IBM to launch autonomic computing toolkit

IBM Corp. launched an Autonomic Computing Toolkit on Monday, to help developers build self-healing computer systems.

Based on the Eclipse open source framework, IBM’s autonomic toolkit will work with the IBM Software Development Platform, and is designed to help developers add autonomic elements to their applications, IBM said in a statement.

The toolkit contains embeddable components, tools, usage scenarios and documentation, IBM said.

The components cover four core areas. The Autonomic Management Engine monitors the application, identifies any problems and decides what should be done to correct them, while the Integrated Solutions Console allows a company’s IT administration to be monitored and run centrally, over a Web-based infrastructure.

The Solution Installation and deployment technologies are core to autonomic computing, spotting interdependencies between applications to reduce installation and configuration problems, IBM said.

The fourth component group, Problem Determination technologies, includes a Common Base Event format to standardize the exchange of data on problems, a Generic Log Adaptor that converts existing files to the Common Base Event format, and a Log and Trace Analyzer that reads the logs in the Common Base Event format, correlates the results and displays the records. This speeds up analysis of the root cause of problems, IBM said.

IDC analyst Chris Ingle said Monday that autonomic computing is an important part of IBM’s On Demand computing strategy. However, while developers are likely to download and try the toolkit, it’s very early days for the technology. “People are very interested in it, but it’s not being built into systems just yet,” he said.

Management technology has generally been added to applications as an afterthought, and it will certainly make code easier to manage if it is built in during development, he said. “But it’s all at a fairly early stage, it’s very advanced technology,” Ingle said.

There is, as yet, no standard for self-healing technology, as the area is still developing, and this means that companies like IBM and Microsoft Corp. are developing in very different directions, Ingle said. Microsoft aims to develop self-healing, autonomic computing under its Visual Studio product line but, “There needs to be some unification, as everyone’s releasing different things. There are groups trying to establish standards, but it’s what gets deployed first that becomes the standard,” he said.

The toolkit, which supports IBM AIX, Linux on Intel systems and Windows 2000 platforms, also includes online tutorials and user guides to help developers. The toolkit is available from the company’s Web site. Upgraded versions will be released throughout the year, IBM said.

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