The Once and Future IT
Autonomic computing may already be here, but the real payoff is three to 10 years away.
Computerworld - The central promise of autonomics is that IT workers won't need to do as many routine chores such as restore failed servers or provision switches and routers. Autonomics can free up IT workers for higher-level tasks and give them more time to spend with business managers to find ways to make systems work for the needs of their companies.
But is there anything new about autonomics? Is it simply old technology incrementally improved and repackaged with a new buzzword? Perhaps. But IT managers keenly understand the new benefits of autonomics, while acknowledging that the concept has a long history.
"Autonomics is definitely evolutionary, and we don't look at it as a distinct point" when a company suddenly has it, says Ed Toben, CIO at Colgate-Palmolive Co. in New York. His company has widely deployed IBM systems management products, including Tivoli software, to keep its SAP system running on servers and storage gear in 55 countries. "For us, autonomics means that systems can be self-managed, and the more you can do that, the better," says Toben. With steady growth in systems at Colgate-Palmolive, "there's just a constant struggle against expansion and complexity," he explains.
John Freeman, senior process engineer at Bayer HealthCare, a Shawnee, Kan.-based division of Bayer Corp., says the drug maker uses software from Tripwire Inc. in Portland, Ore., to provide control in the manufacturing process. Federal mandates require valid digital records, so automatic monitoring and reporting is critical, he points out.
"We're constantly looking for ways to automate processes, whether it is a machine or an operator process or data collection and generation of reports," says Freeman. "In IT, we're trying to put ourselves out of work."
Eventually, Freeman wants a management system that automatically reports on manufacturing systems and the security of production, so if there's any corruption in an application file, for example, the process can be rolled back to a previous file version automatically while immediately generating a report for inspectors.
Further, Freeman argues that any new autonomic capabilities shouldn't require major changeovers of operating systems or hardware.
Users who are considering autonomics say they want systems that are able to reboot the hardware used by applications that have failed, such as e-mail or database servers. For example, an autonomic process could reboot a server and notify an IT administrator or reroute functions to a backup application on another machine.
"Every time I have to restart my customer database, my customers don't have access," complains Perry Cain, chief technology officer at Suppleye.com, an e-procurement medical products supplier in Fairlawn, Ohio. "I'd like fewer restarts. [But] I'd like to see autonomics in a lot of products."
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Improving Business Value of WAN Optimization Want to achieve faster ROI with WAN optimization? Read the latest IDC report and discover how you can cut IT costs without compromising...
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!