IBM Adds Problem Resolution Toolkit In Drive For Self-Healing IT Systems - InformationWeek

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9/18/2006
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IBM Adds Problem Resolution Toolkit In Drive For Self-Healing IT Systems

The toolkit helps developers build a database of common problems and their solutions.

IBM added another piece to its autonomic computing platform on Monday, introducing software and support to help developers write applications with the ability to self-determine problems.

The Build To Manage Toolkit for Problem Determination provides tools, tutorials, and support and will be included in IBM software including the Tivoli, WebSphere, and Rational portfolios. There's also a free download on IBM's DeveloperWorks Web site.

The software is based on a standard submitted by IBM to the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) board called the common base event, now known as the Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) event format.

"We're making it easier to gather the data so that the operations team can do analysis and determine root causes of problems," says Ric Telford, VP of autonomic computing at IBM. "We enable the gathering of information in a common way and do the triage that enables some of the labor involved in the analysis of problems to be taken away from the human operator."

The IBM problem determination toolkit lets developers build a database of known problems and problem symptoms that's captured in the WSDM format. That should help enable the automatic analysis and resolution of common problems. Developers can then create "symptom catalogs" of known problems and resolutions. Ideally, developers would also share the catalogs with OASIS to be included in forming the WSDM industry standard.

"It's really a simple concept that can be powerful in bridging the world between a developer's knowledge--those who have the most knowledge about the specific applications--and the operations team that needs to deploy the application," Telford says.

IBM launched its autonomic computing initiative in 2001. Telford says an expansive autonomic capability remains a long-term goal, but the WSDM toolkit provides another building block in constructing a method for accurately identifying problems and suggesting remedial actions for resolution.

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