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Tivoli management suites...
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This article is taken from the March 2000 edition of NEWS/400.uk.

Eric Doyle continues his tour of Tivoli's product portfolio for the AS/400.

Tivoli's management framework was originally launched to anticipate and solve the problems associated with the management of large enterprise IT systems. Consequently the predecessor of Tivoli Enterprise, Tivoli Management Environment (TME10), was a cornucopia of tools and objects that could be interconnected across a network containing thousands of servers and workstations. This was an exciting prospect for the massive IT departments required to fight the technological flash fires that inevitably sprang up within such complex infrastructures. But the small to medium-sized companies gazed upon TME10 with uncomprehending awe.

There was a large untapped market keen to implement Tivoli but lacking the funds, manpower and skills required. In addressing this market opportunity, the company had to find a way to package its products to provide solutions to commonly posed problems. One route has been IT Director but this only caters for relatively small networks which primarily comprise Windows-based systems. Between these small-to-medium-sized enterprises and the corporates was another type of company that was too large for IT Director's limit of 1,500 managed nodes but not large enough to handle the raw technology of Tivoli Enterprise. The solution to this was to pre-package the products into suite solutions that could be quickly and easily implemented by trained Team Tivoli Resellers.
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The Tivoli management suites
Application Management
Application availability assurance and deployment from a central location.

Change Management
Analyse, instigate and troubleshoot changes throughout the network.

Operations Management
Specify and automate scheduling, backup and recovery.

Problem Management
Anticipate, detect and resolve problems through automated event monitoring and correction.

Security Management
Protect and secure your IT assets and facilitate simple logons for users.

IT Readiness Management
It's arguably too late now but this prevents a user from downloading Y2K non-compliant software.

Purchasing power

To make it suitable for effective shrink-wrapping, there was a need to provide new toolsets for the management suites to ease the implementational complexities and complete the service provision. In preparation for the development of the suites, which became available in June of last year, Tivoli went on a spending spree to secure the required products. In 1997, the company acquired Oracle's share of a joint venture company, DBMX. This company was responsible for developing the TME10 Database Management family - a series of products which presaged Tivoli's move from an enterprise management tool company into its newly professed position as a solution provider.

More recently, Software Artistry was purchased for its Expertise Suite of products that now form the Tivoli Service Management solution, and the company then acquired Unison for its Maestro job scheduling and print queue management tool, now re-badged as Tivoli Maestro. IBM has also contributed to the broadening of the Tivoli offering by handing over responsibility for the ADSM (ADSTAR Distributed Storage Management) back-up and recovery system. By combining these with existing products and services, Tivoli has produced a six-pack collection called the Tivoli Management Suites. These handle specific tasks relating to software management, tracking changes across a network, task scheduling, automated event detection and correction, and securing IT assets. The final collection, the IT Readiness Management Suite, had little to offer the AS/400 and has even less relevance now because it was designed to detect and manage Y2K problems.

As an introduction to Tivoli Enterprise these are far better than IT Director which has a different code-base and cannot be easily integrated with or converted to the Enterprise edition. Because the Management Suites are built from actual Enterprise modules, they can be combined with one another or have different modules added to manage specific processes until a complete end-to-end management environment has been developed. In fact, because the suites are sold as complete solutions they often have several modules in common with one another so sometimes adding one suite to another only means adding a module or two rather than buying the whole package.

Welcome the AS/400

Sadly, one feature that is in common with IT Director is that the AS/400 is only supported as a managed client, or endpoint in Tivoli-speak. Over the next few months, this is going to change quite radically as the company expands its AS/400 support to allow it to become an active member of the environment, rather than its current passive role. This will have a marked effect on the features that can be supported. For example, within the Application Management Suite there is the potential for distributing software to any number of workstations or servers but this is not yet possible using the AS/400 which would be an ideal platform for supporting this kind of batch operation. When the new features are added this year, it will be possible to do this on the AS/400 but there will always be some of the features that cannot be supported. One of these is the ability to remote control any workstation or server from a central point. According to Tivoli, there are insurmountable problems of doing this either from or to the AS/400.

Bearing in mind that there are limitations, it's time to take a look at the suites and what they aim to do.

Ensuring that applications are available and working correctly is one of the key problems in a distributed environment. The Application Management Suite is tailored to make an inventory of all the hardware and software within the distributed environment. As mentioned above, there is the ability to remotely install software and patches but this is just the start. The system can also monitor key applications for availability and response and, if a problem occurs, take corrective action or issue alarms.

The core of the suite is its inventory because the system cannot manage what it cannot see. This is best seen within the application deployment feature. Before software is deployed the administrator has to be sure that it will go to machines that have the correct processor, memory and operating system configurations. This can be checked from the inventory by setting the minimum requirements and generating a list of those systems that meet or exceed the parameters.For the AS/400 this is still something to look forward to but the ability to monitor and automate recovery actions is currently supported.

Tracking changes

The Change Management Suite, which is a helpdesk keystone, shows how the modules are re-used because it is also based on the inventory compiler and software distribution tools. The suite centralises the ability to analyse changes throughout the network and allows each network node to have its own problem history records. The information can include simple fixes that the users can implement without having to bother the helpdesk personnel. Unfortunately, the AS/400 is not supported, as yet.

By combining its Workload Scheduler and Storage Manager modules, Tivoli has produced the Operations Management Suite. This allows tasks such as storage backup, archiving and other repetitive tasks to be scheduled and managed. The administrator can predefine which kinds of files need to be backed up, whether a workstation should be fully or incrementally backed up, and when files should be archived and for how long they should be kept. If any process fails, the scheduler will automatically execute specified recovery procedures to ensure the data is protected and, given suitable hardware is available, it can initiate a disaster recovery workstation or server restoration. It can also be set to detect downtime or low-usage periods on the AS/400 so that housekeeping tasks can be executed. This is currently the best of the suites for the AS/400, though only as a client and not as the main console. It also offers support for DB2. The administration console would have to be hosted on a system running IBM AIX, Windows NT, Sun Solaris, Hewlett Packard HP-UX or OS/2.

The Problem Management Suite uses information from the agent objects stored on every supported node on the network to monitor the health of the system. Threshold levels can be set for a wide range of devices, including printers, systems resources, files, databases, disks, and SNMP-compliant network devices and user-defined scripts can be written for situations where no predesigned monitor exists. When a threshold is crossed, corrective procedures are set in motion. This could be an automated response or, when such an action is inappropriate, a physical alarm can be triggered, or a message may be sent to a responsible staff member. Unanswered alarms can be escalated to higher levels of urgency until action is taken.

In a multiserver environment, security issues can become a nightmarish tangle of security requirements and disparate vendor policies. The Security Management Suite resolves the variations between these different security models. It also has a user administration module that allows security details, such as passwords and access rights of each user to be stored centrally so that when a user leaves the company or moves from one workgroup or department to another the administration rights can also be removed or moved swiftly and completely. Many of the functions of this package may be overtaken in time by directory services offerings, such as Novell's NDS, because the structures are much more flexible. In most workplaces there are not only network security details but also building or floor access codes, IT and non-IT company equipment that may be on loan to an individual. Many of these details are best stored together and the broader scope of directory services is best suited to this.

Evolution

These are the products within the current swathe of Management Suites but the world does not stand still. Even now, just a year after their first appearance, some of the suites are beginning to look outdated and in need of a revamp, especially the Y2K-focused IT Readiness Management Suite. The provision of these products is ongoing and it is not unreasonable to expect that new features will be fed into to the existing suites while new suites will be added to the range. Given that the current push within Tivoli emphasises the benefits of Enterprise in keeping the e-business infrastructure healthy and available, a related Management Suite is probably already well on the way to fruition. Even from this cursory look at Enterprise from the suite perspective, it is clear that Tivoli's support for the AS/400 can only be described, at best, as patchy. The only strong support comes within the Operations Management Suite but this is hardly surprising because a mainstay of its structure is ADSM an IBM product designed primarily for its own platforms.

Despite five years under IBM's ownership, Tivoli has had to follow the development path that it had planned when it was an independent company. Recent developments show the hand of IBM trying to ensure the course of this development path retains its global approach towards platform support but also fully encompasses the IBM stable of platforms. Over the past five years since its acquisition, Tivoli has had to change its marketing emphasis from singing the praises of its management framework to emphasising specific solutions that can be effected by combining its modules in various ways testified by the Management Suite development initiative. It has also had to keep pace as new features and hardware changes have occurred within the supported base.

In the light of this consolidation it is easy to see why Tivoli may have preferred to ignore the AS/400 but the development has been going on quietly in the background. In October, 1998, the Tivoli Enterprise and AS/400 whitepaper was published in which the company outlined its plans for extended AS/400 support and it is these promises that are about to be fulfilled over the course of this year. When the new modules are launched, the AS/400 will no longer be on the sidelines but will become a key player in the Enterprise infrastructure and will become more prominent in the associated Management Suites.

Eric Doyle is a freelance journalist.
eric.doyle@dial.pipex.com

The Tivoli Enterprise Architecture
As a task-focused offspring of Tivoli Enterprise, the Management Suites have the same structure as their parent. The basis is the Management Framework comprising an object-oriented collection of managers and brokers.

Systems, such as the AS/400, that do not support the core features are brought into the loop by hosting a Tivoli Management Agent (TMA) which is tailored to the specific features of its host. These agents perform all the monitoring and management tasks under the control of the central console elsewhere on the network. Several of these managed endpoints may be connected to the console on the Management Server through aggregating servers, or Management Gateways. The intelligent agents collect and collate the status of the hardware and software within their host's domain but only communicate this across the network according to rules set through the central Enterprise Console. This ensures that network traffic is kept to a minimum. The console primarily displays the information and highlights problem areas but it also contains the rules engine that governs the behaviour of the automated diagnosis and problem-solving features.

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