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IBM Touts Missing Link To Utility Computing And Shared IT Resources

It's hard to implement shared IT resources or a utility computing environment if you can't accurately measure usage and bill the proper people or departments accordingly. IBM says it has solved that problem with the introduction Thursday of Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager, which it describes as the missing link necessary to tie IT infrastructure management to actual business usage.

The software will provide business, as well as third-party service providers and outsourcers, the ability to bill internal departments and individual clients for specific amounts of computing resources consumed. The software was previously offered by CIMS Labs Inc., which was acquired by IBM in January. CIMS has about 170 customers.

"Our customers are moving into a virtualized world and moving away from a world where an asset was owned by particular applications or was dedicated to a particular application," says Kevin Leahy, director of virtualization strategy for IBM. "This is about linking virtualization to the business by providing an ability to line up IT with usage and consumption of resources."

The Usage and Accounting Manager provides a Web-based interface that meters and bills technology use, allowing users to measure their virtual server, storage, network, software, middleware, and e-mail consumption by company, department, or individual. It then allows for billing of that usage to either outsourcing clients or to individual departments inside a company.

The software is available through IBM or IBM partners for use on x86-based servers or mainframes. It will be available for IBM's System p server late this year. Pricing for the Usage and Accounting Manager begins at $599 per server for x86 servers, and $75,000 for mainframe customers.