CA details Unicenter Java plans, browser link In beta

Computer Associates has detailed its plan to integrate Java features into its flagship Unicenter TNG systems management product, and announced that its Web browser interface is going into beta. This means that browser users will be able to access all Unicenter functions from browsers, to monitor and remotely manage all the systems covered by Unicenter. A Java systems agent, due out 'imminently,' will let Unicenter monitor and remotely manage Java-based servers and machines.

Computer Associates has detailed its plan to integrate Java features into its flagship Unicenter TNG systems management product, and announced that its Web browser interface is going into beta.

The Web browser interface lets any Java-based browser act as a console for Unicenter. This means that browser users will be able to access all Unicenter functions from browsers, to monitor and remotely manage all the systems covered by Unicenter, says Russell Artzt, CA co-founder and vice president of research and development. Artzt spoke IT Forum conference held here this week

The browser interface will be in beta for about three or four months, Artzt says.

"It's the full-blown TNG interface," Artzt says, specifying that Unicenter's two-dimensional mapping as well as its three-dimensional VRML-based Real World interface will be displayed via Java browsers.

This also means that Unicenter users will able to remotely control via browsers any of the systems that Unicenter supports. Currently Unicenter manages about 40 platforms including desktops, Windows NT, Unix and NetWare environments. Today Java-based machines and applications are not on this list, but CA is working on a series of Java software agents that eventually will let Unicenter monitor and manage Java systems.

"CA is raising the bar for how [systems management] platforms deal with Java," says Richard Ptak, an analyst with consultancy D.H. Brown. "No other vendor has spoken about both monitoring and managing the full range of Java devices."

CA first announced plans for Java agents at the CA World users conference in July, but today officials have now laid out more specific plans. There will be three levels of management for Java-based systems, according to Anders Vinberg, CA senior vice president of development.

A Java systems agent, due out "imminently," will let Unicenter monitor and remotely manage Java-based servers and machines, according to Vinberg.

CA is also developing Unicenter APIs that will let third-party developers build Java application agents, which will give Unicenter remote control capabilities over specific applications at a very granular level, said Vinberg. This means, for example, that Unicenter will be able to backup individual file folders in specific applications, he said.

When this capability is released will depend in part when vendors working on JMAPI standards conclude their work, Vinberg said. But CA is willing to go ahead and offer Java application-agent APIs ahead of the JMAPI standards, if need be, and then adhere to the standards once they are set, Vinberg said. He would not commit to a specific date for a CA decision on the matter.

Finally, CA will also offer, probably before 1999, agents for the Java Virtual Machine, which will let Unicenter monitor and control Java operating systems events -such as multiple threads - at a very granular level, Vinberg says.

CA, in Islandia, New York, can be reached at http://www.cai.com/.

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