IBM officials at Gartners Symposium/ITxpo here last week rolled out new security advancements and relayed a handful of customer success stories as they summarized the companys challenge to develop adaptable, self-managing systems.
Beyond early experiments with customers such as the United States Tennis Association, IBM touted an annual $1 million in savings that Whirlpool Corp. achieved by leveraging automation functions within Tivoli Identity Manager.
Such savings come from a reduction in help desk calls related to password resets, according to Jim Haney, vice president of architecture and planning for Whirlpool, in Benton Harbor, Mich.
"We were able to put password policies in a system that could mechanically enforce them and made it easier for the user with self-service password reset," said Haney.
But when it comes to distributing workloads and moving computing capacity around to accommodate changing demands—as the USTA is doing with IBM—the software support from Tivoli Intelligent Provisioning Manager and Tivoli Orchestrator is not fully developed.
"We are waiting for the SAP [AG] integration. Thats when well get excited about it," said Haney.
True autonomic capability with Tivoli tools today works only with WebSphere applications, but IBM is working to extend it to SAP applications by the middle of next year, according to Alan Ganek, IBMs vice president of autonomic computing, in Somers, N.Y.
The effort required to automate provisioning and movement of CPU cycles with Tivolis offerings is no easy feat.
Implementing the business rules and policies that govern how best to juggle computing capacity will take time, conceded Sandy Carter, vice president of IBMs On Demand Operating Environment group, in Austin, Texas. The USTA project took two months and five full-time people. But for large IT shops, it ultimately promises to reduce deployment times dramatically for new server provisioning, Carter said.
Tied to the autonomic effort, IBM here demonstrated its new ThinkPad T42 laptop with a biometric fingerprint reader that replaces the need to type in passwords upon log-in to protected systems or sites.
The T42, which shipped last week, includes an embedded security subsystem for client security that stores encrypted keys and passwords. The fingerprint reader, which works with the password manager, is a $100 option for the laptop.