The company is planning to start a test program next month for Unicenter 11, which is expected to ship in the fall, said Alan Nugent, general manager and senior vice president of CA's Unicenter business unit.also said that an edition of Unicenter aimed specifically at small- and medium-size businesses is under consideration.
Unicenter and similar products from competitors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and BMC Software, track devices and applications on corporate networks and flag problems so systems administrators can check them out.
With Unicenter 11, CA will publish a full list of programming "interfaces" in XML, which give developers a way to share management information with Unicenter. For example, a company that sells specialized software for monitoring application transactions could write an add-on to feed transaction data to a Unicenter console.
"Before, architecturally, it was just different. We had to work more closely (with partners) and give them inside visibility. The specific intent (with Unicenter 11) is to show every interface," Nugent said.
The increased openness should let customers that have a mix of products avoid having to write custom scripts to consolidate management information, he said.
As, Unicenter 11 will also introduce a storage mechanism with what CA calls a "federated data model." Called Management Database, or MDB, the database will act as a single place to keep configuration information on a broad set of managed gear, from storage devices to application servers.
The goal of MDB is to simplify administration tools and help IT organizations answer questions, such as how many PCs and servers are connected to a network, or what servers have the most recent patches.
Other planned features for Unicenter 11 include a revamped interface for the main management console, which will present information using industry-standard "portlets" through a Web browser. The new version will also be able to manage a broader range of devices and monitor networked components continuously, Nugent said.