The virtual orchestra: Symphony or Noise?

CIOL Bureau
Updated On
New Update
Virtualisation is gaining steam for sure but at the same time, managers and CIOs feel that current IT systems find it tough to keep up with evolving virtualization technology, not to forget the visibility challenge. Management frameworks are apparently not proving just quite the solution yet. So what does the man at the helm of IBM Tivoli feel about these issues, and other factors like competition, or snags around standards, support, staff and maintenance that beleaguer an IT Infrastructure manager.
We cover it all in this interview with Erik Elzerman, Director — Tivoli, Software Group, IBM Asia Pacific
Surveys have been indicating it sporadically that while virtualization may be a great technology, some spaces in the wall are still left agape. How can one deal with lack of visibility not knowing what’s going in the virtualized part of one’s IT brick-and-mortar? How to make sure that current IT systems keep up with the pace of change? How to have that single interface where a CIO or IT manager can orchestrate multiple virtual deployments, let’s say VMware in one corner and MS’ Hyper V in another? Is all this being considered and addressed?
Yes, that’s a very relevant challenge that CIOs have. Virtualisation is about optimizing assets. We have got some sophisticated virtualization capabilities and not only for a particular machine. Our solution, Maximo, provides capabilities across many server assets and networking assets. Tivoli all about making the rapidly changing infrastructure visible and controls it adequately. The way we deliver it is integrated service management or ISM. EAM plays a big role in how IBM is uniquely positioned in the market. It encompasses a standard approach to all IT assets but also takes care of big assets. Industry-specific capability is our focus. We are also working on cross-over between various technology and industry capabilities. 
When you say ‘uniquely positioned’, how significant is competition from BMC, HP Open View or Microsoft System Centre?
We are a unique, integrated service management stack. No vendor can provide a solution that crosses across all IT assets with the level of sophistication that we can. We are the benchmarks and we are doing it at an industry level. We are competitive in overall framework space. We create new market places. I don’t see HP, BMC or MS there when our IP around industry-specific solutions is in action.
But are IT infrastructure management solutions attacking long-standing issues like complexity, training of staff, provisioning of support staff to keep these solutions maintained and running. Orion says it does not need that much maintenance, for example. Your take, specially when the vendors are caught between ‘who is open’ and ‘who is proprietary’ kind of skirmish?
Security is part of service level management solutions and it underpins ISM capabilities. We give breadth. We are absolutely compliant with all open standards. As I mentioned, our focus is on industry-specific development on various lines. We have a standards-based approach. All our components integrate easily with each other. Talking of all the other issues, now, the perception part will always exist if business case is not carried on properly. When we approach clients, we establish where they are today and where they want to go. The roadmap has to be set and performance gaps have to be bridged. The priorities as per ROI make an investment much more worthwhile to that particular client. If the business case and individual environments are not considered separately, not much can be made out of that investment.
How was Tivoli been evolving, organically and otherwise?
Industry-specific capabilities are our focus and we will expand partner network to align with that. Example- Pre-built integration modules for a particular sector. Wherever it makes sense to purchase, we always do that but not as patchwork. For EAM, we have acquired capabilities through development labs and through acquisitions also. 
Anything on the radar?
From what I can share, we are looking at deepening capabilities of EAM on industry-specific areas.