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Software // Enterprise Applications

CA To Add 'Sonar' To Product Line

But it is unclear how the management software will be offered to customers.

New technology from Computer Associates code-named Sonar could provide CA customers with better knowledge of how applications, middleware, and databases work together. But the technology--meant to enhance CA's Unicenter, eTrust, and other software--doesn't yet have a clear path to market.

Sonar can monitor users' network traffic to determine which computers and software products correspond to different business applications. Sonar creates "a knowledge base of your network," CA chief technology officer Yogesh Gupta said in a keynote address at the CA World conference in Las Vegas Monday. Ultimately, it could help companies shift technology resources to where it's most needed.

During a press conference Monday, CA chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar called Sonar "a very special ingredient that will show up in multiple technology products at CA," including software that manages systems performance and keeps networks updated with information about security vulnerabilities. It shows up today in Unicenter software for managing webMethods Inc.'s software. "There are some technologies that have it, and some technologies that don't," he said.

But it's unclear how customers will license Sonar. The capability, which is part of CA's push to develop on-demand software that can distribute computing power to apps that need it most, also is part of a broader CA development effort to re-use code across its product line to raise software quality and improve security. For example, CA wants to put its CleverPath portal software into the user interface for many of its products. Sonar functions would also be shared by CA products, according to the plan.

In an interview three weeks ago at CA headquarters in Islandia, N.Y., Wai Wong, senior VP for Unicenter, said CA would license Sonar separately, and announce it as a new option for its Unicenter network and systems-management software at CA World. But that wasn't disclosed at the conference, and a CA spokeswoman says a distinct release of Sonar isn't available. Instead, CA says that it will use Sonar technology in its Unicenter, eTrust, and BrightStor brands.

One CA customer says the company's plan to give its products more common functionality could take a while to gel. "CA's roadmap calls for a single console to report the status of applications, storage, and network performance," says Leo Dittemore, director of technology services at HealthCare Partners Medical Group in Torrance, Calif., which manages a network of doctors and sells insurance. "It would be a nice thing. But we don't know when we'll get it."

Separately, CA said Monday it's started testing beta software for monitoring Web services, called Unicenter Web Services Distribution Management 3.0.

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