IBM's Tivoli Tightens Its Laces

Promises better integration of storage software in Q2, but full EMC support is still pending

March 28, 2003

4 Min Read
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IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is promising to better integrate the pieces of its Tivoli storage management suite -- and make them more intelligent and "self-managing" -- in product releases slated for the second quarter of 2003.

The new lineup includes upgrades to Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) backup and restore software; Tivoli SAN Manager; and Tivoli Storage Resource Management (TSRM), which IBM picked up from its acquisition of startup TrelliSoft last year (see IBM Snaps Up TrelliSoft).

Broadly speaking, the Tivoli storage software will become more integrated members of the group's systems management platform. The storage software apps will be able to feed various parameters, such as capacity, performance, and availability information, into the common Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse using XML-formatted data. In addition, its SRM and SAN Manager will send event information to the Tivoli Enterprise Console (TEC) to better correlate the root causes of problems.

"Storage needs to be part of the overall systems management solution," says Michael McCarthy, director of market management for Tivoli's storage unit. He notes that the company's internal research revealed that 18 percent of enterprise users have a dedicated storage management team.

Tivoli also expects to demonstrate progress on turning storage management standards into a reality. TSRM will support the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)'s Storage Management Interface Specification, based on the Common Information Model (CIM). That will allow the software to use CIM to provision and monitor IBM Enterprise Storage Server (a.k.a. Shark) arrays, which now support native CIM interfaces (see IBM's Shark Gets Bluefin, The Common Code, HDS Chants CIM Song, and Standards: Needed 'Em Yesterday).However, don't expect Tivoli's storage software to be able to manage EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) storage arrays with much granularity anytime soon. At present, Tivoli SAN Manager and TSRM are only able to tap into EMC's arrays via host-based SCSI calls.

Interestingly, TrelliSoft had already completed work in writing its SRM app to EMC's APIs -- but after IBM bought the startup, Tivoli is having to renegotiate access to the EMC APIs, according to Greg Tevis, senior software engineer at Tivoli. Tevis says discussions between IBM and EMC about providing greater functionality are "ongoing," declining to comment further (see EMC 'Wishes' for IBM).

API swaps have been a hot-button issue in the industry. Vendors including IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) are philosophically opposed to API exchanges, preferring to move directly to the SNIA standards. Others, including EMC and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), argue that APIs are necessary in the near term to provide full support for other vendors' systems (see HP Makes API Triple Play, HP, Hitachi Trade APIs, EMC, HP Catch Each Other's Codes, HDS: EMC Scuttled API Swap, and IBM, Hitachi SAN Compatible).

In the latest of such deals, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) earlier this month agreed to exchange certain proprietary information as part of the settlement of their patent dispute (see EMC and Hitachi Bury Hatchet).

IBM's Tivoli group is stepping up its focus on storage software after one of its traditional competitors in the enterprise management space, BMC Software Inc. (NYSE: BMC), abruptly downshifted. Last month, BMC decided to discontinue its Patrol Storage Manager and laid off a portion of the staff responsible for developing it. Meanwhile, another of Tivoli's rivals, Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), has been steadily ratcheting up its attention to storage (see CA Nets Netreon, CA Spans Into SANs, BMC Folds Storage Unit, and BMC Lops Heads).Here are some of the main features of the new versions of Tivoli software:

Tivoli Storage Manager 5.2

  • Provides "bare-metal restore" for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

  • Supports new devices and applications, including IBM WebSphere

Tivoli Storage Resource Manager 1.2

  • Can automatically provision storage as necessary to prevent file systems from running out of space

  • Desktop agent allows administrators to enforce SRM rules on clients or allow users to self-manage their storage

Tivoli SAN Manager 1.2

  • Supports new devices, including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) MDS 9000 Fibre Channel switches, and Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) and SuSE Inc. Linux

  • Available for IBM AIX

  • Improves discovery procedures, speeding up installation "from a couple of days to a couple of hours," according to Tevis.

IBM plans to outline the enhanced storage lineup at its DeveloperWorks Live conference next month in New Orleans.Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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