IBM positions mainframes for SOA

IBM positions mainframes for SOA

IBM at the SHARE conference on Tuesday previewed Tivoli management software for its System z mainframes that is intended to boost the platform's standing in SOA and Internet computing.

Four upgraded products set to ship in fourth quarter 2006 are featured in IBM's plan. The software, according to IBM, helps users handle new workloads and diverse computing environments while providing a secure management foundation for SOA.

With SOA helping customers turn mainframe applications into a collection of reusable business services, mainframe workloads and resources must be managed to simplify integration and lower costs, IBM said.

IBM's Peter Marshall, manager of market strategy for Tivoli, said the products make life easier for customers doing SOA implementations on System z.

"You've got to put all your applications into a SOA and open it up potentially to multiple applications, to clients, to business partners, to end-users," Marshall said. "You've got to have the [IT] management people be able to secure the application, diagnose it at the application level and track that down to the infrastructure at the back end."

Mainframes have changed from providing mainstay business applications to being a hub for Internet-based services such as order processing and customer service, according to IBM. To accommodate the shift in mainframe usage, IBM is introducing the following products:

-- Tivoli Federated Identity Manager for z/OS Version 6.1, adding federated identity management to mainframe environments. Businesses can collaborate securely by managing identities and resources spanning multiple companies and trading partners. Also, network traffic is secured across firewalls;

-- Tivoli Composite Application Manager Version 6.1, enabling diagnosis of IT problems without having to switch between management tools. Problems are detected within composite applications. Tracing of applications is improved in this version;

-- Tivoli Workload Scheduler Version 8.3, allowing batch workloads to run across SOA-enabled mainframe, distributed and grid computing environments. Batch workloads are sent to available servers and networks without manual intervention;

-- Tivoli Omegamon XE Version 4.1, based on Candle technology, can diagnose IT problems across applications, middleware and systems that are not yet SOA-enabled. A detailed analysis is provided on different operating systems, databases, storage, networks and infrastructure software. Connectivity to systems such as CICS transaction gateways is featured, as is Dynamic Workspace Linking, to link between different Omegamon products.

The use of mainframes has changed in recent years, moving away from being a large transaction engine to supporting SOA, said analyst Joe Clabby, president of Clabby Analytics. "What IBM has done is it's created an environment where you can run multiple Java virtual machines" over virtualized infrastructure, using mainframes.

IBM's new Workload Scheduler, Omegamon and Composite Application Manager products should help reduce IT administrative expenses, Clabby said.

The Tivoli software is integrated with the IBM Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, which allows for information-sharing. Offerings incorporate guidance from ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), which provides a set of best practices in system management.

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