Some mainframe users see hope in Tivoli deal

In a move welcomed by its OS/390 users, Tivoli Systems last week announced that parent company IBM will buy object-oriented management software maker Accessible Software. Tivoli plans to integrate Accessible's Access 1 management tool into the Tivoli Management Environment (TME).

When Austin, Texas-based Tivoli brought TME, its management framework, to the OS/390 platform last year, it "was lacking a product that would integrate distributed and mainframe systems and present them together in one view. By acquiring Access, they got that capability," said Arun Kant, senior vice president of information systems at The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

But users like Dave Ward, vice president of enterprise systems at First Union, said they have unanswered questions. "Will there be a common repository, and are they going to collapse it into what kind of schema or tree structure?" said Ward. "I don't want to end up with a lot of different inventory systems - I already have that."

Ward also said he questions which console will be used in the future. "Right now, I've got an Access 1 console, a tech console and [Tivoli TME's Global Enterprise Manager environment (GEM)] console," he said. "My question is: When the music stops, which one is going to be your enterprise access console? [Tivoli representatives] told me it's going to be GEM. But I don't know that I believe that. I think they might take the Access 1 console and relabel it."

That would make sense, said Patrick Dryden, an analyst at Giga Information Group. "GEM lays over Tivoli and is supposed to integrate everything, but no one's ever gotten [it] to work right," said Dryden.

Prudential's Kant also said he isn't a fan of GEM. But "using Access makes GEM redundant," he said.

Neither Bob Yellin, senior vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Business Unit at Tivoli, nor Accessible President Jim Tagliareni would discuss development plans beyond vowing to put significant resources behind development and promising to make a security-related announcement later this year.

Kant said users will likely benefit from the acquisition in both the short term and the long term.

"We wanted to get one view of our environment to get the business view, the business impact of a problem, and the only way to get it was Access," Kant said.

Access runs on Windows NT and uses a Microsoft SQL database. Events from the mainframe, network and distributed systems flow to the Access console, Kant said. "We're even using it to monitor our telecommunications - GeoTel and Lucent switches."

All Access products - including mainframe, open systems and storage-area network management software, will be integrated into Tivoli tools. They will also continue to be sold and developed as stand-alone products, Kant said.

IBM declined to disclose financial details of the deal.

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