CA unveils WLAN management

Computer Associates International Inc. Monday unveiled a new product that the company says will let network managers secure and manage wireless LANs and end-user access to them.

Unicenter Wireless Site Management (WSM) is software that automatically discovers and maps out WLANs and wireless devices, CA says. Using agents on authorized wireless devices and centralized management software installed on a server, WSM will map, monitor and secure wireless nets. Those users will an agent will be allowed access to 802.11 nets. Without the agent and authorization, wireless users will not be granted access to company WLANs, CA says.

WSM beta user Maurice Ficklin, director of technical services at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has been using WSM on his production network for about a year. He says managing performance on a wireless net and restricting rogue user access are challenges when trying to deliver wireless services to students and faculty at the 141 acre WLAN location.

"WSM helps us use less man hours to maintain our WLAN," Ficklin says.

Linda Reino, CIO at Universal Health Services Inc. in King of Prussia, Pa., is using WSM in beta at George Washington University Hospital. She says the product enforces location-based access controls and manages performance for the doctors, nurses and support staff at the hospital.

"Healthcare providers have no choice but to go wireless," she says. "But we also need to secure the patient data."

WSM software will also help network managers set wireless policies and enforce them after the fact. For example, with WSM network managers can define parameters for WLAN use based on geographic location, time of day or type of user. The agent on the wireless device will enforce the policies set by the network managers, and those without agents will be denied access altogether.

Features of WSM include automatic encryption key management. CA says the software will automatically generate, distribute, rotate and synchronize Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) keys for secure wireless communications based on policies defined by the security administrators.

Currently in beta, WSM could be available in between three to six months. Pricing will be determined when available.

CA also announced Unicenter Web Services Distributed Management 3.1, software to manage Web services and now heterogeneous service-oriented architectures. The softwar was also integrated into CA's eTrust Identity and Access Management to simply management of Web services in the enterprise.

WSDM was developed using Service Oriented Management and Monitoring Architecture, which the company acquired when it bought Adjoin last year. The software monitors Web services messages as they pass among endpoints within a service-oriented architecture. It also automatically discovers Web services on a network and sets health-monitoring levels. The ability to examine the XML message stream differs from the traditional management practice of embedding agents in each system component.

The WSDM platform, which runs on Linux, Solaris and Windows, requires and a minimum of two servers and costs US$50,000.

CA will also offer WSDM as a hosted service from the company. Customers would not have to install any software on their site and could log on to a secure CA site to monitor the WSDM service. Pricing depends on the service, customer network and number of Web services monitored.

CA CTO Yogesh Gupta says pricing between the software purchased as license or delivered as a service will not differ much.

"There are benefits to both options, and I don't think pricing will be the deciding factor," Gupta says. WSDM 3.1 as a product or a service is available now.

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