IBM Announces Industry's First Blueprint for Managing Complex Computing Environments

Delivers New Technologies to Help Businesses Design Autonomic Computing Systems

ARMONK, N.Y., April 4, 2003 -- IBM today simplified the system design process for computers by introducing the industry's first blueprint to assist customers as they begin to build autonomic computing systems.

The company also plans to deliver the first in a series of open technologies, based on this blueprint, to help make IT systems more self-managing.

IBM is making the blueprint available free of charge and without royalty, and is working with third-party partners, customers and open standards committees to help drive the architecture's continued evolution.

"Autonomic computing capabilities will emerge from innovative hardware and software from a number of sources," said Alan Ganek, vice president, IBM Autonomic Computing. "With this blueprint, IBM is suggesting a set of technical guidelines to help ensure that those piece-parts are designed from the start to work together effectively, regardless of their source. The best way to achieve this is through the use of specifications that are open and unencumbered."

The new autonomic blueprint provides a method for assembling technologies from diverse suppliers and facilitates an open process for automating the management of complex information systems. The blueprint begins the process of developing a common approach and terminology for architecting autonomic computing systems.

It provides a consistent mechanism that different vendors can use to enable the delivery of self-managing capabilities across the entire computing environment. It outlines structured control loops to monitor, analyze and react to changes within an IT environment. These loop collect information from the system, make decisions and then adjust the system as necessary. Intelligent control loops can enable the system to configure, heal, optimize and protect itself.

Rather than being based on a proprietary platform, it leverages multiple new and emerging standards, including the Open Grid Systems Architecture and Application Resource Measurement (ARM), into a more cohesive whole.

In addition to this blueprint, the company is providing developers with technologies to help develop autonomic systems. The new technologies provide developers and customers with building blocks that will enable them to produce self-managed systems that are compliant within the framework of the new blueprint.

The four technologies announced today each address core capabilities required for Autonomic Computing. Log & Trace Tool for Problem Determination:

-- This tool helps alleviate the manual task of tracking down the cause of a system problem, by putting the log data from different system components into a common format, helping an administrator to more easily identify the root cause more quickly. This tool will help bridge the gap between problem determination and debugging of applications and middleware. By capturing and correlating events from end-to-end execution in the distributed stack, this tool allows for a more structured analysis of distributed application problems that facilitates the development of autonomic self-healing and self-optimizing capabilities. ABLE (Agent Building and Learning Environment) Rules Engine for Complex Analysis:

-- Minimizing the need for developing complex algorithms required for intelligent autonomic behavior. ABLE is a set of fast, reusable and scalable learning and reasoning components that through the use of intelligent monitoring software can capture and share individual and organizational knowledge. Monitoring Engine providing Autonomic Monitoring capability:

-- This technology is designed to detect resource outages and potential problems before they impact system performance or end-user experience. The monitoring engine has embedded self-healing technology to allow systems to automatically recover from critical situations. It uses advanced resource model technology to capture, analyze, and correlate the key metrics that support its autonomic capabilities. This technology, developed by Tivoli, enables more root-cause analysis of critical resource issues and automated best practices for initiating corrective actions. The Tivoli Autonomic Monitoring Engine will be available in beta this summer and will ship with Tivoli Monitoring software later this year. Business Workload Management for Heterogeneous Environments:

-- This initial delivery will include utilizing the ARM standard to help identify the causes of bottlenecks in the system through response time measurement, reporting of transaction processing segments, and dynamic learning of transaction workflow topology through servers and middleware. It then adjusts resources as needed to ensure performance objectives are met. This technology will begin to rollout in the IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance product.

Additional details about these technologies will be made available at IBM's developerWorks Live! conference for software developers April 9 - 12 in New Orleans.

In order to build a robust foundation for autonomic computing, it is imperative that there exists an approach to standards and tools that facilitates and encourages the development of open systems. The adoption rate for developing autonomic computing systems depends on customers having access to essential technologies and tools that make it easy to incorporate them into their systems. IBM is delivering the foundation and the first in a series of technologies to kick-start this process.

More information can be found at . About IBM Autonomic Computing

IBM is developing the industry's broadest range of autonomic computing capabilities that are being integrated across the entire computing environment. IBM has devoted substantial R&D efforts and established its intellectual leadership in this arena and is incorporating autonomic capabilities across its product portfolio.