With IT staffs drowning in data and system maintenance tasks, IBM hopes that new autonomic technologies it previewed at San Jose's IBM Almaden Research Center this October will help dam the flood.
Big Blue's new Autonomic Computing Organization is working on technologies that will reduce the human costs of running complex computing and storage systems.
"IT staffs are overwhelmed," working at 110% of capacity, says Jose Iglesias, IBM's director of Tivoli Storage Products. Meanwhile, storage management expenses are six times that of hardware costs, Iglesias says.
By creating autonomic computing systems that are self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting, IBM promises to reduce those storage management costs.
Storage Tank will be a cornerstone of IBM's autonomic offerings. Slated for release in 2003, Storage Tank virtualizes storage with an installable file system that simultaneously supports multiple operating systems. Storage Tank technology will provide SAN-wide virtualization as well as policy-based placement of files in storage pools.
Centralized allocation and control will streamline management of storage resources and reduce planned downtime, according to Bruce Hillsberg, IBM Storage Systems Group director of storage software strategy and technology. "Eighty percent of the cost of managing storage can be attributed to downtime," he says.
Managing Storage Tank will be as easy as running a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance, Hillsberg says. "It's the SAN-man's NAS," he adds.
IBM will also be adding autonomic capabilities to WebSphere Application Server, Tivoli management software, and storage hardware. IBM has already announced autonomic configuration features for its Enterprise Storage Server and disk, tape and storage networking products. Further down the road is the IceCube System, stacking storage and computing devices without connectors, fans, cables or fibers.