CA establishes research labs

CA has established its own R&D group, CA Labs, to tackle technologies that could be the next big thing for CA customers in three to five years. The initiative was announced at the CA World show.

CA CTO, Yogesh Gupta, said the vendor would focus on three key areas: taking on management and security across: the advanced applications crossing converged networks; mobile applications, devices and wireless networks; and service oriented architecture (SOA) environments and applications.

The group will be headed up by Gabby Silverman, an IBM veteran who oversaw 13 of Big Blue's worldwide centres for excellence. He said the research and development would be conducted internally, in conjunction with open source communities and with the help of faculty and students at leading universities around the world.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to build a research organisation that will be able to leverage technology across the various areas of CA product development," Silverman said. The research group would be focusing on the areas CA targeted earlier this year: systems management; security for the enterprise; storage systems management and business services optimisation, he said.

Like top competitors IBM and HP, Gupta said, CA for the first time would equip a team of researchers to study what technology would be needed in the future, in addition to the company's engineers that work on product development and releases.

"We are increasing our efforts in emerging technologies because there are many challenges being put on IP networks and CA sees them as an opportunity," he said. "We have a lot more connectivity, more mobility, more integration and the reality is that everything is going to run across an IP network."

For its part, CA said it already delivered products and worked on standards within the areas the research group is charged with further flushing out. To start, the network wouldn't challenge CA as much as in the past, Gupta said, considering this year's acquisition of Concord Communications and its eHealth network performance management software. With that buy, CA by default also brought Aprisma Management Technologies Spectrum network fault management software into its software portfolio. The company detailed how Unicenter combined with eHealth and Spectrum can help IT managers tackling converged networks that deliver data, voice and video applications.

As for wireless, last year CA introduced Unicenter Wireless Site Management, and the company said it was updating the software for a major new release. The updated software will be able to help network managers more easily discover, configure, secure, optimise and monitor enterprise-scale wireless networks.

For example, management software would potentially be able to load balance wireless traffic among access points, a senior vice-president of development, Don LeClair, said. CA did not disclose when the product would be generally available.

LeClair went on to explain how the company would further tackle wireless networks and pervasive computing.

Wireless technology included in SmartPhones, BlackBerry handhelds and other intelligent PDAs would have to manage and secure the device so as it wouldn't pose a threat to enterprise networks.

Managing and securing the data collected by RFID tags is another area CA plans to explore going forward, LeClair said. He suggested the technology through standards and other efforts would be embedded on the device to account for the different form factors, interfaces and operating systems.

"The agent or interface that would enable the management and security on the devices would have to be part of the operating system on the device, which can be achieved through standards development," LeClair said.

Also on CA's radar is technology to expand the company's current offerings to manage SOA environments and Web services. CA's Unicenter Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) software as well as its eTrust TransactionMinder, acquired with Netegrity last year, today provides tools to manage Web services.

With numbers from IDC claiming the total SOA market is currently $US4.1 billion and set to grow to $US14.9 billion by 2009 and specifically the market for SOA management and security products today at $300 million and expected to hit $1.2 billion by 2009, it's no wonder CA plans to up its internal development on technology and continue to work on standards through OASIS and other industry groups.

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