Computer Associates is continuing its integration push, after upgrading a number of its enterprise systems management products to improve their usability and their ability to integrate with both CA and third party applications.

The company also announced a brand new automation product for the data centre.

Computer Associates told Techworld back in June this year that it had overhauled its software development so it could offer customers a better integrated product set. Now the company say it is very conscious of the fragile economy, and hopes to ease IT management challenges being posed by both virtualised and physical environments.

"All of today's announcements are centred around our IT enterprise management strategy," said Colin Bannister, head of strategy at CA UK and Ireland.

The company modestly describes its new CA Data Center Automation (DCA) Manager r11.2 as a 'breakthrough solution,' that lets customers automate systems monitoring and resource provisioning.

"CA Data Center Automation Manager demonstrates the huge amount of innovation coming out of CA today," said Bannister. He told Techworld that CA was spending approximately £1 million ($1.76 million) a day on R&D.

"CA Data Center Automation Manager is absolutely at the forefront of our customer's strategy today," said Bannister. "Whatever the drivers for the big move to virtualisation, we realised some time ago that a key part would be automation of the virtualised environment."

"We are not a VMware or Citrix XenServer, but we help clients manage these physical and virtual worlds," he said. "There is a strong argument that while virtualisation solves one problem, it creates another, as it adds complexity."

Bannister points out that in these harsh economic times, with lots of acquisitions, IT managers are having to deal more and more with non-standardised IT environments, and this, coupled with a genuine skills shortage for people in the virtualisation arena, means that automation is becoming an increasing attractive option.

CA DCA Manager offers both manual or full automation. Automation is configured through a policy based engine. This can be either event-based or performance-based, with rules that can be triggered by specific events or specific performance criteria, thereby cutting down the need for human intervention, which helps with the skills shortage.

An interesting feature of CA DCA Manager is a 'Reservations Manager', which according to Bannister, came out of CA' internal development tool, called "Labs on Demand". This Reservations Manager allows users to book resources as and when they need them. For example, if a developer needs a Linux server from 2pm to 5pm on Thursday, it can be booked via an ease to use calendar. At 5pm, the resource automatically gets 'deprovisioned.'

This is unique to CA, feels Bannister, as rivals "don't have the level of automation that we have got."

CA has also upgraded a number of other enterprise IT management tools, including CA NSM, CA Network Management, CA Insight Database Performance Monitor, the CA Wily APM (Application Performance Management) product, CA Software Change Manager, and the CA Information Governance suite, which includes the revised CA Records Manager and CA Message Manager.

"There is still a huge emphasis on cost reduction and cost containment in today's market," said Bannister, besides the virtualisation and Green IT themes. He points out that all CA's products now support IPv6, but admits that it is not something customers are currently looking at.

Bannister says there will be further product announcements at CA World next month, but all the above products are available now.