IBM Expands Utility-Computing Offerings - InformationWeek

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IBM Expands Utility-Computing Offerings

New blade servers and management software will automate data-center processes.

IBM on Wednesday added its next piece to the utility-computing puzzle by introducing a package of blade servers and management software designed to help companies automate certain data-center processes. Web Infrastructure Orchestration combines IBM's Intel-based BladeCenter servers with its WebSphere middleware, DB2 database, and Tivoli Storage Manager software to form the foundation of technologies that companies will need to achieve complete data-center automation.

Project Symphony is IBM's name for its vision for complete data-center automation, where servers, storage, and networking equipment work in unison to adjust to changing business conditions. The company introduced Project Symphony in September when it launched Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator management software. When Web Infrastructure Orchestration begins shipping by the end of October, Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator will act as the management layer.

Companies will use Web Infrastructure Orchestration to ensure that their business technology supports their business strategy, says Tim Dougherty, VP of strategy for IBM Systems. Web servers are the first and most obvious place to use Web Infrastructure Orchestration. "Companies have historically had to build their hardware resources to the maximum they would need, but much of this peak architecture is never used," he says. To solve this problem, business-technology administrators will be able to use wizard templates from IBM Director to create a script for data-center resources to follow.

Although not many businesses are in a position to use either Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator or Web Infrastructure Orchestration, it's clear that data-center automation is the direction that most businesses will take, says Harry Fennick, president and CEO of research firm Sageza Group. "This is the way we're going to see major reductions in the cost of running data centers," he says. While major vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems probably haven't seen a lot of revenue from their Adaptive Enterprise, Project Symphony, and N1 strategies, respectively, Fennick says, "if the vendors don't start putting it out there, then it's never going to take off."

Pricing for IBM Web Infrastructure Orchestration begins at $20,000 for the base software, Dougherty says, ranging to $300,000, depending on the configuration of the BladeCenter and the licenses needed for the bundle's software components. Customers can pick and choose which components to purchase if, for instance, they prefer Oracle's database to IBM's DB2.

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