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Tivoli Database Delivers IBM Middleware Link

VARs will soon have less to wrestle with when trying to bring IBM's Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere and DB2 middleware in concert with one another.

VARs will soon have less to wrestle with when trying to bring IBM's Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere and DB2 middleware in concert with one another.

Scheduled for availability later this year, IBM's Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB) will advance IBM's efforts toward autonomic computing by offering tighter integration among Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere and DB2, said Bob Madey, vice president of strategic marketing management at Tivoli, an IBM business unit based in Austin, Texas. Wizardike "tool mentors" within CCMDB will also help VARs consult on and implement customer deployments along IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices, he said.

One significant improvement is that task-level automation has been taken up a notch, providing a way to automatically communicate an application change across all related databases. By doing so, CCMDB will better orchestrate large IT networks through increased awareness of application changes, said Madey.

"CCMDB is a very strong piece of the autonomic computing puzzle," said Madey. "It integrates the separate silos of IT expertise by alerting everyone involved in an application of a change."

Without CCMDB, Michael Roy, president of Blue World Information Technology, a security-centric IBM VAR in Seattle, said he has been having to "build WebSphere Business Integration hooks into Tivoli software" on his own. With CCMDB, Roy said he expects to save time and reduce complexity, with very little risk, adding "[CCMDB is] all based on proven elements, not a new gamble."

"In the past, the framework that was the basis for much of the monitoring software in Tivoli was tough to implement, but that's being replaced as well. That's another excellent improvement," said Roy.

From the customer perspective, CCMDB will improve interdepartmental communication, increase organizational productivity, extend application life spans and help keep organizations within their compliance guidelines, said Madey.

To help stage a CCMDB deployment, IBM will roll out platform implementation tools called Tivoli Process Managers, said Madey. These systems will offer modeling environments that resellers can use in consultation with customers to determine the most efficient way to structure and outfit a CCMDB setup.

"If you are going to execute a certain process, like release management, [Process Managers] say, 'Here is the process, and here are the point products you need,' " said Madey. "Then once the modeling is done, it exports the plan out of the modeler into the process choreographer in the CCMDB."

The Process Managers can act as templates for ITIL deployments, but what's more important is how much time they can save a VAR in deploying an efficient Tivoli framework, said Blue World's Roy. "IBM is unique in that they are leveraging other leading WebSphere tools, including the WebSphere Business Integration elements and Rational ClearCase, as a repository for models. The overall approach is quick to set up," he said.

"We are looking at it this way: We build solutions based on elements of several of the IBM middleware pillars: Tivoli, WebSphere, Rational, etc. If existing processes can at least be defined and then optimized, that's an excellent starting point. It's a simpler migration into the platform that Tivoli is preparing," he said.

Pricing for CCMDB will be announced when the product nears availability later this year, said Madey.

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