IBM Expands Hybrid Cloud Management Offerings

the company's acquisition of Cast Iron Systems

The new appliance adds systems management and security tools to the application and data integration capabilities provided by the original Cast Iron software. Currently in beta and slated for general availability later this year, the appliance product is designed to help IT administrators manage IT systems that incorporate both cloud-based and on-premise applications.

"As clients subscribe to cloud computing, they are rapidly moving to a hybrid computing model," said Dave Lindquist, CTO and vice president of IBM Tivoli, in an interview. "The ability to pull all this together is critical for the hybrid model."

The growing use of Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud computing systems is increasing the need for tools to manage them in tandem with on-premise systems. Managing policies regarding user access to applications, for example, is more difficult in hybrid environments than with on-premise-only systems, Lindquist said. The same applies to many other IT security and governance administration tasks.

Cast Iron, designed for integrating applications and data in hybrid cloud environments, is now sold as part of IBM's WebSphere line of middleware. The new service management capabilities are being added to IBM's Tivoli system monitoring software and will tap into WebSphere Cast Iron's capabilities, Lindquist said.

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The new software can be used to define IT system policies, quotas, limits, and monitoring and performance rules for public clouds as Tivoli now does for on-premise systems. It will simplify security management by synchronizing on-premise and cloud application user directories for such IBM services as LotusLive.

The software also assists with "dynamic provisioning" by allowing system administrators to re-allocate IT resources to handle workloads moving from private on-premise systems to public clouds during peak times.

IBM will be selling the new product both directly and through its channel partners. "Cast Iron has a very strong channel presence," Lindquist said.