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November 16, 2005

IBM buys application mapping software for Tivoli

As any systems administrator will testify, one of the most difficult challenges of change management is correlating all the resources that an application consumes.

By CBR Staff Writer

Today, IBM Corp offers Tivoli products that manage the operation of business services. But until now, it lacked visibility into how the underlying applications spawning those services consume actual IT infrastructure resources.

Tying together loose ends, IBM today acquired Collation, a 23-person firm that offers application resource mapping software.

Collation’s solution, Confignia, maps an application based on the infrastructure on which it runs. That includes charting relevant run-time dependencies, configuration values, and change histories.

So, if your SAP application runs on one bank of servers, the Oracle database on another, and you install new modules that may or may not require new servers, Confignia tracks all that for you.

It works using a discovery engine that starts with a data center reference model that establishes the infrastructure topology covering servers, applications, and databases. When the application runs, an event propagation engine gets data from event sensors that track which resources are being consumed.

Collation has developed roughly 200 sensors to major software applications, servers, storage, and network resources, which IBM claims already delivers an 80% solution. Sensors can be developed for other components that sit in a data center.

Together, the data center model, application configuration data, and event history are captured in Confignia’s configuration database, which acts as the system of record mapping applications to resource consumption.

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Paired with Tivoli’s change management and business services management, the combined offering provides an application-centered view of what happens when applications or the infrastructure on which they run change. It complements Tivoli’s recently announced offerings for tracking operation of composite applications and business services.

The result is a view of run-time dependencies across application, system, storage and network tiers, supporting virtualized environments.

Initially, IBM will continue selling Confignia as standalone product until June 2006. For now, there is a link that federates the Confignia database to Tivoli’s Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB).

There are also direct integrations to Tivoli Business Services Manager, which takes a higher-level view spanning one or more applications; and IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager, which parcels out resources necessary for running business services. Those links won’t change once Confignia is fully integrated into the Tivoli CCMDB.

However, as of June 2006, IBM will incorporate the Collation functionality as part of the core Tivoli change and configuration management offerings.

IBM did not disclose the amount paid for the 23-member firm. The deal closes immediately.

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