Self-Healing With IBM

    December 2, 2005

International Business Machines (IBM) announced today a new line of software products they bill as “self-healing.” The software finds and fixes problems before they slow down an online business and prevent IT systems from freezing.

The new software from IBM Tivoli can pinpoint and then reach out to solve problems, such as repairing internet logjams or bringing systems back online after a power outage. This sidesteps the time-consuming task of finding and fixing glitches that naturally occur in complicated, intertwined IT systems, allowing all kinds of businesses — from mid-sized retailers to multinational insurance companies — to safely and completely manage their online applications. Similar to how the body’s autonomic nervous system can heal a broken bone without conscious thought, IBM’s new self-healing software heads off slowdowns and service interruptions — before consumers move on to other web-based businesses in frustration, for example.

“The era of self-healing technology is here,” said Alan Ganek, chief technology officer, IBM Tivoli Software and vice president, IBM Autonomic Computing. “These new products from IBM allow companies to spot and fix IT problems automatically — and behind the scenes — so they can focus on strategic projects that are valuable to their business. We’re opening new doors to reducing the complexity of technology.”

The products included in this self-healing line include:

IBM Tivoli Monitoring — allows companies to manage online applications, such as email or bill paying systems, by proactively correcting IT service problems like “hung” applications, and fixing the problem across a company’s servers, operating systems and databases before it impacts users. The software detects the need for specific procedures — such as bringing on additional servers when capacity overload approaches, automating the way common problems are corrected. In addition, the software supplies security encryption for services across an entire enterprise, which ensures that data passing through the monitoring technology, such as passwords, are safeguarded. This self-healing software has been tested over the past seven months by nearly 100 organizations, making it the largest beta program in Tivoli history. IBM Tivoli Monitoring 6.1 is available now.

IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager — speeds up access to information on the Internet — from booking a vacation to conducting research before buying a car — by predicting and fixing bottlenecks that crop up as dozens of different systems connect under a standards-based Service Oriented Architecture, or SOA. The self-healing software can locate where problems lie, identify the specific cause, and take steps to solve the problem — all before customers are affected. IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for SOA, IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for WebSphere and IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for Response Time Tracking are available now.

Tivoli System Automation for Multiplatforms — can pinpoint the status of complex applications running on multiple platforms and operating systems — and use pre-set instructions, or policies, to automatically bring them back online if the system fails because of a power outage or other cause. For example, a bank using a complex application to transfer funds between accounts may run on a Linux system and be connected to a database on a mainframe system. IBM’s self-healing software automatically brings the entire, complex application and database environment back online if an outage occurs, saving a company from losing business and customer data. Previously, an IT staff would need to find where the outage occurred and manually restart the application or database to resume operations. Tivoli System Automation is available now.

This could be a potential boon in a lot of areas of IT. One can only assume IBM will expand this out further. A lot of businesses could certainly benefit from this type of software and many will. Many suggest the next step is thinking machines instead of just the software. With this development, it seems as if it’s only a matter of time.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.