IBM Readies On-Demand Partnership Program

Sources: Cisco, PeopleSoft, Siebel and others sign on to IBM's new OPAL program and will develop, and publish customized Tivoli workflows.

Sources said that IBM on Tuesday will launch the centerpiece of its effort to extend its automated-provisioning technology for on-demand computing into the ISV and Systems Integrator world.

The new business partner initiative, dubbed Orchestration and Provisioning Library (OPAL), pulls together a series of tools, best practices, education, validation testing and promotional activities to help third parties exploit the extensible workflow engine within the IBM Tivoli Intelligent ThinkDynamic Orchestrator and the IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager. These two components provide the foundation for automation in IBMs On-demand initiative.

According to sources, OPAL, which will be detailed at IBMs PartnerWorld conference in Las Vegas, is comprised of a Workflow Resource Kit, which IBM will use to help partners begin creating their own unique workflows. IBM Innovations Centers scattered around the globe will provide the educational setting and technical tools for ISVs and Systems Integrators to learn how to create base orchestration and develop workflows, according to sources familiar with the OPAL initiative.

Once finished, IBM will validate those workflows, and then publish and promote them via an Automation Catalog.

IBM will also help promote the partner workflows through joint marketing activities and advertising assistance, according to sources.

IBM will also announce on Tuesday the first OPAL partners to work with the automation technology. They include Cisco Systems Inc., Citrix, DataSynapse, Inkra Networks, PeopleSoft, Nortel Networks, Network Associates, Siebel Systems Inc. and VMware. In addition, IBM will announce Systems Integrator partners as well, including Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and BlueWorld, sources said.

Citrix for example, developed workflows for Citrix Server Farms to reduce deployment times, while Cap Gemini Ernst & Young created workflows to speed provisioning of development environments. CGE&Y deployed the automation software in its Enterprise Systems Management Center of Excellence.

Beyond the Tivoli integration, other IBM business units or platforms that are currently exploiting the automated orchestration and provisioning technology include IBM Global Services, pSeries, iSeries, zSeries, xSeries, DB2, Lotus, Rational and WebSphere.

IBM itself has created at least 130 workflows, according to Eric Stouffer, program director for On-demand solutions in Austin, Texas.

"What were able to do is capitalize on the multiplication factor of bringing best practices from IBM, partners and customers to bear on the (specific) situation," described Stouffer in an interview late last year.

IBM is initially targeting the financial services, telecommunications and government vertical markets for the program. The company will work closely with 20 ISVs and 10 systems integrators during 2004 to develop the OPAL initiative. The company will also work in a less intensive way with about 80 additional ISVs. Additional business partners can participate in the OPAL program via a web-based interface, sources said. In 2005, IBM plans to work closely with as many as 500 ISVs and systems integrators.

The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) will also help create a standards community focused on IBMs brand of utility computing. The DMTF has created a new Utility Computing Working Group, tasked with creating interoperable and common object models for utility computing services within its Common Object Model.