CA to watch traffic

Computer Associates International Monday further fleshed out details of a technology, dubbed Sonar, which the company claims can directly correlate application performance to the underlying network infrastructure.

CA President and CEO Sanjay Kumar hinted at the technology in his keynote Sunday and further explained the Sonar technology at a press conference Monday. Sonar is intended to work in real time to relate business service performance to the IT infrastructure supporting the applications. It would also enable automation and eliminate the need for human intervention to address certain IT tasks, CA says.

Corey Ferengul, a senior analyst at Meta Group Inc., says Sonar is a foundation for correlation. The technology would watch network traffic, identify what's talking to what and determine how to ensure mission-critical conversations continue if problems arise. Ferengul says CA is on the right track with Sonar in terms of watching traffic, similar to the likes of Packeteer Inc. and NetScout Systems Inc., but scalability and deployment can become issues when monitoring traffic.

"The technology could quickly run into scalability issues and will have to find out how to filter out all the noise when watching all the traffic," he says. "But right now, it's not fully baked, so we can't say if it will work or not."

The company says to expect to see Sonar products by year-end, and industry watchers say real products won't emerge until early next year, with customer implementations not happening until late 2004. In addition to the Sonar technology, CA announced products across its Unicenter, BrightStor and Security brands.

Unicenter NSM Option for VMware Software is a new product that will let customers manage the server virtualization software. Unicenter announced early it could manage Sun Microsystems Inc. blades, and the addition of VMware makes CA one of the first companies to be managing software from multiple virtualiztion vendors.

"Most of what's out there is proprietary. Vendors manage their own stuff," Ferengul says.

Also new to the Unicenter brand is NSM Dynamic Reconfiguration Option, software to manage and dynamically provision VMware virtual machines as needed.

BrightStor Process Automation Manager is software for allocating and provisioning storage resources across multiple platforms, and eTrust Vulberability Manager is an asset-based vulnerability management appliance that provides monitoring capabilities and security intelligence to automatically pinpoint threats to enterprise nets, CA says.

All products are available now. The company is expected Tuesday to announce more products in its eTrust security software line and BrightStor storage management portfolio.

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