Microsoft is to integrate Computer Associates' three dimensional Real World Interface (RWI) into version 5.0 of Windows NT to make it easier to manage.
The interface is taken from CA's Unicenter TNG systems management software. Its incorporation in the Microsoft operating system would appear to take NT's manageability far beyond that of Unix and other rival OSs, while raising CA's profile in the small to medium enterprise and departmental marketplaces that it is currently desperate to woo.
But the inclusion of RWI in NT 5.0 does not mean that Microsoft will replace its own Management Console (MMC), which will take over the various utilities currently included in products such as the SQL Server relational database and Exchange messaging offering. It will simply provide users with a non-hierarchical way of viewing information.
Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said at the CA World conference in New Orleans: "This announcement is an indication of how important manageability is and it's why Microsoft has made management a priority. Web based Enterprise Management (WBEM) is a key enabler, although it's hidden in the product and CA helped us design it. This is a centrepiece of technology because being able to visualise data ensures you don't get overwhelmed by it."
He added that, although NT would ship "safely before the Year 2000" with agent technology from other systems management vendors, including CA's arch-rival Tivoli, RWI was the only third party management interface that NT 5.0 would use.
RWI is a browser based interface that is based on Unicenter TNG and can communicate with and collate data from any application that supports the WBEM application programming interface.
The move also signals a strengthening of the relationship between the two software giants, which, according to Charles Wang, CA's president and chief executive, have no significant overlap in product sets.
"Overlap is just noise level," he explained, but added that the firms' product sets were very complementary. This implies that many more CA products are likely to be ported over to NT in future.
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