UPDATE: IBM releases autonomic blueprint

IBM has announced a blueprint to assist customers in their pursuit to design and build autonomic computing environments.

The blueprint includes a method for assembling technologies from different suppliers while endorsing an open process for automating the management of information systems, Big Blue said. It initiates the process of developing a common approach for architecting autonomic computing systems. Also, it outlines structured control loops to monitor, analyze and react to changes within the IT environment. The loops collect data from the system, make decisions and adjust the system as needed, the company said.

Launched last year, autonomic computing has been described as a scenario where systems are self-managing, self-optimizing and reduce overall operational expenses. Several of IBM’s products, including DB2 and WebSphere, already ship with load balancing and healing capabilities; a configuration advisor was also introduced in DB2 last October. All of these are considered core aspects of autonomic computing.

The blueprint represents a significant step in IBMs strategy in designing systems, according to one spokesperson.

“This blueprint is about how you build autonomic functions into your products and how you build autonomic managers that can manage the whole environment and have this work across the industry,” said Miles Barel, program director for autonomic computing marketing at IBM in Hawthorne, N.Y. He added that a white paper is set to be released that will delve deeper into the architecture and core technologies the company will provide to the developer community.

In addition to announcing the blueprint, the company is engaging developers with four technologies to help in building autonomic systems. The first is a log and trace tool for problem determination that will assist in the manual task of tracking down the cause of a system problem. The agent building and learning environment (ABLE) rules engine for complex analysis minimizes the need for developing complex algorithms required for autonomic behaviour. Thirdly, monitoring engine technology is designed to detect resource outages and potential problems before it can impact system performance or the end user experience. And lastly, business workload management for heterogeneous environments, which uses the application resource measurement (ARM) standard, is designed to identify the causes of bottlenecks in the system through response time measurement and the reporting of transaction processing segments.

As Barel noted, the technologies announced are aimed at developers for use to build their autonomic architecture strategy.

IBM said the blueprint is available free of charge. The company’s Canadian Web site is at www.ibm.ca.

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