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IBM prepares to take on 21st century infrastructure

IBM aired plans to integrate physical and digital worlds, manage ever-growing amounts of data and reduce inefficient environments for customers across industries.

The initiative, dubbed dynamic infrastructure, encompasses products, services and technologies from Big Blue, which this week will unveil to thousands of attendees more specifics around the strategy at its Pulse 2009 service management event in Las Vegas. IBM officials say the company is working to reduce the management nightmare customers face today that will inevitably worsen as more data and devices extend the realm of the data center. According to IDC, the market opportunity for the software, servers, technologies and services to manage the world's converged IT and physical infrastructure will be $122 billion by 2012.

“At the foundation of this announcement is IBM working to bring the intelligence and efficiencies required to help customers build this new infrastructure in their environment,” says Pete McCaffrey, director of Dynamic Infrastructure at IBM. “Customers need to manage the converging physical and digital worlds, which already colliding, and IBM will help them keep up with the changing landscape.”

To start, IBM updated a slew of service management products and packaged them as IBM Service Management Industry Solutions, which are customized to address seven vertical industries, such utilities, telecommunications, banking and retail, to name a few. The bundled solutions incorporate IBM software as well as services from the business and technology groups at IBM. According to McCaffrey, the packages will help customers accelerator their service management implementation and address industry-specific problems.

“IBM combined its technology and services offerings with domain knowledge and experience in various industries to create these seven bundles,” McCaffrey says.

Also new in the service management realm are updated versions of Tivoli Service Automation Manager and Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager applications. IBM says the automation software will speed application deployments and the latter could be put to use to built encryption into key infrastructure elements as they are deployed.

A second area IBM will address with its initiative is information management.

Big Blue unveiled the ProtecTIER Deduplication Appliance to eliminate redundant copies of the same data. The appliance would enable customers to add data to their environment while maintaining appropriate management, security and storage policies around the information. IBM also introduced the XIV Storage System, which includes a lower point of entry and interoperability enhancements. The XIV enables faster access to information as data grows across applications, such as financial services or healthcare, IBM says.

For security, IBM announced it would add full-disk encryption on its IBM System Storage DS8000, which the company says would reduce costs and complexity by enabling self-encrypting drives. And IBM upped its services offerings with data security services from IBM's Internet Security System's group. The services offered would prevent data loss via network extrusion prevention, managing encryption, securing data on endpoints and controlling the use of external storage devices for transporting data, IBM says.

And for mainframes, IBM introduced the InfoSphere Warehouse for System z software, which the company says it designed to help clients make real-time decisions based on core business data and drive regulatory compliance efforts. This software will also support business intelligence applications, such as Cognos 8 BI.

The third pillar of IBM's multi-pronged dynamic infrastructure strategy centers on managing inefficiencies. Big Blue has in the past been a proponent of green computing and plans with this set of announcements. IBM plans to couple its Systems Director software with a new offering from Tivoli, called IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management software. The application is said to bring automation to the management and reporting of energy consumption by non-IT assets, such as an office building air conditioning system.

“We have seen the efficiencies clients can gain when they connect physical and digital infrastructure and we believe with our investments in service management, green and energy efficient technologies, we can provide a higher value to our customers,” McCaffrey says.

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