IBM Keeps Its Eye on IT Service Management

The company announces new versions of its systems management software at the Share conference in Baltimore.

BALTIMORE—IBM is pursuing its IT service management and service-oriented architecture management strategy through a series of acquisitions and evolutionary product releases.

Al Zollar, general manager of IBMs Tivoli software division, delivered a keynote at the Share conference here on Aug. 15, noting that IBM has been on its ITSM journey since May of last year and the focus has begun to pay off.

Indeed, at the conference, Zollar announced new editions of IBM systems management solutions that will be available by the end of the year.

The new software is based in part on technology IBM acquired when the company bought Candle and Cyanea Systems in 2004.

The new products Zollar previewed included the Tivoli Federated Identity Manager for z/OS, which introduces federated identity management to mainframe systems, he said.

The Tivoli Composite Application Manager assists users in diagnosing IT problems on an autonomic basis—automatically monitoring, analyzing and resolving problems, Zollar said.

A third product, the Tivoli Workload Scheduler, enables batch workloads to run across SOA-enabled and grid computing environments. And the Tivoli Omegamon XE offering, based on Candle technology, is a diagnostics tool that will diagnose IT problems across applications, middleware and non-SOA-enabled systems, Zollar said.

Meanwhile, the goal of IBMs ITSM strategy is "to manage composite applications across IT silos," Zollar said. And he said IBMs services organization has worked on more than 1,000 client engagements in this space.

"It is our strategy to have a very comprehensive set of tools," Zollar said. Zollar also noted that he believes IBM has the most comprehensive set of tools to support SOA and ITSM.

"We selected the Tivoli product family because it provides us a single product family that is comprehensive and can provide a complete, end-to-end solution for managing the overall infrastructure," said Doug Edwards, senior systems engineer at Lockheed Martin, in a statement.

Zollar said IBM takes a modular approach to IT service management, starting with monitoring, provisioning, service desk and performance. And IBMs play "is not just across Windows, Unix and Linux, but also the System z," he said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs SOA software for System z.

However, Zollar said the real breakthrough for IBM in the area of IT service management was in the companys shift from focusing primarily on technology, to focusing on "people, process and information," as well.

Among the first products to help kick off IBMs ITSM initiative were IBM Tivolis solutions for SOA in the second half of 2005, Zollar said.

Then in the first half of 2006, IBM acquired Micromuse, CIMS Lab and Rembo Technology, and in June the company released IBM Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, IBM Tivoli process managers and the IBM Tivoli Unified Process Composer.

Meanwhile, in addition to the new products coming in the second half of this year, IBM will continue to integrate the Micromuse and CIMS Lab assets into IBM solutions, Zollar said.

"We have been very acquisitive, but its all part of this bigger picture of creating this IT services management solution," Zollar said.

Indeed, as recently as Aug. 3, IBM announced its plans to acquire MRO Software, an asset and service management software and consulting company based in Bedford, Mass., for $740 million.

Zollar said MRO provides IBM with technology the systems giant does not have. "MRO has a service desk and Tivoli does not," he said.

In addition to the service desk capability, MRO offers a "service catalog" capability, which provides what Zollar calls "a touch-less service supply chain."

Richard Ptak, an analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates, in Amherst, N.H., said IBMs pending acquisition of MRO "potentially allows IBM to bring together in a single, integrated, automated package the management of all enterprise assets and to focus these assets in a coordinated way on achieving enterprise success."

Added Ptak: "This concentrated focus is the concept that represents the driving force behind the IBM strategy to aid enterprises move the majority of IT and business management effort from maintenance and administration to driving business success."

Meanwhile, Zollar noted that security and security management play a role in the overall ITSM scheme, and the System z mainframe is a force to be reckoned with in security.

"Our view of System z is it is the secure enterprise hub for composite applications and SOA," Zollar said.

He said System z allows for end-to-end security, including: policy-based identity management; registry simplification; end-user single sign-on; cross system auditing and compliance reporting; secure business processes in a SOA environment; and more.

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