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CA's Unicenter Focuses on Mainframes

Computer Associates announced the general availability of three updates to its mainframe management software, with a focus on interoperability, officials said Monday.

Work has begun on the current crop of applications in the Unicenter r11 mainframe suite -- NetMaster, CA-OPS/MVS Event Management and Automation and CA-SYSVIEW Realtime Performance Management -- and will continue with the next iteration, r12, due out in the next 12 to 18 months.

NetMaster r11 now features autonomic monitoring of the mainframe-connected networks out of the box, allowing administrators to discover network snags faster. The update also includes REXX support for NetMaster commands and functions.

The CA-OPS/MVS Event Management and Automation update comes with extra support for Unix System Services (USS) and cross-console event management.

The CA-SYSVIEW now features an at-a-glance view of the overall health of the data center, as well as support for IBM's Information Management System (IMS) 9.1 and improved WebSphere MQ monitoring and management.

One of the things that will be common with the three products announced Monday is integration with CA's ServiceDesk software, which automates the identification, tracking and resolution of system errors or problems, said David Hodgson, CA's senior vice president of mainframe systems product development. Normally, he said, that's something you would only see in a distributed computing environment, not in mainframes.

Hodgson said that if a person can't tell which system they are working on at a glance, CA's efforts at integrating its mainframe product line have worked. Web browsing is a key component in the Islandia, N.Y., software company's efforts to streamline monitoring and management of a customer's systems.

"They're really indistinguishable, which is the point," he said. "It's making the mainframe feel accessible to a college graduate; they can use it, feel comfortable using it and just making the use of the product simpler."

The goal, Hodgson said, is to make it easier for administrators to do their work in a mainframe environment.

"I think in recent years, although it sounds silly, CA has overlooked the importance of the mainframe in a sense," he said. "We really want to refocus a part of our business back on the mainframe."

Much of CA's business comes from its software support for mainframe systems. According to Hodgson, it's between 50 and 60 percent of the company's revenues, so "we can't afford to ignore it," and, as such, the company has begun to aggressively market its mainframe solutions and revitalize development on the platform.