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IBM to release Tivoli software for SOA on the mainframe

IBM announced new Tivoli software at the SHARE user group conference today to help businesses build and maintain a service-oriented architecture environment.

BALTIMORE -- IBM today announced new Tivoli mainframe management software to help data centers sustain heavy transactions that come from using service oriented architecture (SOA) on their System z mainframe servers.

The announcement was made in Baltimore Tuesday morning at a conference hosted by Share, the mainframe user group. Al Zollar, general manager of Tivoli software, said the new software is a result of technology gained from the acquisitions of Cyanea Systems and Candle Corp. in 2004. It comes just a few months after IBM announced Rational, DB2 and WebSphere software in New York City to boost the mainframe.

Tony Lock, a research director at Union City, Calif.-based analyst firm The Sageza Group Inc., wrote in an email that IBM continues to develop its Tivoli platform internally and through acquisitions like Cyanea and Candle, as well as more recent purchases, such as MRO Software and FileNet Corp. Lock said the new products could help data centers better match what's in their IT departments with the company's business objectives.

"Overall, Tivoli is adopting a pragmatic approach to enhancing systems monitoring and management solutions," Lock said. "Business is dependent on IT and it is therefore essential to ensure that the right people, and only the right people, have access to the systems and information that they need when they require it."

Where IBM suffers, Lock said, is in the marketing of Tivoli. The software brand doesn't have a strong hold in many IT managers' mind, which is something Lock said IBM needs to work on.

"Tivoli's solutions are now very strong in many areas, but many organizations have little idea how Tivoli can help them," he wrote.

The products announced by IBM, all of which will be available by the end of the year, include:

  • Composite Application Manager to monitor and resolve problems without having to switch between management applications.
  • Workload Scheduler to allow batch workloads across a computing environment, whether it be the mainframe or not.
  • Omegamon XE to diagnose IT problems on hardware or software that aren't yet part of an SOA environment.

Zollar said the acquisitions IBM made have forced the Tivoli development team to integrate the technology in such a way so it looks to customers like an upgrade and not something entirely unfamiliar.

"When we acquire capabilities, we're challenging ourselves to put out merged releases," he said during a presentation at the Share conference, adding that it means he has to "pound" the concept of integration into the Tivoli group and focus on it early in the development cycle.

All of the products are meant to help data centers get their mainframes into full SOA mode. SOA, one of the major buzzwords of this conference and among data centers in general, is a way of organizing applications so they can communicate easier with one another to help the company and its customers. A common example is an online company's ordering process that combines information from many different types of applications, such as one overseeing the financial transaction, another checking on whether a product is in stock and still another holding a customer's information.

Making SOA relevant is one of the ways IBM hopes to boost support for the mainframe. The company also released the z9 Business Class earlier this year, which has a $100,000 starting price to attract small and midsized businesses. Last year, it released the larger z9 Enterprise Class.

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IBM has also released processors like the zIIP, zAAP and IFL that help the mainframe process applications for databases, Java and Linux, respectively.

For the Composite Application Manager, IBM gave the example of a bank customer that wants to change its address in its online account, but can't do it within that application. The Composite Application Manager would be able to store that data and later correct it in the right location.

This capability, being able to manage multiple applications under one umbrella, is something that Lock thinks isn't used enough in companies to organize its business processes because "the market as a whole really needs effective tuition on what is achievable today."

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