CA-Unicenter receives DII COE certification

Computer Associates International Inc.'s enterprise management application last week was certified for the Defense Department's Common Operating Environment initiative. The company claims the application is the first enterprise management solution based on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT to be certified.

Approval for the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment (DII COE) allows the DOD to reap the benefits of Computer Associates' Unicenter TNG— an enterprise management solution that includes network discovery, event management, 2-D and 3-D graphical user interfaces, workload management, help-desk functions and security management.

DII COE is a DOD initiative managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency that is designed to establish a common architecture and foundation upon which interoperable systems and applications can be built. The goal of the DII COE effort is to enable DOD's mission-critical applications and systems to share data, services and functions.

The decision to attain DII COE certification for Unicenter TNG "was really driven by the users," according to Joe Quigg, senior vice president for federal operations at Computer Associates. DII COE "is the strategic platform for all of the services, [and] it's important to have an integrated management solution," Quigg said.

According to Quigg, there are several benefits to using Unicenter TNG, including a high level of integration between each of the product's 40 options, a common framework that allows each application to share data and a common graphical user interface that enhances the product's out-of-the-box ease of use.

A spokesman for systems management vendor Tivoli Systems Inc. said Tivoli also offers a Windows NT-based enterprise management solution under the administrative services segment of the COE.

Computer Associates also achieved DII COE certification to use Microsoft's SQL Server Version 6.2 as the underlying database management system for Unicenter TNG. Although Microsoft recently revamped and enhanced SQL Server for the enterprise environment with Version 7.0, Quigg said there are no concerns about the ability of 6.2 to handle DOD's scalability requirements until SQL Server 7.0 can be certified.

According to Patrick Arnold, federal program manager for Microsoft Federal, the Unicenter TNG announcement is a significant step forward within DOD's COE effort. In particular, Arnold said some users do not realize that all commercial versions of the Windows NT Server and Workstation are DII COE-compliant and that DISA has certified the Windows NT platform.

DISA also recently issued an Interim Development Guidance paper outlining the requirements for developing DII COE software components for the Windows NT platform. According to that document, programs are required to use the Microsoft Designed for Windows NT and Windows 95 Logo Handbook for guidance on developing NT application segments. The goal is to create an environment where all commercial applications that hold the Windows logo are DII COE-compliant, according to Arnold.

Dawn Hartley, DISA's chief engineering executive for information processing, said shooting for DII COE compliance is based on the desire of individual vendors and what they think it will be worth to them in the long run. In addition, Hartley said DII COE certification is more a technical issue than an acquisition issue for the government.

Computer Associates has provided enterprise management support to a host of federal customers, including the Naval Reserve, the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, the Navy's European Command and the U.S. Tank Command.

Paul Mason, vice president of infrastructure software research for International Data Corp., said most upgrades and future versions of Unicenter will be made available first for the Windows NT operating system. "NT is now a major thrust for them," Mason said. In addition, Unicenter TNG now is shipping on every Windows NT machine from every major vendor in the industry, he said. "NT is where the control is going to be."

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