New autonomic tools offer datacentre insights: IBM

Better monitoring of resource use is possible, Big Blue says

IBM is building a datacentre management platform based on its autonomic computing initiative, and says it has advanced the technology sufficiently to give users deep insight into their IT environments.

These capabilities are being included in a set of new and updated Tivoli product offerings, in tools for security, monitoring, services management, and change and configuration management.

One updated tool, the Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager, is intended to tackle the problem of measuring resource use in shared environments. IBM says this platform will allow a company to understand down to the individual user level how resources are consumed, including information on CPU, I/O, networking consumption, and data storage.

That functionality makes it possible for IT managers to figure out who is using which resources in a business, says Alan Ganek, vice president of autonomic computing and chief technology officer at IBM Tivoli.

"You need to be able to understand how to attribute cost back to the business," says Ganek, who adds that the management tools allow users to measure services at the transaction level. Today, many IT managers have to make "gross assumptions" about usage and "lack the ability to attribute cost back to various departments," he says.

Another new tool, the Configuration and Change Manager, enables users to discover the relationship of various applications in their environments. It will allow users to, for example, discover all the applications that utilise a resource, such as a database, and determine what would happen if that database was taken offline. The inability to know these relationships is an issue for many IT managers, says Ganek.

Donna Scott, an analyst at Gartner, says IBM is trying to expand from "autonomic computing in products to autonomic computing for the datacentre." The company is setting higher and broader goals, suggesting that "they must feel that they made sufficient progress in each of the IBM product areas with autonomic computing".

Autonomic computing is IBM's bid to create self-managing and self-healing environments, and tools such as the configuration and change manager advance that work, says Ganek. "For self-managing and self-healing to occur in productive way, you need to have an understanding of what the environment consists of," he says.

Additional new offerings include the IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager, a package that monitors power consumption and makes adjustments to improve energy efficiency and reduce power consumption costs, says Ric Telford, vice president for autonomic computing at IBM.

The software allows customers to cap power usage, prevent cost overruns and monitor workload usage trends to enable better planning before deploying workloads across multiple platforms in datacentres, Telford says. Users have the option of designating important workloads to get more power based on the information provided, he says.

Agam Shah of the IDG News Service contributed to this report

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Tags datacentre managementIBMtechnologyTivoli

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