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Will CA's stringent roadmap come back to haunt it?

Nuts in May

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Management software firm CA is superstitious and refuses to release a product with the number 13 attached to it.

The result? The next version of the vendor’s ARCserve Backup product will skip straight from 12.5 to 14 to avoid, it hopes, any bad luck along the way.

CA has laid out an ambitious roadmap for its backup products. The company plans to release software annually each May for resellers to punt to their customers.

Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat naively, CA is convinced it has got its method right on hitting such a high turnover of deadlines with its ARCserve product.

Unlike an increasingly shy Microsoft, which these days tries to keep software release dates close to its chest, CA is happy to pin down every May as the month when the next version of its products will land.

So what happens if CA hits any bugs or other problems while developing its product? Will it release incomplete software into the channel?

“Once a year we will release our software on time, on schedule,” insisted senior veep Adam Famularo, who was speaking at CA’s Q1 2009 EMEA Partner Summit in Barcelona.

“The idea there is that customers will see more value in our software, they buy maintenance and get upgrades for free. From a reseller's standpoint they can sell the software to customers one day and they know they can go back the following year to renew the maintenance, and on top of that provide additional services for training them on the newest release,” he said.

Famularo thinks that such a strategy is a Dell Boy-like “win-win for everybody”.

He told The Register that it's more important for CA to keep its promise of delivering a product every May. He also insisted the company would not slip up on bringing out ARCserve 14 in May 2010.

"I’m gonna deliver a product every May, on time, and I’m sticking to that," he said. "We’ve left padding in to help us out with those small bumps."

It's an ambitious declaration for CA's developer team, which is in fact given a target of readying products by April, to allow a small buffer before the deadline.

But in the real world, sticking to such a stringent annual deadline might come back to haunt CA in the future if it fails to deliver the goods to the channel. ®

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