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IBM Self-Healing Software Tackles IT Complexity

    Online News published in DMReview.com
December 2, 2005

Building on IBM's initiative to help companies reduce the inherent complexity of IT environments, IBM announced a series of "self-healing" software products that can automatically find and fix problems before they slow down an online business or cause a company to lose valuable customer information because IT systems freeze. The software marks the next wave of self-managing autonomic technology from IBM by moving into the realm of proactively healing technology problems.

The new software from IBM Tivoli can pinpoint and then reach out to solve problems, such as repairing internet logjams or bringing systems back online after a power outage. This sidesteps the time-consuming task of finding and fixing glitches that naturally occur in complicated, intertwined systems, allowing all kinds of businesses - from midsized retailers to multinational insurance companies - to safely and completely manage their online applications. Similar to how the body's autonomic nervous system can heal a broken bone without conscious thought, IBM's new self-healing software heads off slowdowns and service interruptions - before consumers move on to other Web-based businesses in frustration, for example.

The task of troubleshooting system crashes and breakdowns can take teams of IT specialists hours or even days as they manually pore over error logs to trace problems, step-by-step, back to the point of failure. In fact, IT analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates estimates that determining the cause of a problem can take 50 to 80 percent of an IT staff's time, while 15 to 20 percent of their time is spent repairing it.

Launched in 2001, IBM's cross-industry autonomic computing initiative has worked over the past four years to radically simplify IT management, and the underlying infrastructure, by automating processes and building intelligence into systems themselves, helping to move businesses toward environments that are self-managing . IBM has built the broadest portfolio of autonomic-enabled products, services and solutions in the industry, with more than 475 self-managing autonomic features in 75 distinct IBM products.

"The era of self-healing technology has begun," said Alan Ganek, chief technology officer, IBM Tivoli Software and vice president, IBM Autonomic Computing. "These new products from IBM allow companies to spot and fix many IT problems automatically - and behind the scenes - so they can focus on strategic projects that are valuable to their business. We're opening new doors to reducing the complexity of technology."

IBM's new self-healing products are:

  • IBM Tivoli Monitoring - allows companies to manage online applications, such as email or bill paying systems, by proactively correcting IT service problems like "hung" applications, and fixing the problem across a company's servers, operating systems and databases before it impacts customers. The software detects the need for specific procedures - such as bringing on additional servers when capacity overload approaches - enabling users to automate the way common problems are corrected. In addition, the easy-to-install software supplies security encryption for services across an entire enterprise, which ensures that data passing through the monitoring technology, such as passwords, are safeguarded. This self-healing software has been tested over the past seven months by nearly 100 organizations, making it the largest beta program in Tivoli history. IBM Tivoli Monitoring 6.1 is available now. For more information, visit www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/resource-center/availability/itm61dts-rc.jsp.
  • IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager - speeds up access to information on the Internet - from booking a vacation to conducting research before buying a car - by predicting and fixing bottlenecks that crop up as dozens of different systems connect under a standards-based Service Oriented Architecture, or SOA. The self-healing software can locate where problems lie, identify the specific cause, and take steps to solve the problem -- all before customers are affected. IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for SOA, IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for WebSphere and IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for Response Time Tracking are available now. For more information, visit www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/solutions/application-management/
  • Tivoli System Automation for Multiplatforms - can pinpoint the status of complex applications running on multiple platforms and operating systems - and use preset instructions, or policies, to automatically bring them back online if the system fails because of a power outage or other cause. For example, a bank using a complex application to transfer funds between accounts may run on a Linux system and be connected to a database on a mainframe system. IBM's self-healing software automatically brings this complex application and database environment back online if an outage occurs, saving a company from losing business and customer data. Previously, an IT staff would need to find where the outage occurred and manually restart the application or database to resume operations. Tivoli System Automation for Multiplatforms is available now. For more information, visit www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/sys-auto-linux/

All of the products announced include an easy-to-use console, or dashboard, that lets administrators monitor the performance and availability of systems from a central location . This is part of IBM's cross-company strategy to provide a common systems administration console with a consistent look, feel and behavior across its systems and software offerings.

The new software is also part of IBM's IT Service Management initiative, which is focused on automating and integrating IT processes throughout an enterprise. The software will be sold direct through IBM and IBM business partners.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Enterprise Achitecture.

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