IBM Tivoli Boosts Automated Management Capabilities

The product blitz, unveiled at the IBM DeveloperWorks Live and Planet Tivoli conference here, is the next step in IBM's plan to provide "on-demand" utility-based computing, a vision laid out by IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano last November, the company said.

As part of that vision, IBM is working to add autonomic, self-healing management capabilities to Tivoli software that can integrate the management of users, IT resources and businesses processes, said Steve Wojtowecz, director of strategy at IBM Tivoli, Austin, Texas.

IBM's new Tivoli Autonomic Monitoring Engine software uses preconfigured or customized rules to detect and cure server problems without human intervention, Wojtowecz said.

For example, the software could stop low-priority applications from accessing a troubled database or divert memory or CPU utilization to preserve performance levels of mission-critical systems, he said.

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The software engine includes 300 "best-practice" scenarios for fixing common problems. IBM also plans to offer a software developer kit that solution providers can use to customize the engine's rules, he said.

"They can take their knowledge and use it as a differentiator between themselves and their competition," Wojtowecz said.

With IBM and several of its competitors promising to deliver self-healing products, solution providers are wondering how effectively technology can replace the human touch.

"If Tivoli can effectively reduce the need for the human factor at a price point the market will accept, I think it would be a winner, but that's the key: Does it really do it, or do we have to get in there and fix the problem anyway?" said Mont Phelps, president of Netivity Solutions, a solution provider in Waltham, Mass.

Steve Lenhardt, client services director at St. Louis-based integrator Maryville Technologies, called automated management "more of a prophecy than a reality."

"It's a good place to strive toward, but I don't think it's achievable to have absolutely no human intervention," Lenhardt said. Even if systems and software have self-healing capabilities, customers will still require customization in setting up rules to follow, he said.

IBM expects the Tivoli Autonomic Monitoring Engine to be generally available this fall. Pricing has not yet been established.

The vendor also introduced IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console 3.9, which adds a Web console for remote access and also includes auto-discovery and problem diagnosis through preconfigured rules.

IBM also added self-managing capabilities to three storage management products: IBM Tivoli Storage Area Network Manager 1.2, Storage Resource Manager 1.2 and Storage Manager 5.2.