With a host of big-name vendors on board to drive standardization and recent customers such as eBay, Reuters and the University of Wisconsin, Big Blue is finally ready to declare its self-healing initiative as "ready for prime-time."
IBM introduced in 2001 the concept of autonomic computing, a technology that allows systems to make self-healing decisions without user imput, and says it has the broadest portfolio of autonomic-enabled products and services in the industry.
At the Global Grid Forum in Chicago this week, IBM and Hewlett-Packard will conduct a joint demonstration featuring product interoperability with Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM), a standard that was recently ratified by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).
In addition to HP, IBM said Sun, Computer Associates, Novell, Fujitsu and Cisco, among others, have lent support to autonomic computing standardization efforts. This is a plus for Big Blue, based on the fact that no initiative toward mainstream adoption is complete until industry-wide standards are in place.
"There has been recognition by the industry that this is real, it's driving real value and [they] want to be on board," Dave Bartlett, IBM's vice president for autonomic computing said. "We've started with this grand industry challenge, a vision to provide self-managing [computing] for customers across the heterogeneous infrastructure.
According to Charles King, principal analyst for Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Research, the work IBM has done with self-managing computing, starting with the eLiza Initiative earlier this decade, looks like it's starting to pay off. And now that autonomic computing has a little tread on its tires, these new tools seem like they'll have a chance to fare better in the marketplace.
"It's five years into its efforts and I think IBM has shown it can deliver [these] capabilities," King said. "IBM has taken the benefits of autonomic computing to an increasingly large portion of IT infrastructure management. You can basically take some of your workload off your IT management staff and get more bang for your IT buck."
IBM also announced this week a series of new autonomic technologies and services, as well, for IT staff struggling to deal with troublesome glitches deep within their infrastructure.
New autonomic software will debut in the Autonomic Computing Toolkit, an online resource center slated to go live in September. Big Blue said developers can take advantage of Java coding in additional components and filtering capabilities, and the components can now handle more log events.
In addition, IBM formally announced its autonomic partner roadmap, the Self-Managing Autonomic Technology Mark Program, and said it has already signed on Corente, Macrovision Corporation, nLayers Inc. and Singlestep Technologies. Under this new program, independent software vendors (ISVs) can slap the IBM Self-Managing Autonomic Technology logo on their products.
IBM also said that its solution installation specification will now be considered by the Solution Deployment Descriptor (SDD) Technical Committee, which is developing a standardized method for expressing software installation characteristics required for lifecycle management in distributed, multi-platform environments.
The new services include the Accelerator for Service Management for Problem Determination, which IBM said will enables clients to combine, analyze and correlate error information across heterogeneous systems by installing software agents and log adapters that can convert disparate log data into a common format using a single user interface. Big Blue also launched support for SAP users with its Dynamic Infrastructure for my SAP Business suite, which IBM is touting as a flexible solution for enhancing a clients' ability to share resources between different SAP applications.
These services are available immediately in the U.S., Canada and Europe.