CA moves into Web services management

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) unveiled a new Web services management platform on Monday, marking the Islandia, N.Y.-based company's first offering in the Web services space.

Unicenter Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM), pronounced 'wisdom', manages Web services natively at the services level, said Dmitri Tcherevik, vice-president of CA's Web Services Group.

"Companies that deploy Web services and that deploy new Web services enablement tools and platforms can now natively manage them," he explained.

By intercepting messages that are exchanged by Web services, WSDM compiles information based on the message traffic and the individual messages to collect details about response time, transaction rate, message size and the number of errors in the message streams.

"Companies traditionally have implemented management solutions for platforms such as databases, Web servers, application servers and so on," he said. "Now they deploy a brand new layer on top of this platform layer that is used to integrate applications and used to integrated with business partners ... they need a new set of management tools to deliver manageability and control and visibility into this layer."

CA's arrival on the Web services management scene, after acquiring start-up Adjoin Solutions Inc. this past summer, means the software heavyweight will be battling for customers against smaller specialized companies that have controlled the space.

Companies such as Actional Corp., Blue Titan Software Inc. and AmperPoint have been in the playing field before CA's Unicenter WSDM arrived, but on the other hand "CA, along with Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) are really the dominant players in the management space so CA is looking to be a dominant player across all management including Web services," said Waltham, Mass.-based Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst with ZapThink LLC.

"What's really distinct about CA's approach is they offer more than just the management of Web services, but they incorporate into their Unicenter product which manages their underlying hardware and systems," Bloomberg explained. "So (they offer) an integrated part of managing Web services by managing the system that the Web services run on...this is something that smaller players aren't as good at."

HP's recent acquisition of a Web services start-up, Talking Blocks Inc., will also likely propel the company into an offering in the Web services management space, Bloomberg said.

The fact that Unicenter WSDM is an end-to-end management solution is an advantage as far as CA is concerned.

CA offers native instrumentation of Web services platforms, discovery of Web services and threshold analysis, Tcherevik said. He added that Unicenter WSDM also has the ability to integrate with platform-specific platforms such as BEA System Inc.'s WebLogic, IBM Corp.'s WebSphere and Microsoft Corp.'s .Net framework.

The offering also keeps CA in pace with the company's underlying principle to provide complete management solutions for the enterprise, and its view that management of Web services is a strategic direction to move forward, Tcherevik explained.

Unicenter WSDM runs on Windows 2000/XP, Linux and Solaris and is also compatible with Java 2 Enterprise Edition as well as the .Net framework.