IBM Bundle Automates IT Tasks

Big Blue's Project Symphony initiative automates businesses' tasks of managing their IT infrastructure.

IBM at the end of the month will launch the next product offering in its Project Symphony initiative, a bundling of software and hardware with its blade servers that is designed to enable enterprises to automate the tasks of managing their IT infrastructure.

IBM Web Infrastructure Orchestration comprises versions of WebSphere middleware, DB2 database applications, Tivoli Storage Manager and TotalStorage hardware integrated with IBMs BladeCenter blade servers, according to Sandy Carter, vice president of marketing for Tivoli. Coordinated by IBM Tivoli Intelligent ThinkDynamic Orchestrator—the first offering rolled out last month with the unveiling of Project Symphony—the package enables administrators to automate such tasks as deploying applications or adding capacity, and do so based on policies set by the business, Carter said.

"What this bundle does is enable an enterprise to handle any business on the Web … in an automated fashion, handling spikes and peaks in demand in their online business," she said.

Project Symphony is aimed at addressing the key IT problems of enterprises—increasing resource utilization, reducing costs and linking a companys IT infrastructure with its business policies. Tivoli Intelligent ThinkDynamic Orchestrator is a way of using Java-based policies to tie together IT and business, Carter said. Once policies are set, the software senses an increase or decrease in business demand, and can automatically allocate IT resources to meet those demands.

For example, if a business decides its a policy to answer a request over the Web in 2 seconds, then the software will monitor the infrastructure to ensure that policy is met. If a spike in demand makes meeting that policy difficult, the software can automatically allocate more resources to meet the workload increases, Carter said.

The Web Infrastructure Orchestration takes that intelligence and embeds it into a blade server environment, she said. The Tivoli Intelligent ThinkDynamic Orchestrator automatically manages all the parts of the bundle, shifting resources where theyre needed, depending on the policies set by the business. Deploying new applications or shifting capacity can be done in hours rather than days.

In addition, Tivoli Intelligent ThinkDynamic Orchestrator can communicate with WebSphere Application Server via Web services interfaces—based on open standards—to allow for the automated deployment of new Web servers into the infrastructure.

The Web Infrastructure Orchestration will be available at the end of the month, with pricing depending on what components an enterprise buys. Businesses can buy all or parts of the bundle, and install them by themselves or have IBM do the installation. Pricing ranges from $20,000 for Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator to more than $300,000 for the combined hardware, software and services offering.

IBM later this month will roll out new bundles in the Project Symphony initiative, and will launch other parts later this year and into next year, Carter said.

In a related move, IBM on Oct. 31 also will start offering BladeCenter Standby Capacity on Demand, which enables a business to buy a chassis with seven blade servers and several more for standby capacity. If the business needs more capacity than the seven blades, more can be brought online, with the customer paying only for what it uses.

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