IBM expands service-management tools

IBM (http://www.networkworld.com/news/financial/ibm.html?brl) Tuesday rolled out products and updated existing software with an eye toward to helping customers get a better handle on how IT is responding to business demands.

Among the new products is IBM Tivoli Capacity Process Manager, which is designed to help customers reduce network bottlenecks by providing a better understanding of computing capacity and performance. The Process Manager, which is scheduled for availability in the fourth quarter when pricing also will be released, is the latest addition to IBM's service management portfolio.

IBM embarked on its service-management focus about 18 months ago and in June began shipping (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/052406-ibms-zollar-touts-new-management.html) the initial pieces of the software. Big Blue has introduced the Availability Process Manager (http://www-306.ibm.com/software/tivoli/solutions/it-process-management/), the Release Process Manager and the Storage Process manager.

"It's all about integrating across various tools and processes," says Donna Scott, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "IBM is providing the middleware (http://www.networkworld.com/details/822.html?brl) or the glue to do that."

Friday's announcement includes an update to the Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database software [CCMDB], a key part of the service-management picture (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/073106-configuration-management-database.html?brl) and the foundation for companies that want to incorporate IT Infrastructure Library best practices. The database integrates up-to-date IT information spread across an enterprise, including details about servers (http://www.networkworld.com/topics/servers.html?brl), storage (http://www.networkworld.com/topics/storage.html?brl), networks, middleware, applications (http://www.networkworld.com/topics/applications.html?brl) and data.

IBM says it is adding better application-management (http://www.networkworld.com/topics/application-management.html?brl) features to CCMDB, using software it acquired with Collation (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2005/111605-ibm-collation.html?brl). The updated CCMDB gives customers a real-time dashboard for a centralized view of application behavior so that application problems, such as a security (http://www.networkworld.com/topics/security.html?brl) patch causing issues with interconnected systems, can be recognized nearly immediately.

The updated CCMDB is expected to be available in October. Pricing will be released at that time, IBM says.

Other Oct. 6 announcements from IBM included the IBM Service Management Self-Assessment Toolkit, a free online calculator that helps enterprises determine how and where to begin deploying service-management tools; and an update to the IBM Tivoli Unified Process Composer, giving enterprises comprehensive documentation detailing how people, processes, data and technology best work together.

The announcements from IBM are "in line with IBM's strategy to provide higher-level process management and applications that help customers make business-oriented decisions," says Scott.

She says IBM and its competitors -- BMC (http://www.networkworld.com/news/financial/bmc.html?brl), CA (http://www.networkworld.com/news/financial/ca.html?brl) and HP (http://www.networkworld.com/news/financial/hp.html?brl) -- are all heading in this direction as they aim to integrate lower-level management tools into an overarching framework that gives customers a big picture view of the business performance of IT.

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