IBM Tivoli will debut a large set of new products at IBM developerWorks Live! later this week, giving star billing to an autonomic engine, toolkit, and assessment tool. Many observers see the upcoming announcements as boosting Tivoli's stature in the areas of crossplatform management, security, and autonomic computing vs. industry rivals, particularly HP's OpenView.
Other announcements to be made during the event include a configuration manager for automated teller machines (ATMs), a new zSeries Performance Management product release, increased integration for Tivoli Access Manager, and upgraded editions of Tivoli's Enterprise Console, Remote Control, Service Level Advisor, and storage management offerings.
"The big noise, though, is autonomic. This won't be IBM's first move into autonomic computing, but it will be a continuation. With these announcements, IBM steps out ahead of HP," asserts Rick Sturm, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates.
"There's still a lot of skepticism out there about autonomic computing. What people have to understand, though, is that autonomic computing is real. It is not just hype; it's different, and it's going to change how we run IT," the analyst continues.
"Systems administrators will become more specialized, but more productive," he adds. "There will be a real demand for subject matter experts -- somebody, for example, who is a real guru in the internals of Linux, who can drill down in and quickly identify problems that are beyond the scope of a product's management capabilities. Or somebody who really knows about the interdependencies between pieces of network topology -- who can see problems in dynamic rerouting that might not be apparent to the software."
"Tivoli is taking a very broad approach to autonomic computing across everything -- hardware, security, and management tools, for example," notes Paul Mason, an analyst at IDC.
Tivoli's Autonomic Trio
The new Autonomic Engine to be launched this week is a component of IBM Tivoli Monitoring. The new engine is designed for analyzing errors, finding root causes, and starting corrective actions, according to Steve Wojtowecz, Tivoli's director of strategy.
About 15 ISVs are working with the engine today. The Autonomic Engine is expected to enter beta this summer, with general availability in the fall.
ISVs have also begun to use Tivoli's Autonomic Toolkit -- a product that is available now -- to write applications for the forthcoming engine. Sturm predicts that autonomic computing announcements will also be made by IBM's ISV partners, including third-party vendors in the management space.
"These products will be alternatives to Tivoli. Third-party vendors have always found ways to differentiate their management products. People will be able to buy autonomic computing tools from a number of vendors, instead of just getting everything from IBM or HP, for instance," he elaborates.
The Tivoli Autonomic Assessment Tool, on the other hand, is designed to help users "assess their readiness for autonomic computing -- what stage they're in," says IDC's Mason. Specifically, the tool will offer specific insights and recommendations in six operational areas. Customers will also be able to get a high-level view of the "potential business value" of autonomic computing.