CA to Define Middleware Architecture

Computer Associates will round out its Harmony information management strategy during the next 12 to 18 months with the rollout of a Common Computing Infrastructure that will enable the creation of a one-size-fits-all application deployment and network management infrastructure.

Revealed in 1998, Harmony is a forthcoming CA architecture for integrating existing applications and data sources while adding new technologies. Underneath the architecture will be a set of cross-platform middleware services featuring Java and CORBA technologies, company officials said this week.

The Common Computing Infrastructure will also use CA's Jasmine object-relational database technologies for application brokerage, and the Unicenter TNG management platform for managing systems across a multivendor network.

"It will be a common foundation for both information management and enterprise management," said Steve Mann, vice president of product strategy at CA.

Although components of the infrastructure -- such as Unicenter TNG, Jasmine, and the CA Opal interface generator -- exist now, unification of these products will be improved, according to CA. For example, elements such as Java application bindings still need to be developed.

Jasmine, CA's object-relational database, will serve as the underlying technology for the infrastructure by acting as an application server, said Robert Ahlers, CA vice president.

Peter Kastner, chief research officer at the Aberdeen Group in Boston, likened CA's plan to Microsoft's Distributed Internet Architecture.

"The vision is that, over time, CA will deliver products, beginning with Harmony, [that will help] to create a platform that lets programmers essentially plug and play their application logic," Kastner said. "[So] they will no longer need to worry about the implementation details of the platform or the operating environment."

The melding of CA technologies into a common infrastructure can offer significant potential, said one CA user and reseller.

"[But] like anything else, you want to look under the sheets to see if it really meets your needs, and if it does, what are the costs and other elements?" said Jim Stoucker, vice president of consulting services at NCI Information Systems, a systems integrator in McLean, Va.

Part of CA's plan involves Neugents, neural networking technology that is being fitted to Unicenter to initially provide predictive network management services. Neugents likely will be expanded to support information management services such as intelligent data mining, multimedia, and Internet-commerce services, Mann said.

In late 1999 or in 2000, CA anticipates enabling users to develop their own application-specific Neugents, Mann added.

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