IBM is introducing a product designed to make it easier to see who is using resources in distributed and virtualized environments.
The Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager is a Web-based tool that can track the usage of the resources and bill accordingly.
The software will help fuel the adoption of virtualization technology, said Pete McCaffrey, program director of virtualization strategy for IBMs Systems Group.
"This has been one of the key inhibitors of widespread adoption of virtualization," McCaffrey said. "Without being able to track usage and costs, businesses have been reluctant to jump in."
In a shared environment, monitoring how people or groups use resources—and then billing them for that use—becomes a key issue, he said.
"Historically, this [capability] has been in products in the mainframe environment," McCaffrey said. "Whats new here is the level of support in distributed environments and virtualized environments."
IBM engineers based the software on how utility companies monitor, meter and bill for such services as electricity and gas.
With the Tivoli software, administrators can meter and bill individuals or groups based on their levels of use of virtual server, storage, network, software, middleware and e-mail.
In addition, the software can help administrators determine—based on usage—where resources should be placed and provide use and trend reports.
Such capabilities are important for hosting businesses, which need to be able to accurately track resource use and bill clients accordingly.
In addition, virtualization can play a role in helping such businesses reduce hardware and energy costs and increase resource flexibility, McCaffrey said.
In a more traditional shared environment, its important for administrators to see which employees or internal departments are using what resources to ensure accurate billing, he said.
The software is based on technology IBM got through its acquisition of CIMS Labs in January.
The editions of the software for x86 and mainframe environments are available immediately; the version for IBMs System p servers will come in September, McCaffrey said.