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Systems Management Vendors Add Features To IT Toolbox

As more IT departments move away from the "one app, one server" approach to data center infrastructure, systems management vendors are beefing up their offerings to give administrators better insight into how their servers and storage devices are operating and the ability to automate more processes.

BMC Software last week introduced a data center optimization package that's designed to reduce server sprawl by automating some of the steps in server consolidation and virtualization projects, such as tracking utilization rates on each server, recommending which are the best candidates for consolidation, and moving applications to the appropriate virtual servers. "Data centers are the most expensive real estate square footage in any organization," says Andrej Vlahcevic, senior product marketing manager at BMC. "Building out a new data center to add capacity is an expensive proposition."

The software bundles a number of existing and new BMC products to let IT departments automate many of their manual processes. It includes workflows based on the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a set of best practices for managing IT resources, and for the first time, it has ITIL-based extensions for virtualization management and optimization. BMC Discovery can now find VMware virtual machines and their configurations; BMC Performance Assurance has been enhanced to provide performance analysis and predictive modeling for virtual machines.

IBM in May introduced its Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database and three types of Tivoli Process Manager software designed to automate IT processes across multiplatform environments, including managing storage devices, addressing IT failures, and deploying new software releases and patches.

IBM last month contributed software code to the Apache Open Source Foundation for adoption in Web Services Distributed Management interfaces that are designed to let systems intuitively detect when applications and transactions aren't running properly and automatically fix the problems. WSDM is supposed to help in the building of management applications with Web services, which should make it easier for managers to access resources across and between various components in the enterprise. "The technologies we need to start building self-managing systems are not some long-term vision," says Ric Telford, VP of autonomic computing for IBM. "It is very real today, and people are already starting down this path."

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