Later this year, IBM plans to release the Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB), a repository for templates used to help integrate the company's middleware products.
CCMDB will advance IBM's autonomic computing efforts by providing tighter integration between Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere and DB2 software, said Bob Madey, vice president of strategic marketing management at Tivoli, Austin, Texas. CCMDB also includes wizard-like "tool mentors" designed to help VARs consult and implement customer deployments along IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices, he said.
CCMDB stands to take task-level automation up a notch by providing a way to automatically communicate an application change across all related databases, which will improve the orchestration of large IT networks by increasing the awareness of application changes, Madey said.
"CCMDB is a very strong piece of the autonomic computing puzzle," he said. "It integrates the separate silos of IT expertise by alerting everyone involved in an application of a change."
Michael Roy, president of Blue World Information Technology, a security-centric IBM solution provider in Seattle, said he and his team have had to build WebSphere Business Integration hooks into Tivoli software on their own. But CCMDB will simplify and speed that task, he said.
"In the past, the framework that was the basis for much of the monitoring software in Tivoli was tough to implement, but that's being replaced as well. That's another excellent improvement," Roy said.
From the customer perspective, CCMDB is expected to improve interdepartmental communication and, in turn, increase organizational productivity, extend application life spans and help keep organizations within compliance guidelines, according to Madey.
To facilitate CCMDB deployments, IBM plans to roll out implementation tools called Tivoli Process Managers, Madey said. The tools will provide modeling environments that solution providers can use in consultation with customers to determine the most efficient way to structure and outfit a CCMDB setup.
"If you are going to execute a certain process, like release management, [Process Managers] say, 'Here is the process, and here are the point products you need,' " Madey said. "Then once the modeling is done, it exports the plan out of the modeler into the process choreographer in the CCMDB." The Process Managers also can be customized to optimize networks supporting vertical industries such as health care and retail, he added.
Blue World's Roy said the Process Managers can act almost as templates for ITIL deployments, but what's more important is how much time they can save a VAR in deploying an efficient Tivoli framework. "IBM is unique in that they are leveraging other leading WebSphere tools, including the WebSphere Business Integration elements and Rational ClearCase, as a repository for models. The overall approach is quick to set up and is proven in many other fields. What better way to automate IT processes," he said.
A related online support tool for CCMDB, called IBM Tivoli Unified Process, is already available, Madey said. Unified Process serves as a navigational tool for customizing and implementing best practices for IT processes. It can be found on the IBM Web site.
"We are looking at it this way," Roy said. "We build solutions based on elements of several of the IBM middleware pillars: Tivoli, WebSphere, Rational, etc. If existing processes can at least be defined and then optimized, that's an excellent starting point. It's a simpler migration into the platform that Tivoli is preparing."
Pricing for CCMDB will be announced when the product nears availability, Madey said.