Computer Associates International Inc.'s support for SAP AG's R/3 suite will trail other enterprise management vendors to market, but it may be worth the wait.
In the second quarter of next year, Computer Associates will roll out support in Unicenter TNG (The Next Generation) for R/3's enterprise resource planning tools as part of a new Open Application Management initiative, designed to combine Unicenter with major third-party application suites, sources said.
The SAP effort is expected to provide a level of integration greater than the R/3 support currently offered by competing vendors such as BMC Software Inc., Boole & Babbage Inc. and IBM's Tivoli Systems Inc. division.
"This is the first [support] I've seen that's integrated out of the box," said Brandon Musler, an analyst with Illuminata Inc., based in Nashua, N.H. "In all other
cases, customers have to do a lot of the coding themselves."
Competing products provide adapters or modules that exploit R/3 APIs to pass management information data to third-party applications.
The SAP version of Unicenter TNG will provide preconfigured event adapters that allow Unicenter to monitor the health of SAP clients and servers and provide hot backup and recovery of R/3 systems running on Oracle and SQL Server databases, according to Chip Gliedman, an analyst with Giga Information Group, located in Cambridge, Mass.
Other Unicenter TNG functions, such as cross-system scheduling, can be used to manage R/3.
"They're integrating their SAP adapters into the TNG product, so all the functionality you get in TNG you'll get with these adapters that plug into R/3," said Tony Navarro, systems management manager at Allegiance Healthcare Corp., located in McGaw Park, Ill. Allegiance Healthcare is about to roll out a large R/3 project.
Although R/3 includes its own set of integrated management tools, they are not "industrial- strength, enterprisewide tools," said Navarro. "If you have a large installation and multiple instances of SAP R/3, it's better to have something that pulls it all together and gives one view."
Unicenter TNG, a major upgrade to Computer Associates' management platform, is still in field trials but could be generally available by early next year.
While Computer Associates has not yet determined pricing on the SAP release of Unicenter TNG, Gliedman believes that it will be consistent with current Unicenter pricing models.
Computer Associates officials in Islandia, N.Y., declined to comment on SAP support for Unicenter.