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CA chiefs spell out the future - and it's not outsourcing

Cliff Saran

Computer Associates will later today unveil a suite of products to support on-demand computing at its annual CA World conference in Las Vegas.

Mark Barrenechea, senior vice president of product development at CA, pitched the company’s vision for on-demand computing as an alternative to outsourcing.

He said outsourcing to companies such as IBM Global Services was inflexible. “Outsourcing to IBM is a lock-in. IBM has no incentive to innovate.”

The alternative CA vision relies on a central repository – a database of all IT assets within a company, which will help ascertain the business impact of an IT failure.

This is combined with a set of four key business processes:

  • Discovery to inventory
  • Inventory to utilisation
  • Storage to virtualisation
  • Identity to vulnerability

The concept underpinning the CA`s strategy is to provide tools to allow IT directors to charge business units for their IT use monthly, much like a utility bill.

This is not possible at present, with internal costing for IT being based on the number of users or desktops rather than charging for the overall cost of providing IT for a given business service.

Sonar, one of the tools to be introduced later today, is a key component in CA’s on-demand strategy. It offers the means by which IT directors can manage IT based on the impact it has on business processes.

Clive Longbottom, senior director at IT analyst firm Quocirca, felt that CA’s strategy was flawed. “Any user that employs 1,000 IT staff today has got their core values totally wrong,”  he said. Longbottom believed any on-demand strategy should fit alongside a company’s outsourcing goals.

Longbottom was also sceptical of CA’s view that IT assets should be stored in a single repository to allow the IT director to assess the business impact of an IT failure.

“There is nothing wrong in creating silos of IT asset data if you have intelligent tools," he said.

Longbottom believed the flaw in CA’s plans was that vast amounts of storage and processing power would be required for IT management to support a central database of IT assets.


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