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Virtualization for the hesitant

Quoting from eChannelLine

IBM's Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager (ITUAM) software helps end users measure the usage of different assets within their IT infrastructure in a virtualized or shared environment.

"It is a way of accounting for resources, to do appropriate planning, which is important to many customers," stated Peter McCaffrey, program director, virtualization strategy, at the IBM Systems Group.

IBM surveys client attitudes toward virtualization technology.

"Fifty per cent of customers have some sort of virtualization project or plan to have some virtualization project underway. There is still a set of customers that are moving a little slower and one of their inhibitors is the organization barriers -- that is the ability to account for resources," he stated.

ITUAM assists customers in the tracking and billing of computer usage by division, department, application or individual user and then assigns costs based on customized policies and a centralized form of reporting.

"You can have some very clear reporting that says this application is using 30 per cent of the available capacity of this server," reported McCaffrey.

The reporting can be drilled down to smallest detail, he continued. "So you can get to all kinds of granularity in terms of how you want it to report back."

The tracking of usage patterns in the IT infrastructure is done by a series of data collectors in the software that sends the information back to a centralized database, he explained.

ITUAM's reporting is not just aimed at the IT department, explained McCaffrey. "It can also be presented to the financial officers. The software is very intuitive with a graphical kind of interface that makes it really easy to use."

McCaffrey finds that small and medium sized clients with a sufficient server base "will move quickly" and adopt virtualization if they see a big return on the investment.

"There is a remarkably strong understanding of the benefits of virtualization [in SMB]. They are very cost conscious and very willing to try to virtualization. They are a little less risk adverse, than the big guys are sometimes. And they don't have the institutional barriers that a big company sometimes has."

Another potential customer is the outsourcing provider, which can use ITUAM to better manage their systems, stated McCaffrey. "That makes a lot of sense, because they are very cost conscious and they are looking at sharing their infrastructure, over their customer base. But they can only do that if they can very accurately determine usage, so that they can bill back their clients accurately."

Currently, ITUAM is available in separate versions for both the x 86 servers and the mainframe computing environment. A third offering will be out later this year for the users of Unix servers, says McCaffrey.

IBM's pricing is $599 (U.S.) for each x86 server, and $75,000 (U.S.) per mainframe customer for the mainframe edition of ITUAM.

"A lot of customers have been experiencing growth within their x86 server base and they have been trying to take advantage of virtualization as a way of consolidating the environment and lowering costs. This is a very strong compliment to their server virtualization strategy," added McCaffrey.

Read the original article, here.

Published Monday, June 12, 2006 6:49 AM by David Marshall
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