Tivoli joins IT, business goals

Tivoli Software Inc. last month unveiled a revamped product portfolio that the company said will help its customers more closely tie IT and business management together.

Tivoli is introducing products that will help users manage targeted aspects of their business, rather than specific components such as routers or servers.

One new software offering, IBM Tivoli Service Level Advisor, will let customers track how well a service is delivered to end users by monitoring all the components comprising the application, the company said. Service Level Advisor runs on AIX, Solaris, Linux and Windows 2000 and NT servers, and uses Tivoli – and/or a third-party vendor – agents distributed throughout a customer’s network to watch a process from user request to service delivery.

The software pulls agent data to a central management console, such as Tivoli Enterprise Console (TEC), where customers can track the response times of IBM databases, Web and application servers, and third-party devices tied to the service. TEC also got an overhaul with this release. The network management console software now integrates with Tivoli’s NetView mainframe monitoring software, making it possible for users to manage their legacy mainframe networks alongside their distributed networks.

Beta user David Hamilton said the real value Tivoli offers is in defining the processes to be monitored. As director for telecommunications and technical services for Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif., he said helping the patient care professionals in the non-profit organization define how they need the network to respond makes his job easier.

“With Service Level Advisor, I have been able to create service levels specific to specific parts of Sutter’s business,” Hamilton said. “It’s hard to tell a nurse or a doctor that despite the problems they may have had, the server was available for 99 per cent of the time. That kind of information doesn’t matter to them.”

Up and running within a day for Hamilton, Service Level Advisor collects data from every monitored device and brings it back to a central console to show him how network components are performing. Hamilton said he’s working with Tivoli to make the software integrate with more third-party tools. “Out of the gate, it manages other Tivoli products, but I’d like to be able to leverage all my tools,” Hamilton said.

Other product announcements from Tivoli include the IBM Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse, a DB2-based data repository that will be built into future Tivoli software free of charge. The idea is to let users aggregate systems and performance management information from disparate systems in one location and use that information to measure the impact of problems on specific parts of the business.

“The availability of a management metrics warehouse is what makes this version a major step forward,” said Jean-Pierre Garbani, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc.

Tivoli also unveiled its Switch Analyzer, network management software that performs autodiscovery of Layer 2 switches.

Competitors such as Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, BMC Software and Managed Objects all focus on business process management over traditional network management, analysts say.

Tivoli products are available now through IBM Passport Advantage purchasing model, and Service Level Advisor costs US$450 per processor with maintenance included for the first year.