IBM Corp. gave users an early look at its Tivoli System z9 systems management software Tuesday. The software is due to ship in the fourth quarter of this year, according to an IBM executive.

“We’re stepping up to a whole new level of integration,” said Al Zollar, general manager of Tivoli Software at IBM, in an interview at the Share user group conference taking place in Boston through Friday.

The intention of Tivoli System z9 is to provide users with “an end-to-end view” of their systems from their zSeries mainframes to their distributed platforms built around the Tivoli Enterprise Portal, he added.

IBM’s major systems management software competitors — BMC Software Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. — tend to either ignore or isolate the mainframe in their rival products, Zollar said.

“It’s a major shortcoming of our competitors,” he said. “They create an artificial wall between zSeries and distributed systems.”

Of course, IBM has a vested interest in embracing mainframes since it also sells big iron. Big Blue unveiled its latest mainframe, the System z9, in late July.

Tivoli System z9 will include technology IBM acquired from the purchases of asset management software vendor Isogon Corp. in June of this year and of Cyanea Systems Corp., a specialist in application management, last June, according to Zollar. IBM has already combined technology gained from its April 2004 acquisition of management software vendor Candle Corp. into its Tivoli Omegamon XE tools suite, which appeared in March of this year.

“We tend to acquire companies with which we have an existing relationship,” Zollar said. Prior to the purchases, IBM had an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deal with Cyanea and a reseller agreement with Isogon, he noted. “We build relationships [with our partners] so we really understand the technology,” he said. “We tend to integrate the products first.” Should IBM later acquire a partner, having such integration already in place means it can swiftly integrate a partner’s technology into its software, according to Zollar.

IBM is keeping a wary eye on EMC Corp., Zollar said. Earlier this month, EMC announced plans to extend its management software with an upcoming product called Storage Insight based on technology from its acquisition of network management specialist Smarts.

“I fully anticipate that EMC will try to position itself as a full management provider,” Zollar said. He added that the storage giant isn’t describing itself in that way yet because “it has so many holes in its product lineup.”



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