Tivoli pushes autonomic computing model

General Manager of IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Software Inc. Robert LeBlanc on Tuesday touted the merits of his systems management company's revitalized customer efforts and assured attendees at the Planet Tivoli conference here just how deep the ties between Tivoli and IBM business units run.

"We are IBM. We own the systems management responsibility, [of IBM]," said LeBlanc of Austin, Texas-based Tivoli. "[In the past] we erred on the side of technology. We're trying to really show customers we are listening."

Security and application management being two of those bigger customer concerns, Tivoli on Tuesday announced IBM Tivoli Access Manager and a set of monitoring solutions to manage a dozen popular middleware and application environments and feed that information directly into Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse. The software also is used with IBM Tivoli Service Level Advisor.

According to LeBlanc, customers can expect to see from Tivoli in the coming months a much greater emphasis on storage management. Also, he hinted at new capabilities emerging later this year within the other three Tivoli product areas: configuration and operations, security, and performance and availability.

IBM Tivoli Access Manager for e-business Version 3.9 provides tighter out-of-the box interoperability with third party software solutions, such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Epicentric, and Oracle, as well as IBM and other Web server and portal vendor technologies. The product features self-healing capabilities including automated fail-over functionality to keep critical business applications running during periods of downtime, LeBlanc said.

To drive home points about integration and autonomic computing, LeBlanc detailed during keynote the great lengths to which Tivoli in April reinvented itself and heavily consolidated its product line -- from 150 products to below 50 -- in the wake of mounting customer criticism as the company expanded in size and vision.

The move has indeed resonated favorably for some customers who were growing frustrated at the number of Tivoli products geared toward specific vendor solutions, according to Planet Tivoli attendee George Perschbacher, systems administrator for Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. in St. Louis, Mo.

"Before, the licensing was just a pain for what products you owned and what licenses you had. I think that will be a lot easier with some of the [integration and consolidation] announcements Tivoli's made," said Perschbacher. "Tivoli is definitely improving."

Noting that his organization is at a point where it would be extremely hard to displace Tivoli technology, Perschbacher in particular liked the appeal of the Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse tool.

"The new Data Warehouse will solve a big problem and dump all the information from so many Tivoli products into one place. That will be a huge advantage for us with so many Tivoli products," Perschbacher added.

However, from a support standpoint, Perschbacher said it remains to be seen if the major integration overhaul from Tivoli will translate into fewer headaches for system administrators.

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