October 6, 2006
EMC has released Smarts Application Discovery Manager (ADM) 5.0. The new data center management solution allows enterprises to view network and storage resources in the context of distributed business applications using model-based resource management. According to EMC, the software can quickly pinpoint the impact of infrastructure incidents and configuration changes on business service availability. Smarts ADM 5.0ís real-time dependency catalog minimizes change-induced service outages, degradations, and failure, as enterprises can detect, log, and report on software and hardware configuration changes and compare them on a server-to-server basis. The software also has an embedded, real-time Configuration Management Database (CMDB) that allows IT managers to accurately manage the impact of changes and infrastructure incidents across multiple data centers. The software also extends EMCís discovery and mapping capabilities by adding reconciliation, federation, analytics, and new dashboards. EMC believes that the new release includes all the underlying components needed to automate the population and maintenance of a CMDB. The new release incorporates technology from the nLayers acquisition three months ago and allows EMC to leverage the Smarts capabilities into the applications domain.
For EMC, Smarts ADM 5.0 is a key component of its resource management portfolio. EMC designs these products to monitor, report, and provision information infrastructure. For large enterprises, proactive decisions mean having information to make the right decisions in configuration change or provisioning. Understanding the effects of proposed changes means there is less negative impact to IT infrastructure and theoretically better performance and resource utilization which should save money and make IT more efficient. The challenge, of course, is that all of these bits in the data center are interdependent, which means that a change to entity A on the network could have ramifications on entities B and C that werenít readily apparent. One of the ways to manage this data is the CMDB. The goal of a CMDB is to bring various data sources into a federated system which then provides an accurate picture of whatís happening. The ability to automatically discover and track changes differentiates CMDB from other management tools that cannot update automatically. The ability to map and reconcile changes is also an important function of CMDB.
What makes this product special for EMC is its focus on applications and components, including packaged enterprise apps, documented and active dependencies, intraserver relationships, and multiple instances of installed application server and database apps. EMC has purchased several companies in the last eighteen to twenty-four months that have been outside the mainstream storage DNA on which they built the company. While some products might not seem obvious fits at first glance, the resulting products, such as these, demonstrate that there is method to EMCís madness if you will: the company knows what it needs, and itís going to buy it if it can integrate it rather than lose time-to-market in building. There is a lot of fragmentation in the management market, as there are still many specialized vendors. The larger players will continue to purchase the best of these small players and incorporate them into end-to-end portfolios that have richer content. EMC is building its credibility in this space as it expands its coverage of information management, but the products it is launching reveal that EMC means to be a key vendor and strategic partner. Itís a long road, especially as it will need to continue to boost its services heavilyócustomers need help with implementing these types of productsóbut if EMC can scale its services and the capabilities its partners offer, then it has a shot at being one of the key players.
IBM has announced that it has acquired the Dorana product line and associated assets of Ubiquity Pty Limited. Ubiquity is a privately held software developer and distributor based in Melbourne, Australia that specializes in supplying systems management solutions for the MVS, UNIX, and MS platforms; the company is a long standing IBM business partner. Dorana is a tool that supplies capabilities in the areas of z/OS and UNIX Software asset identification and monitoring. In effect Dorana scans z/OS and UNIX platforms to identify all software, and its version levels, installed. Furthermore the tool monitors and delivers reports on the usage of identified software. As is now common in such deals, the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Two members of the Dorana development team and one salesperson will join IBM as part of the acquisition. IBM has stated that it plans to integrate the Dorana technology into its Tivoli License Compliance Manager (TLCM) for z/OS.
Another week, another acquisition. In particular IBM sees this acquisition as strengthening its ability to supply its mainframe customers with solutions that will allow them to operate their mainframe systems more closely in line with business demands. Mainframe systems are typically the most effectively and efficiently managed platforms in any organization and it is essential that accurate information be available on the actual usage of software in order to ensure that spending reflects business requirements. Dorana will also help organizations address the mundane but essential need to be able to demonstrate that they operate their mainframe applications in accordance with the license conditions of their software suppliers. The software can also help ensure that license costs are rationalized by identifying unused software.
While the Dorana acquisition of itself is not large, the addition of the Dorana technology will strengthen IBMís software asset management capabilities on the mainframe. It highlights that this is an area in which the company has made considerable investments over the last eighteen months. The addition of Dorana to IBM should enhance its IT Service Management capabilities on the mainframe, a move that is mirrored by the continuing development of IT Service Management across the Tivoli portfolio. IT Service Management is, without doubt, the way in which systems management must develop as it addresses not only the need to ensure that essential business services are available when required but that such services are delivered cost effectively.
This acquisition demonstrates, yet again, that the IBM sees the mainframe, now known as System z, as a platform in which it will continue to invest considerable resources and financial muscle. The goal of this concentration and effort is not only to maintain its well established user base but to also encourage new workloads and customers onto the platform. The Mainframe is, without doubt, a business platform for today and tomorrow.
Dell has recently instituted the policy it announced was coming in June: that of free home pickup of any used Dell computer or peripheral. This program does not force people to buy new Dell products prior to pickup, unlike some other manufacturerís recycling programs. Another aspect of Dellís program is that if the customer selects the recycling option at the time of purchase of a Dell product, Dell will recycle the customerís old PC and monitor at no cost. This is even if the old equipment is not a Dell product.
Recycling your computer responsibly is a great idea, especially if the vehicle coming to pick up your returns is a hybrid rather than a Hummer. With the EU and North America both making real efforts to become more environmentally responsible, the rest of the world will most likely follow their lead. In fact, the EU has already enacted legislation that is making all suppliers, not just IT vendors, responsible for taking back their equipment without charge at the end of its working life. This is good news. The bad news is the temporary economic cost to the individual companies that are being made to foot the bill to recycle their own products. However, a slight individual increase in cost for recycling is overall a much lesser evil than, say, dumping millions of tons of toxic waste into third-world countries. Lack of demand for dump space may hurt those developing countries temporarily, but with help from the industrialized countries to develop sustainable economic options, they should pull through.
Competitively, HP has also instituted a hardware recycling program, but there is a variable charge to the consumer dependent upon the country where pickup is happening. However, HP will also arrive at the customerís home or office for the pickup rather than make the customer travel to a centralized recycling location. A recent environmental ranking from Greenpeace placed Dell as the top environmentally friendly computer company, with Apple and Lenovo at the bottom of the list. Lenovo is, of course, disputing the ranking. Since Lenovo deals with companies more often than individual consumers, they claim that not all of the facts about their environmental policies are published.
The IT industry is mostly a product of the 1970s, when society as a whole started becoming aware of environmental issues, and thus hasófor the most partóalways had an environmentally responsible attitude. That attitude has been ramped up recently by a combination of consumer demand and legislative actions, which are most likely also driven by consumer demand. The reason Lenovo is fighting the Greenpeace ranking is that consumers donít just want a good product any longer. They want a good product that isnít going to harm the environment, and of course their pocketbooks determine the directions companies expand. The youngest generation of consumers, especially, seems to be concerned with environmental impact almost more than processor speeds, and this will be manifest in the offerings by companies in years to come.