In announcing new capabilities in its six-year drive for Autonomic Computing, IBM took another step toward the goal of computing systems that can heal and manage themselves.
One new offering is IBM OPTIMIZETest, which automates I.T. center testing. As an example, the company said that Marist College in New York has been able to use the automation to do testing in 50 percent less time and to identify problems earlier.
IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager now provides for automated resource accounting, cost allocation, and chargeback billing for resource use, while Tivoli Security Operations Manager provides a real-time dashboard that autonomously tracks and analyzes security threats in the data center.
Emphasis on Open Standards
Other new products include Tivoli Monitoring for performance monitoring and automated correction actions, and Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, a platform for tracking relationships and details for servers, storage devices, and networks.
Also, IBM announced earlier this week the Systems Director Active Energy Manager for automatically tracking and managing power consumption in data centers.
Coupled with IBM's new autonomic computing offerings is its emphasis on open standards. One such standard is the Cosmos project. Cosmos, or Community Systems Management Open Source, seeks to improve the interoperability of management tools from different vendors in I.T. environments.
Open standards are needed that will allow the machines to "protect, heal, and manage themselves with minimal dependence on human intervention," IBM vice president Alan Ganek said in a statement. The difficulty in becoming autonomic is not in the high-performing machines themselves, he added, but in the ways in which they interoperate and are managed.
Autonomic Computing Manifesto
This IBM initiative for autonomic computing began in October of 2001, with the company's release of its Autonomic Computing Manifesto, which it said was a proposed solution to the increasingly complex data center environment.
In fact, the IBM initiative contends that computing systems are becoming so complex that the "threshold moment" is at hand, when humans are not capable of managing and securing this level of complexity. According to the manifesto, systems should manage themselves according to goals set by the administrator, because information technology can grow for only so long before it collapses into "a jumble of wires, buttons and knobs."
It isn't science fiction, the Manifesto continued, to expect powerful systems to resemble a human's self-regulating nervous system where new components should integrate themselves "as effortlessly as a new cell establishes itself in the human body."