Tivoli reintroduces its management software

Tivoli Software Inc. this week revamped its product portfolio to help customers more closely tie IT and business management together and to make the products faster to deploy and easier to use.

Under the moniker of “business impact management,” Tivoli introduced a few software products and rewrote several existing products to include IBM Corp.’s WebSphere application server and DB2 database management technologies.

Tivoli says these underlying technologies will help companies looking to deploy Web services. Jean-Pierre Garbani, a senior analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., says tying management to WebSphere’s application platform and DB2’s data warehouse gives users of Tivoli more options with their management software.

“The availability of a management metrics warehouse is what makes this version a major step forward,” Garbani says. He says the database now available for free with Tivoli software will let users pull data from sources other than Tivoli, aggregate historical information and perform statistical functions, such as service-level reporting and capacity planning.

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

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

Service Level Advisor beta-user David Hamilton says 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, he says helping the patient care professionals in the nonprofit 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 says. “It’s hard to tell a nurse or a doctor that despite the problems they may have had, the server was available for 99 percent 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 says 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 says.

Other new product announcements from Tivoli include the IBM Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse, a large data repository built into all Tivoli software free of charge, and IBM Tivoli Switch Analyzer, network management software that performs auto-discovery of Layer 2 switches.

Giga’s Garbani says Tivoli is following the trend of competitors Computer Associates International Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and BMC Software Inc., all of which in the past year have tried to “streamline” their product suites and offer customers easier deployment and better integration.

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

For a full listing of the products enhanced in this release, see Tivoli’s Web site.