IBM gives autonomic computing a brain

New tools represent next phase in IBM's Autonomic Computing effort

To keep up with growing complexities of data center maintenance, IBM announced a new set of self-management tools that can reduce the cost and manpower needed to run data centers.

The tools represent the next phase in the development of IBM's Autonomic Computing effort, an umbrella of tools used in IBM's hardware, software and services to reduce human intervention by monitoring and managing systems autonomically. The package was first introduced in 2001.

New tools include the IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager, an energy management package that monitors power consumption, and makes adjustments to improve energy efficiency and reduce power consumption costs, said Ric Telford, vice president for autonomic computing at IBM.

The software allows customers to cap power usage, prevent cost overruns and monitor workload usage trends to enable better planning before deploying workloads across multiple platforms in data centers, Telford said. Users have the option to designate important workloads to get more power based on the information provided, he said.

A new platform, IBM Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, provides an integrated place for system administrators to see the characteristics of assets in an IT environment, Telford said. It automatically tracks IT information across multiple computer systems, including servers, storage, networks and applications. That helps IT staff better understand the relationships and dependencies among components, Telford said. This platform will be delivered to other service management products across IBM in the future.

Updates have also been made to some existing packages.

IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager gives information around usage of different resources, including CPU utilization, in a data center. Based on user behavior data, decisions on the allocation of IT resources can be made, Telford said. "This information allows you to be more proactive to the needs of a business unit going forward," he said.

The update better accounts for the utilization of CPUs and resources by virtual machines on System p and System x servers, Telford said.

By autonomously analyzing data throughout an IT center, the Tivoli Security Operations Manager detects security threat and automates the process of incident recognition, investigation and response.

Datacenters will benefit from the new tools as IT systems become more expensive to manage, Telford said. A majority of data center costs were on purchasing hardware and software, but it's now more on manpower, Telford said. By incorporating operational intelligence, autonomic computing could reduce such manpower costs, Telford said.

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