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Today CA delivered

Since my blog entry about CA posted yesterday, CA representatives and I have had a number of conversations about what I wrote and what the company has delivered in product functionality. In doing so, both of us have come to the realization that there were some misperceptions and missteps on both of our parts as to what I was asking about, and what products they actually delivered.

In terms of the context for the interview and the update I expected from CA, I was looking for what CA was doing to pull different data protection components together to manage them under one umbrella –whether its own components or those of competitors. Maybe I was unclear in articulating those expectations or they did not understand them – probably some of both.

I don’t for one second believe that integration is a trivial task. In fact, this may be one of the greatest challenges backup software vendors face this decade, and possibly the next, but that is also one of the reasons I am covering it. Archiving, virtual tape libraries (VTLs), compliance, continuous data protection (CDP), synchronous and asynchronous data replication and retention management are now all part of the data protection mix. Frankly, I’d be concerned if CA claimed it had fully integrated all of these components because analysts probably would have had a field day verifying, and likely debunking, that claim.

On the other hand, in conversations I have had with CA’s competitors, on and off the record, I sense that CA is starting to lag behind. There is nothing tangible I can point to, just a sense of the depth and quality of conversations I have had.

That is not to say CA is doing nothing, as yesterday’s blog post could have incorrectly led readers to conclude. In data protection, CA has focused on adding new features and integration to the XOsoft CDP and Message Manager email archiving products. To CA’s credit, they did bring up a good point, that companies still internally manage data protection and records management separately. So they first sought to bring out new features and functions in those products based on internal customer demand before tackling the overarching integration problem.

For example, since I last spoke to CA in February, a second integration service pack was released in March containing two features that I believe administrators will find particularly useful. Through the ARCserve interface, administrators can browse replicated jobs set up in WANSync and see the sources being selected for replication and the target replication servers. Then, when they need to restore jobs backed up from the XOsoft replica, the restore view in ARCserve provides a view of the production servers rather than the XOsoft WANSync Replica server.

The ultimate question remains, “Is CA doing enough and doing it fast enough?” Someone older and wiser than me once told me that it takes about 8 years for changes in storage practice and technology to work their way into the mainstream. Whether that holds true in the rapidly changing space of data protection remains to be seen.

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CA's sun is setting. CA's storage sun is setting faster than the rest of CA. CA no longer has a strategic focus on Storage.