plans

Computer Associates International, Inc. (CA) took another step toward what many consider to be the Holy Grail in highly cost-effective storage management when it unveiled its plans of "Managing Storage without Boundaries."

Islandia, NY.'s CA unveiled its secrets Monday at its own CA World 2002 show in Orlando, Fla. The company addressed the dilemma of storage software interoperability with its revamped BrightStor brand, which will allow IT workers to administer resources across heterogeneous storage technologies in order to deliver a higher level of support.

CA calls the new strategy "Enterprise Storage Automation" and with it the firm pledges to deliver functional intelligence, dynamic storage provisioning and policy definitions to IT managers looking for more efficient ways to handle storage.

Bill North, director of storage software research at IDC, approved of CA's initiative.

"CA has aggressively and successfully positioned itself as the vendor-of-choice for companies that recognize the business value of an enterprise-wide storage management strategy," said North. "As companies find themselves managing greater volumes of increasingly critical business data across more and more complex infrastructures, CA's enterprise-wide value proposition will become even more compelling."

CA's first step in its new strategy began today, with the new BrightStor Portal, which the company said simplifies the management of storage resources across heterogeneous protocols and vendor hardware platforms. Ideally, this would lower operational costs.

After that comes BrightStor Storage Resource Manager (BrightStor SRM) 6.3, which lets administrators analyze both distributed and mainframe storage resources.

CA promised a BrightStor SAN Manager, too. That has entered its initial phase of beta testing at client sites.

Russell Artzt, CA executive vice president, explained his company's reason for the storage push.

"Today's storage environments have become a maze of platforms, topologies and manufacturers. Customers are therefore demanding storage management solutions that greatly simplify the deployment, optimization and maintenance of their enterprise-wide storage subsystems," said Artzt.

CA is making a push in an attractive market, which research firm Gartner Dataquest Inc. said in a March 2002 report reached $4.9 billion in 2001, a 3 percent increase over 2000. The report also found that most of the storage software vendors fared well despite a bear market. CA, however, was an exception, as Dataquest said its reporting model doesn't flatter the company's sales growth figures. Dataquest said CA's revenue dropped 67 percent in 2001.

"Computer Associates' new revenue reporting model makes its numbers difficult to interpret without a careful reading of their filings," Dataquest said. "CA now ratably recognizes license revenue over an extended period, which has resulted in substantially lower revenue recognized up front."

Still, Dataquest CA as fourth on the storage software market share depth chart behind rivals EMC Corp. , Veritas Software and IBM Corp. .

The product announcement is positive news for CA, which has been under fire from accounting watchdogs and regulatory agencies intent on discovering whether the company improperly boosted financial results to produce $1 billion in stock awards for executives in 1998.