The new version of IBM’s Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) helps clients reduce manual steps to better automate the changing demands for IT resources — a key element of IBM’s version of cloud computing, called Blue Cloud. The technologies developed as part of this initiative enable clients to build large-scale, distributed, globally accessible data centers.

As a foundation for data center automation, TPM plays an important role in helping IT organizations manage power consumption by switching servers to standby mode when not in use, which saves energy, and automatically restores them to active mode when needed.

TPM dynamically provisions and allocates resources to compensate for workload fluctuations common in today’s rapidly changing business environment. These fluctuations can strain specific IT resources while other systems run at less than capacity, a problem cloud computing can resolve.

“Advanced automation and resource optimization are key drivers to containing costs and among the top priorities for businesses today,” said Chris O’Connor, vice president, Tivoli strategy and market management, IBM. “This new version of Tivoli Provisioning Manager enables our clients to simplify IT environments, further take advantage of virtualization and realize the vision of cloud computing.”

TPM 5.1.1 includes a variety of enhancements to expand the capabilities and benefits of automating common data center tasks while providing interoperability to support diverse IT environments and varying levels of IT maturity. The new capabilities help simplify software installation and improve distribution, monitor IT resources across an enterprise, and create reusable automation packages to perform complex tasks that can be used again later.

Specifically, TPM automates the discovery, deployment, configuration, and management of operating systems, patches, middleware, and applications on physical and virtual servers. It can manage virtualization technologies, SAN- and NAS-based storage resources, and network devices acting as routers, switches, firewalls, and load balancers. TPM also allows a company to automate its own datacenter procedures and processes either by modifying automation packages or creating new packages that match a company’s best practices.
TPM lowers the cost of managing infrastructure resources by automating tasks to execute change in the enterprise. Provisioning, maintaining and re-purposing IT resources is made easier, while systems are made more secure and stable through software and security configuration compliance and remediation, freeing up resources to focus on business issues and innovation.

Specific new enhancements include:

Web Replay — Web Replay works by enabling experts to share knowledge with others. With Web Replay a user can “record” the mouse clicks, data insertion and other processes involved in any complex task. Afterwards, any user with the appropriate access can run the recorded scenario. Operations that may require a series of screen interactions can be condensed down to a single push of a button. Consequently, experts on a subject can develop and record the actions needed to execute very complex tasks. These “recordings” can then be used and altered as needed by others. This ensures that tasks are executed correctly and completely.

Cross-Platform Patch Support — TPM helps customers automate many steps involved in compliance efforts. For example, the software gives customers an integrated way to manage patches on Windows, Linux, Solaris and AIX. This helps staff be more efficient and avoid errors.

TADDM Integration — TPM 5.1.1 delivers improved integration with the Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM). TADDM provides complete visibility into application complexity by automatically creating and maintaining application infrastructure maps. The information can be used to improve compliance and remediation, speed up problem solving, and simplify day-to-day resource management.
Dynamic Content Delivery — TPM Dynamic Content Delivery enables the efficient delivery of large data payloads such as high-resolution video, Computer Aided Design data, and online learning content across an enterprise. It decreases hardware and administrative costs associated with application software delivery and life cycle management, and provides high performance, optimized delivery of emergency fixes or complete software suites.
Streamlined Installation — A user friendly installation wizard lets customers install the entire package with minimal user interaction, getting them up and running with TPM in just a few hours.

“Tivoli Provisioning Manager is an excellent tool for helping developers become more efficient,” said Mike Todd, Chief Technology Officer and founder of Northwind Consulting. “One of our customers recently ran a pilot optimizing the usage of 600 servers in a development test environment. They have 40 people building images and it normally takes 3-4 weeks from the time a request is processed to when a developer has a system completely built out and ready to go. We showed them how they can do the same thing in less than a day using Tivoli Provisioning Manager. The current project has a three-month ROI and will result in tremendous savings, in addition to drastically reduced lead time, and improved quality.”