NETWORK WORLD NEWSLETTER: AUDREY RASMUSSEN ON NETWORK/SYSTEMS
Today's focus: IBM furthers autonomic computing through
By Audrey Rasmussen
IBM went out on a limb to promote autonomic computing a few
years ago, and created a group to develop autonomic computing
capabilities within IBM and to work outside of the company to
promote it. This group has been working with standards bodies
and with independent software vendors to lay the groundwork for
better and easier integration, which is necessary for broader
One example of the standards work is Common Base Event (CBE).
The CBE standards address the format of log files. IT
infrastructures have dispersed log files of all kinds, in
different formats. Integrating these disparate pools of data is
not so easy. With a CBE standard, pulling together log data from
different sources is possible, which facilitates analyzing the
data using non-manual methods.
CBE is a part of the Autonomic Toolkit that IBM gives away to
ISVs, a toolkit which also includes IBM's Autonomic Management
Engine. I recently spoke with Singlestep, an IBM partner that
used the Autonomic Toolkit to develop additional functionality
for its service provider customers.
Singlestep worked closely with IBM to develop an advanced
root-cause analysis tool using the tool kit and Singlestep's
Unity software. Unity collects management information, converts
the data to CBE and sends the data to the Autonomic Management
Engine (AME). The AME conducts root-cause analysis, and Unity
takes the appropriate action. An early customer has seen a 30%
decrease in events with the product.
An interesting aspect of this, beyond the fact that autonomic
computing is beginning to show up in products, is Singlestep's
experience in working with IBM on this project. Singlestep and
IBM were able to complete the project, according to Singlestep,
in record time. They began in early September 2004 and the
software was in production by Nov. 15. It included capabilities
that Singlestep had in its product roadmap for delivery by the
end of 2005. The company credits its partnership with IBM and
the Autonomic Toolkit for the development time saved.
Singlestep's service provider customer is already offering these
new capabilities as a service to its own customers.
Singlestep found IBM's DeveloperWorks to be a good resource, as
well as the quick response time from IBM staff. Singlestep
remarked that there was never a "big company feel" when it was
working with IBM.
IBM's autonomic computing efforts are beginning to manifest
themselves both in its own products and in those of other
vendors. Autonomic computing is no longer a pipe dream; it's
emerging in concrete products.
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Network World, 02/07/05
Copyright Network World, Inc., 2005