IBM simplifies IT systems management
IBM is pioneering a strategy to make IT systems less complex and less costly to manage, with new autonomic technology that makes systems 'self-managing'.
The move is part of an industry-wide plan to simplify the management of such IT systems, freeing up companies to concentrate on their core business and helping them manage costs better.
"Autonomic computing is an industry-wide initiative that IBM has been leading," explained David Bartlett, VP, IBM autonomic computing, speaking with ENN. "It is aimed at making technology more self-managing and less complex."
Self-managing environments help businesses run smoothly by automatically detecting when systems, transactions or business processes aren't operating as they should; the system can then begin corrective action, without the need for IT staff to get involved at every step of the way, or hindering system availability.
There has been much interest in the concept of autonomic technology of late, Bartlett explained. "As we've moved from host-based systems to distributive systems, single companies to global industries, the complexity of IT systems has become one of the biggest challenges facing us," he said.
Bartlett outlined four different initiatives being used by IBM to develop autonomic computing further. These include developing architecture that embraces IBM and other technologies, drawing up a set of new standards for these new technologies, developing technologies that drive the concept end to end, and finally, driving these technologies into IBM's products and other vendors.
There are compelling reasons for introducing and developing these autonomic systems. According to research firm Gartner, between 60 percent and 80 percent of the average company's IT budget is spent on maintaining existing applications -- an expensive undertaking. Meanwhile IDC claimed total worldwide spending on IT labour was expected to reach USD416 billion in 2005, and grow further to USD497 billion by 2008.
IBM is currently taking part in a major international conference on autonomic computing, the International Conference on Autonomic Computing (ICAC), which is taking place in University College Dublin (UCD) until Friday. The objective of the conference is to bring together researchers in the field of autonomic computing in a bid to push the concept of large-scale self-managing systems closer to fruition.
IBM is one of the conference's major sponsors, along with Intel, while other firms such as BT, H-P, Microsoft and Fujitsu are also backing the conference.
Bartlett pointed out that such support shows the industry endorsement of the concept -- particularly by companies who are more often found in competition with each other.
A number of universities have also got involved with the conference, including educational institutions from Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US.