I recently had the opportunity to attend an Autonomic Computing(AC) summit with customers and business partners at the IBM Amagi Homestead in Naka-Izu-cho, Japan. I was looking forward to the weekend retreat, not just because of the great sashimi (and the chance to wear a yukata ;), but because a number of business partners would be presenting how IBM AC technologies are helping to differentiate their products. Bright and early Saturday morning before the meeting began , we had the customary group photo in front of one of the putting greens with Fuji, which was unfortunately obscured in the process of scanning this picture, as a backdrop. (I am seated in the center, front row)
We arrived at Amagi early Friday afternoon after taking a train down the coast from Tokyo followed by a bus ride up the mountain where the business retreat would take place. As our bus emerged from mandarin groves along the narrow coastal plains and began the steep climb to the Amagi homestead 2500 feet in elevation we all strained to see the first glimpse of Mount Fuji through the mist and forest...
Suddenly to searching eyes
Startling like the first chord struck from celestial amps
Proudly peaked with white
Humbly hushing all
Inspired by Fuji and inspired to be on a mission in Amagi, a mission with a grand challenge! The challenge? To truly work together as an industry, setting a new precedent of cooperation, in the battle to reduce IT complexity. Its all about finding new common ground as the way to move forward...and Amagi was all about demonstrating how we are finally beginning to take that journey together.
The Manifesto of Autonomic Computing maintains that the information technology boom can only expand for so long before it collapses under the weight of its own complexity. A complexity fueled by the ever increasing availability of disparate technologies coupled with global expansion, mergers and acquisitions. We need a different model if we are to move to the next generation of business enabled by information technology. The human body's autonomic nervous system presents a very interesting model. The autonomic nervous system is a part of the peripheral nervous system that functions to regulate the basic visceral processes needed for the maintenance of normal bodily functions. It operates independently of voluntary control, freeing humans from complex management tasks that could distract from higher physical or intellectual tasks. Let's face it - if we approached the management of our body the way we approach the management of IT, everyone on our bus would have missed that first poetry inspiring view of Fuji! We would have been so distracted with consulting manuals and contacting experts (to reconfigure breathing, heart rate, skin temperature and pupil dilation to insure optimum performance in an environment that was undergoing a rapid altitude change) that we would have missed the more important view.
So what is Autonomic Computing? It's an enabler for focusing on the higher level business view without the distraction of managing the technology. AC is also all about a challenge to the IT industry to work together to reduce complexity and create self managing systems. The ability to cross technology barriers imposed by complexity is critical if we are to advance to the next generation of business.(ie: on demand)
The Amagi retreat was a deep dive into Japanese culture for me. The meetings and activities had a sincere openness and inclusiveness to them which I greatly appreciated. It was also an honest immersion into how Japanese companies are making significant progress with the challenge of AC. There is a lot of momentum in Japan led by IBM-J and a number of innovative business partners. In Amagi, companies such as Toshiba, a true autonomic leader, described how the incorporation of AC technologies from the AC Toolkit such as the Autonomic Management Engine(AME) and the Log Trace Analyzer(L/TA) as well as the Common Base Event (CBE) XML schema have helped to deliver real value. The autonomic architecture, standards, and technologies have provided a common ground for business partners to start to work together on this shared journey towards self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing, and self-protecting systems.
I have been working with a number of business partners who will be joining me at PartnerWorld in Las Vegas in the beginning of March to demonstrate how they are moving forward with Autonomic Computing technologies. I am really excited about this years event and can already feel the AC spirit. But more on that later... (My autonomic system is telling me to take a break and watch some autonomic nervous system in action - AC-C basketball.)
Industry Solutions and Tivoli
This has been quite an exciting week at Partnerworld(PW) in Las Vegas. (And not just because I had beginners luck at the slots last night!) There is a level of excitement and enthusiasm this year with our business partners that I did not feel last year. It certainly helped to have the PW Solution showcase open Sunday night with Singlestep winning CRN Best of Show for the work they did incorporating and shipping AC technology in their products for the small and mid-sized enterprise markets. I have seen some very impressive technology from our partners on the showcase floor and in face to face meetings. I have also witnessed a new level of collaboration between our AC partners that is generating a number of new ideas and business opportunties to the extent that we are now thinking about forming the first AC business partner user group![Read More]
Go to http://www-130.ibm.com/developerworks/autonomic/ and check out the SPOTLIGHT article 'IBM furthers autonomic computing through partnerships' and the EDITOR'S PICK 'Singlestep Unity Policyscape the Autonomic Management Engine' for more info on the company and product that just won best of show at Partnerworld![Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 511 Views
Ok I admit, aside from NCAA basketball tournament in March, my favorite show this time of the year is American Idol... and the good news this week is both rockers made the cut for the final 12!
On AI last season Simon criticized one of the contestants because he perceived they were not singing for the people but rather appeared to just love the sound of their own voice.
Clint Boulton wrote an article for internetnews.com last July entitled: "IBM's Autonomic for the People!" I think he was one of the first writers to see the star power potential of Autonomic Computing;)
Clearly participating vendors benefit, but the real winner is the customer when companies work together to remove complexity and build self-managing IT infrastructures. How do you get connected to this initiative? A good place to start is the eclipse based AC toolkit which can be downloaded at no charge at:
It is easy to see that AI is hot from a network ratings perspective from the astronomical number of text and call-in ballots from across the country....and it's easy to see that AC is hot from the tens of thousands of downloads already on a global basis. Take some advice from Partnerworld, "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy" ..open up and download in ...you know it's easy...[Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 539 Views
AC of course! Check out this week's article by Luke Meredith: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid80_gci1065480,00.html[Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 557 Views
There was an OASIS announcement last week that was of significant importance to customer IT shops around the world. Why? It demonstrates industry vendors(i.e. Actional, BEA Systems, BMC Software, Computer Associates, Dell,Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Novell, Tibco, and Others) are willing to work together to solve the problem of complexity.
Last week, OASIS announced Web Services Distributed Management was approved as an OASIS standard. http://www.oasis-open.org/news/oasis_news_03_09_05.php
This supports the goal of IBMs autonomic and on demand computing initiatives. i.e. utilizing broadly adopted tooling and runtime technologies to yield better, seamless integration between systems management processes, solutions and business applications.
Just as SOA has improved the flexibility and sophistication of business applications, SOA also brings new capabilities to enterprise wide systems management and opens the door for new technologies like self-managing systems, i.e. Autonomic Computing. IBM has contributed and will continue to contribute key autonomic computing technologies, like the Common Base Event(CBE),into open standards like WSDM.
CBE is a good example of the value standards like this deliver. Without an industry standard like CBE that can drive convergence, all events (logfiles, tracefiles, etc.) remain in different formats making it virtually impossible to compose an end-to-end view in a multi-vendored, heterogeneous environment. This requires numerous experts and product specific sets of tooling to debug problems. With an industry standard like CBE we can drive towards a unified, easily correlated, standardized event format that makes diagnosis of problems over a wide range of heterogeneous resources possible. CBE enables the capability to perform fast and accurate root cause identification of problems and enables the automation of PD in complex scenarios.
Approval of the WSDM spec is a significant step forward for the industry in three key areas: 1) managing IT resources and in providing technology to manage web services 2)providing a scalable solution for managing IT environments, from the small and medium to the large enterprise level and 3) providing a foundation for enabling customers to exploit Web services and manage heterogeneous environments.
For faq see: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/wsdm/faq.php[Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 564 Views
Kevin McAuliffe talks about the logical extension of CBE to business level monitoring and its coincidence with Common Event Infrastructure(CEI).
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 567 Views
Yesterday I spent some time reflecting on how leadership in one of our teams made the difference in driving extraordinary results and I had the chance to speak about that in a meeting. Following my remarks the point was made that leadership strength ultimately comes from the team. When I woke up this morning I was thinking about yesterday's events (as I often do each morning) and thought again about the question, What constitutes a good leadership team? 'The 8th Habit' by Stephen R. Covey just happened to be by my desk and on page 123 (thanks R.L.) I came across this statement: "Ultimately a good leadership team is a complementary team where people's strengths are made productive and their weaknesses made irrelevant by the strengths of others." Very true.[Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 590 Views
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]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 596 Views
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!
A roomful of relatives can mean something different depending on who you talk to. Personally, there are times that I am grateful for relatives, but right now a room with an oceanview without the relatives in it - that would work well for me.
Customer IT infrastructures without Autonomic Computing? "Its like a roomful of relatives all talking about the same set of problems at the same time, but in different languages with no one listening, and no structure for finding solutions to their common afflictions.", according to a recently published Red Herring article entitled, Anticipating Autonomics
Combining IBM's autonomic self-managing technologies with business partner Singlestep's Unity product was, in the author's words 'like getting all the chattering neurotic relatives to take turns talking to a group therapist in a common language.'
There is a growing momentum within a number of hot startups like Singlestep to deliver value with Autonomic Computing. Venture capital investors see opportunity in these companies with autonomic computing as a theme according to Red Herring. Another excellent example cited of such a company is Network Physics in Mountain View, California that offers a product that incorporates IBM autonomic technology compatible with autonomic computing architecture.
hmmm - maybe a little more unity and some applied network physics would work with my relatives...[Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 607 Views
My idea of a good time is visiting famous bridges in the world. If you have ever visited the Tower Bridge you might agree with me. If you haven't I really recommend it for your next trip to London. I toured the Tower Bridge with my daughter, Abbie, who studied it in great detail for one of her univeristy engineering projects. Lately I have been reading about the award winning Oresund Bridge which recently opened linking Denmark and Sweden for the first time in history. I have only seen it from the air on approach into Copenhagen. The high bridge has the longest cable-stayed main span in the world for both road and rail traffic and the 16+ km structure plunges into the sea (a breathtaking view from the air) in the middle of an artificial island to accomodate the shipping channel. The bridge provides an unprecedented surface connection from southern Sweden to the rest of Europe and there was a number of studies done as to what impact this might have on southern Sweden's people and their jobs.
Bridges are a useful analogy for what we are doing in Autonomic Computing. If you consider the unifying standards and integrating technology we are building for the industry it is analogous to the unifying impact bridges can have on different countries and their people. We often talk of the walls between development programmers and system programmers and the need to build better bridges between development and operations. As we bring such standards as CBE and Solution Install to fruition it is becoming more and more apparent how they can play a powerful role in bridging these two worlds. In fact they have played an important role in bridging the industry in the self-healing and self-configuring initiatives of Autonomic Computing.
An important announcement was just released from Oasis entitled, OASIS Forms Committee to Standardize Software Installation Characteristics for Lifecycle Management. IBM along with HP, Sun, Novell,Fujitsu, NEC, CA, and ZeroG are among the companies that will collaborate on Packaging for Distributed Application Environment on a standardized method for expressing software installation characteristics required for lifecycle management in distributed, multi-platform environments.
This work will provide an industry first in bridging the world of development and operations by creating a systematic way to package and declare all dependencies of any given component in any target heterogeneous environment. It will result in better time to value and ROI as well as lower support costs. Bridging these two worlds will also create new roles. For example: the solution developer whose job it will be to capture and codify all dependencies for all the target environments the code will manifest itself in... And that is just a first peek at what new views and capabilities will be possible from this unprecedented span![Read More]
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 660 Views
Many years ago, when I was a systems programmer at Carrier(United Technologies), we developed a beautiful application that could update all the database and networking products and only required one entry to accomodate all the needs of a new user. It had a few flaws - it was highly customized, dependent on non-standard interfaces, and not documented(er- at all) - but it was an awesome tool to bridge development and operations for the brief time we used it (before some of the dependencies changed and the author of the affected code jumped to another company!)
I am on my way to Las Vegas for this year's Rational User Conference where I will do a mini-theater about building better bridges between development and operations by using self-managing autonomic technologies based on strategic and sustainable standards. As I took off from LaGuardia for Las Vegas, I got a glimpse of the Whitestone between the Bronx and Queens. Did you know the Whitestone is the 7th longest main span in the US? (Verrazano-Narrows has the longest at 4,260 feet, not the Golden Gate) The fifth longest in the US has a pretty amazing story - The Tacoma Narrows just south of Seattle. When it first opened on July 1, 1940 it was the third longest suspension span in the world and by most accounts the most beautiful- slender, sleek, structural grace - a truly artistic rendering at a truly high cost. It seems that artistry took precedence over sustainable architecture and design that could withstand the aerodynamics of Puget Sound. No problem with the weight of tons of traffic - it was that pesky wind coming up the sound that could whip it like a rope into a sine wave(hence the name Galloping Gertie) that caused it to plop into the river only 4 months after it opened! The video of its collapse, which I first watched in college physics, is some of the most spectacular footage I have ever seen.
I plan to have some more fun with this video during my gig at Mandalay Bay this week to illustrate how the right architecture, open standards and integrating technologies can build much more effective and sustainable bridges between development and operations. We all know that highly customized, one-off,propriatary approaches, while sometimes beautiful, are almost always a waste of resource and time. The last few weeks have seen some very exciting announcements about how the industry is really collaborating on new autonomic standard designed to address this very problem. There will also be more exciting news this week for the over 2000 people expected to attend the annual Rational User Conference and I am anxious to share it!
DavidBBartlett 0600017MDJ 540 Views
You may know that in Texas they have Texans but in Nevada they have Toxins! Five hot miked singers belting out tight a cappella harmonies with vocal percussion and voice effects processors that blew everyones socks off to kick off the 2005 Rational User Conference. I think in autonomic terminology we would call this self-orchestration.
Mike Devlin, co-founder of Rational, announced his plans to retire but not before leaving us with some final observations. Mike emphasized the ever growing importance of software. It wasnt that long ago that software was nonexistent in appliances, cameras, cars, etc. In just the last few years the lines of code in the average automobile has exceeded one million and in the next few years that number will soar to tens of millions of lines of code governing every conceivable aspect. The automobile industry calls it the new generation of drive by wire cars. Software has provided advanced new features and is helping to make cars safer but on the other hand the fastest growing percentage of warranty costs is now in software maintenance. Clearly, the big challenge to stay competitive will be to build better bridges between development and warranty providers.
Rational is more important than ever in helping developers build better software and in creating better bridges between business, development, and operations and Danny Sabbah, the new Rational GM, wasted no time in jumping into on stage live demos, a cappella, to demonstrate the rapid advancement
of the Rational portfolio with its latest features.
Back from a very blistering 105F Vegas to a very cool gray 58F New York with a sore back from riding the back of an MD80 for way too many hours hunched over an X40...the sounds of Thomas Dolby still resonating in my head - especially his sonification of a very active period of solar activity that happened a couple of years ago. Remember the one that even took out communications?
Dolby http://www.thomasdolby.com/index_frameset.html brought a lot of energy to the Rational User Conference demonstrating the powerful potential of software. I wonder if there is a place for self-sonifying technology in the autonomic portfolio? Imagine, for example, applying sonification to raw application traffic data for monitoring and automating responses to the pitch and frequency changes that represent actionable events. You could build a sonic knowledge base for pattern based learning - like adding ears to your router!