Tivoli Extends Management Reach

Across-the-board updates to management tools will offer better performance and tighter integration with other IBM offerings.

IBMs Tivoli software unit next month will roll out across-the-board updates to its management tools to offer better performance and tighter integration with other IBM offerings, such as WebSphere and storage products.

The unit will announce the sweeping product enhancements along with claims of significant competitive advances against large rivals such as Computer Associates International Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView unit and BMC Software Inc., according to sources familiar with the product plans. But with the attraction of high-priced and hard-to-implement network and systems management tools waning, Tivoli faces an uphill battle in demonstrating the kind of return on investment IT users demand.

Among Tivolis new offerings will be a system automation product for zSeries mainframes to automate adjustments to the host environment and improve performance based on business metrics. The tool advances IBMs autonomic computing initiative.

Tivoli, in Austin, Texas, will also introduce a provisioning tool that works with the companys software distribution program and exploits the enhanced Tivoli Identity Director. It can provision servers or desktops based on identities and policies in the Identity Director security management tool.

Tivoli will also release a new version of its Tivoli Configuration Manager that improves the integration with software inventory and distribution tools. Configuration Manager Release 4.2 features deeper integration with enterprise directories based on LDAP, as well as support for Linux desktops.

The new release extends configuration management to WebSphere applications, allowing software to be distributed to WebSphere servers and exploiting WebSphere as a gateway to access other applications, sources said.

Also on tap for next months launch are new monitoring programs for applications, middleware and databases as well as an analysis tool for IBMs Lotus divisions Domino. In addition, Tivoli will launch the storage resource management tool it hinted at earlier this year and detail enhancements to Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse announced last spring.

Despite the improvements and the promises of complete management for e-business infrastructure, even current users remain skeptical.

"We are a fairly big Tivoli shop. The very fact that we invested so much money is why we continue to use it today. But the feeling I got was that there wasnt a good ROI," said one user, who asked not to be named.

Part of Tivolis problem may be in its message. Despite using a range of IBM hardware, Wally Knapp uses only Tivoli Storage Manager. "Its a fantastic product. I can imagine them boosting sales on the benefits of that product alone," said Knapp, senior director of IT for Community College of Baltimore County, in Catonsville, Md. "But Ive never been talked to about [other] Tivoli software."

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