CA Aims To Redefine The Mainframe

Its new mainframe strategy, marked by the release of Mainframe Software Manager, will be a multiyear process.
As part of CA's Mainframe 2.0 strategy, the company is working on simplifying the use of its products by disconnecting them from their current user interfaces. "We need to realign the user interfaces to the roles of 2009 and beyond," O'Malley said, noting that the company will have more to say about that at the upcoming SHARE conference in August.

Earlier, CA also promised to develop new products with an eye toward automation and more set pre-configurations and enlist partners in out-tasking to help with the installation and maintenance of mainframes.

CA has been handed a window of opportunity to capitalize on its strategy with a flailing economy and recent IT trends. Many projects to move workloads to distributed servers are stalled because of the recession (not that mainframes aren't suffering either, as IBM saw a 19% decrease in System Z revenue last quarter) and a number of shifts toward virtualization and energy efficiency echo long-held benefits of the mainframe.

However, accomplishing a grand vision of homegrown software development is a new tack for CA, which was long reviled as "the place where software goes to die," as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison once said.

A Fresh Crop Of Developers To Tackle Mainframe Software

As part of its Mainframe 2.0 initiative, the company has hired about 120 younger developers in its development center in Prague to build software that can bring CA up to speed, and it's continuing to hire. According to CA, those younger developers have been vital to CA's strategy and have helped CA redefine what it thinks it can do with mainframe software.

Including the new software development team in Prague, CA has drastically overhauled its development organization, management structure, and development processes, creating among other things a virtual organization that pulls from all product groups to invest in common underlying services. CA will have to continue delivering if it hopes to repair its old image.

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