I spent some time recently with Tim Bradshaw, Infoconomy on my last trip to Europe. His article, Autonomic for the people , based on our conversation and interviews with other vendors and analyst Donna Scott of Gartner hit the web this past week. Tim does a very good job of capturing some of the major initiatives and thinking around today's autonomic movement. After reading his report I must agree with Tim that the data center is indeed overwhelmed today with a proliferation of applications and IT tools that require manually intensive efforts that 'wastes talent, ...strangles innovation, and is inordinately inefficient."
Will IBM's autonomic computing revolutionize system management? Actually, the strategy is not to create a revolution but to facilitate an evolution of current infrastructures towards a more autonomically mature state. For sure it is a grand challenge to get the industry to work together on a new set of unifying standards and technologies that will make this possible but it is happening. In fact, it is happening faster than anyone predicted. OASIS just ratified one such standard called WSDM that includes the XML SCHEMA based Common Base Event that is critical to delivering self-healing heterogeneous multi-vendored systems. This coupled with other autonomic integrating technologies, that are appearing for the first time in the industry's history, are having a profound impact in the most complex and challenging customer scenarios. These are the very scenarios that are requiring manually intensive efforts today that are inordinately inefficient. We are identifying these scenarios one by one and driving technology proof of concepts that represent the first emergence of self-healing systems. This in turn allows people to shift their focus and talents to the more interesting challenges of innovation for the business and this is exciting for talented IT professionals. Autonomic for the people! Write on Tim!
Industry Solutions and Tivoli
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A question that often arises in autonomic computing discussions is what happens to people's jobs and organizations as we evolve IT infrastructures forward towards the autonomic state?
This evolution of the IT infrastructure occurs across the five levels of autonomic maturity defined as basic, managed, predictive, adaptive, and autonomic. An infrastructure cannot evolve from any one of these levels to another simply on a technology basis. To successfully move forward requires adjusting relevant processes and corresponding roles and responsibilities while deploying the latest autonomic capabilities. Failing to spend the required time in reengineering process and roles is a common mistake in many IT based organizations as they tend to be mostly technology focused. This prevents many organizations from leveraging the latest autonomic capabilities and prevents(unknowingly in most cases) the ability to evolve forward.
Roles and processes will change - they must if you are to fully benefit from the latest autonomic technology. Rather than jobs going away this is driving jobs to evolve from ones that have a lot of repetitive tasks into a new set of more interesting roles and responsibilities.
A recent interview with Jeff Kephart of IBM Research entitled Computers That Fix Themselves in Forbes.com addresses fears of those who think they may lose their jobs to this technology: "We're not taking humans out of the loop," says Kephart. "What we're doing is elevating humans to a higher level where they specify what they want in terms that are closer to the business level, which is really what they're interested in, as opposed to the micro level, which is getting into bits and bytes."[Read More]