IBM Touts Project eLiza Solutions

Management software targets firms with large data centers, lowers costs.

Touting some of the fruits of its Project eLiza efforts, IBM this month unveiled several technology solutions it will release this year to boost system uptime and ease the strain on corporate system managers who oversee thousands of servers.

Project eLiza, announced last year, is a $1 billion internal IBM initiative aimed at developing self-managing, or autonomic, computer systems capable of diagnosing and repairing problems without human intervention. Such technology could dramatically reduce costly system downtime, IBM officials said, while alleviating some of the burden on IT professionals.

"Humans can no longer effectively manage machines. Its just gotten too complex," said Bob Cancilla, director of corporate systems planning for Republic Indemnity Co. of America Inc., in Encino, Calif. "With IT budgets tight, many companies are looking for these kinds of solutions to manage more stuff with fewer people."

One upcoming product that will target companies with large data centers is Enterprise Workload Manager. While various vendors offer products to manage multiple computer systems, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., contends its offering will be unique by treating multiple servers as though they were a single system, predicting workloads and making adjustments in real time.

Using sophisticated software algorithms, the software will gradually learn about varying demands placed on a data center and automatically make adjustments to address those needs.

IBM officials estimate the new software package could save enterprises as much as 20 percent on their IT budgets. The management software, designed to work on various IBM and non-IBM servers, will be released to select customers and developers late this year, according to IBM.

In addition to Enterprise Workload Manager, IBM also touted three other solutions developed as part of Project eLiza.

ITS Electronic Service Agent, now available with new eServers, provides proactive service monitoring through IBM Global Services. When a problem is detected, the software transmits data to IBM, where the problem is analyzed and fixed through a machine-to-machine connection. If such a fix is not possible, IBM will contact the customer to suggest alternative remedies.

Enterprise Identity Mapping, which will be available on eServers later this year, is designed to boost transaction security by allowing a companys network to decide what level of access to grant a user depending on where they enter the network.

Raquarium is a new feature that will be added to IBM Director and work in conjunction with its blade servers due out later this year.