Despite playing catch up with BMC, HP and IBM in areas such as data center automation, CA is gaining ground quickly, industry watchers say. And the vendor is considered ahead of the competition when it comes to virtual systems management.
A partnership earlier this year with data center automation vendor Opalis helped CA deliver its IT Process Manager software, which helps CA compete with HP and BMC and plugs an automation hole in the vendor's product portfolio.
"With Opalis, CA has a mature product that already includes integrations into multiple third-party systems. With IT process automation, it is critical to connect into many systems to automate a cohesive process," says Andi Mann, research director with Enterprise Management Associates. "This software provides the glue to tie CA's automation toolset together and extends CA's automation capabilities out to third-party systems."
Another product winning over analysts and customers is CA's Advanced Systems Management, or ASM, which the vendor updated with support for more virtualization platforms including Sun Logical Domains (LDOM) and IBM's HACMP cluster technology. The management application also integrates with VMware VirtualCenter. Considering the market for virtual systems management is beginning to demand a heterogeneous product, Mann says CA is ahead of the competition.
"CA and Microsoft stand out as the two vendors taking on heterogeneous virtual systems management," Mann says.
Customers agree that CA's attitude toward integration and partnerships helps the company succeed in technology and product development.
"Even CA realizes they can't do everything; they work with third-parties to tie back into the core CA products to make it possible for customers like me to get integration and capabilities across a distributed environment," says Harry Butler, IT project manager at Elbit Systems of America, a defense manufacturing company in Texas.
Butler manages 14 locations with centralized IT systems and a core team, as well as IT staff in disparate locations. He says CA's technology advances, such as Software Compliance Manager, and partnerships enable him to stay ahead of problems in his environment. He is beginning a beta implementation of the new software application in a couple of weeks and says he is happy CA earmarked software license compliance as a priority.
"We get audited twice per year and we do quarterly internal audits. Our method of using spreadsheets to manage software licenses won't stand up against all the compliance requirements we have to deal with. CA sees that customers are challenged by this and are fearful of lawsuits," Butler says. "We kept asking, 'Isn't there a more automated way to do this?' and it seems CA is answering that question."