IBM Aims to Limit Complexity with Software Update

Tivoli Provisioning Manager 5.1 is designed for the midmarket and automates complex tasks involved in deploying, configuring and maintaining software on thousands of client systems.

IBMs Tivoli unit on Sept. 7 went after midmarket IT shops with the latest release of its Tivoli Provisioning Manager by adding more labor-saving automation techniques to software deployment on desktops and laptops as well as servers.

Tivoli Provisioning Manager 5.1 moves out of the servers in the data center onto desktops and laptops by extending the tools ability to automate complex tasks in deploying, configuring and maintaining software on thousands of client systems.

"This is pragmatic. Everybodys still struggling with how to build up and tear down [computing] environments and reduce costs for that low-level activity," said industry analyst Joe Clabby at Clabby Analytics in Yarmouth, Maine. "Theyre refocused on reaching that midsized enterprise," he added.

The new release brings a pair of new software distribution functions that lessen the workload on administrators as well as lessen the demand on existing infrastructure, according to Dave Lindquist, chief architect for IBMs Tivoli unit in Raleigh, NC.

With the new adaptive bandwidth control function, the software "uses TCP protocols to understand utilization on the network and it manages the distribution based on the utilization. So you dont overwhelm the network with administrative traffic and so you dont have to over-provision the network for performing updates," he said.

That represents a lot of labor savings, according to Clabby.

"If you didnt have that function, youd have to do it all yourself. Youd have to figure out what resources are being used, look at available bandwidth, then youd have to calculate how much load this task will put on the network. Now I, as an administrator, dont have to figure it out. The system does it," said Clabby.

A new peering technique borrows from grid-computing functions to make it possible to deliver new or updated files from a local server or desktop, rather than remotely across a WAN link.

"Peering is the next step beyond caching, where you start a download from multiple servers and the best suited server for the task does the bulk of the work. It is very adaptive technology," said Lindquist.

Tivoli also integrated the imaging technology it acquired with Rembo Technology in June. Rembo brings to Tivoli Provisioning Manager strong "bare metal provisioning" with its ability to clone an operating system onto a virtual machine and replicate it multiple times, according to Lindquist.

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read more about Rembo, click here.

Tivoli Provisioning Manager is a SOA (service-oriented architecture)-based product that can run alongside existing application architectures.

It is integrated with the Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, allowing the two products to share information about the status of IT services.

Version 5.1 is due on September 30.

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