After a year of carnivorous acquisitions, topping #1 billion, Network Associates (NAI) is now squaring up to the giants of the enterprise systems management market, Computer Associates and Tivoli Bill Larson, CEO of NAI, believes the company's presence on the desktop will be to the key to combating these server-based systems. "He who owns the desktop will own the next evolution of network management software," Larson declared. Key to his strategy is NAI's forthcoming systems management suite, codenamed NetTools G3 Console, that will include firewall, network management and anti-virus elements from the firm's recent acquisition of Dr Solomon's and Magic Solutions. The software will have close ties to NAI's forthcoming helpdesk product, codenamed Merlin. Larson said NAI would "follow the furrow ploughed by NT into the enterprise". "Customers get better value with NT than with Unix, but NT is not perceived as being manageable and secure," he commented. Expected to ship in the second quarter next year, NetTools G3 Console will use intelligent agents distributed with antivirus software to feed information back to management systems. "CA's Unicenter and Tivoli only offer server-centred management: we believe there's opportunity for automated proactive feedback from the desktop," said Larson. NAI's plans to take on CA and Tivoli are "very ambitious", according to Tony Clifford-Winters, senior analyst at Bloor Research. He said NAI lacks products in asset management and data recovery to offer a complete systems management package. He added that the company's lack of experience in the mainframe market could be an obstacle to competing effectively with Tivoli and CA, although NAI's background in security would give it the right "mentality in attention to detail".
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