IBM Tivoli Monday announced products and upgrades to help IT managers better integrate business processes and IT operations, and to enable IT service management across enterprise networks.
Big Blue says the new software and services will help IT managers automatically integrate disparate systems and data stores to establish standard best practices across IT workflows as well as business processes.
"We have utilized a lot of existing IBM software to enable the automatic integration of process and IT information," says Bob Madey, vice president of strategy and business development for Tivoli. "This will allow for the people hooking business processes together to also tie them to IT management on one platform."
To start, the company introduced its Change and Configuration Management Database, which is software built upon IBM's WebSphere Business Integrator middleware. The Tivoli CCMDB is less of a database and more of a platform for process information, Madey says.
It will serve as the platform for three new IBM Tivoli Process Manager applications. IBM upgraded 14 Tivoli products to automatically integrate and share data with the new management database software.
Tivoli CCMDB is installed on a server and collects data from other data stores to populate the database. It automatically discovers the underlying infrastructure and the relationships among applications and the network supporting them. The software can also communicate directly with point products and incorporate data collected by third-party systems.
Once the software is deployed, IT managers would use the workflow and policy engines within the software to establish alerts, events and reports on how business processes perform on the underlying IT infrastructure. The software includes a modeling tool that enables IT managers to establish standard IT service delivery models. The software would alert IT manages when parts of a process fail, either on the business side or on the IT side.
With this software, IBM says, customers can get a single view of an application that runs across more than a dozen servers. For instance, an IT manager could quickly determine which part of a business process across the enterprise network is falling down - whether it be a people problem, such as a business unit not signing off on a step, or an infrastructure issue, such as a poorly performing server.
IBM partnered with Cendura, Collation, nLayers and Relicore to collect application topology and change information. Industry watchers have noted in the past that IBM and competitors HP and Computer Associates have lacked application change, configuration and topology information in their product lines. IBM's Madey says Tivoli will be the first to directly tie this information to business processes.
"We are linking the disparate systems in a way that provide real links between business process and IT," he says.
The IBM Tivoli Process Managers are three pre-packaged software products that focus on release management, availability management and information lifecycle management. The software applications will run on top of the Tivoli CCMDB and include best practices specific to workflow.
For example, the release-management application would instruct IT managers how to prepare to distribute an application release. The software would integrate with products such as IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM Tivoli Configuration Manager, which customers might already have in place.
The applications come with sets of best practices but can be customized to a company's specific processes or vertical industry needs by using the modeling tool in Tivoli CCMDB. Madey says IBM included its own best practices to provide a set of specific instructions for deployment and aligned them with the guidelines provided by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
"Unlike ITIL, our best practices are very prescriptive; this is the product you need to use and this is the process to get it working right in your environment," Madey says.
IBM also worked its set of best practices, aligned with the ITIL, into an online resource for customers today. Dubbed IBM Tivoli Unified Process, this online navigational tool offers users how-tos for customizing and implementing best practices. Tool mentors and supporting IBM best practices are availablenow.
The product releases are accompanied by customized services from IBM Global Services. All products are scheduled for limited availability in August and set to be generally available by the fourth quarter. Pricing will be determined when the products become available, IBM says.