For those who are wondering where did all the Tivoli jobs go this year after such a robust last year, I thought I should write something up …

In 2012 and 2013 IBM has made a major shift to its posture toward IT Enterprise Management. As a company, IBM has made such shifts every decade or so which has enabled it to remain in business a 100+ years. This is astonishing for any vertical but even more so given IBM lives in the IT arena.  Such shifts in past included kicking off Microsoft and Intel and indirectly creating the entire PC revolution.

This time the major shift is all about going virtual, abstracting away from hardware and software to cloud centric services.  This provides two necessary shifts in posture:

1. Boundaries & Trust: The cloud is used to draw virtual lines through the matrix of IT and create different silos and entities, which is something desperately needed. The Internet and networks in general are based on a Security posture since they were started by the military organization DARPA. However, like any large complex entity, registration and implicit trust are required to build anything of substantial size and complexity. What is needed is boundaries and segregation and that is what the cloud provides.

2. End-to-End Solutions: The cloud also acknowledges that IT is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to the end-to-end solution. Through Business Process Management (BPM) and other structured services: organizational structures, business processes, and knowledge management are wrapped into the software and hardware to create the end-to-end cloud solution along with solution sponsorship.

In order to jump in with both feet, IBM has released their hold on both their laptop and server hardware as well as relabeled their “Tivoli” brand for IT Enterprise Management to the more virtual centric: “Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure.” This isn’t just the ordinary relabeling of existing software for marketing and sales purposes that IBM periodically does.  They are actually shifting from software installation to pre-configured virtual machines.  Given 80% of many Tivoli deployments revolves around installation and basic configuration of the tools in the same way every time, this is a huge win for most customers. It is a way to socialize and share lessons learn from company to company.

Like any major shift, this will not go smoothly or easily. Lots of up front “sausage making” will be played out publically in the market place both in the technical arena as well as the marketing and sales aspects.  There is a lesser known revolution within Tivoli that can provide a lens into the next couple years. Between 2004-2005 IBM made the acquisitions of: Micromuse (Netcool), Candle (ITM/ITCAM), Cyanea Systems (ITCAM AD), and Collation (TADDM) to built out the bulk of the monitoring in the Tivoli suite.  The following years 2006-2009 showed a significant dip in sales as the IBM sales and marketing engine digested and retooled toward the new posture of Tivoli.

Obviously there is no guarantee that the rebranded: “Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure” department will come out intact on the other side.  As was mentioned earlier, IBM has stumbled in past shifts as was the case in the PC revolution. In that case IBM quickly lost control of with their joint venture with Microsoft and their flagship OS/2 died on the vine despite its technical superiority to Windows. This is likely one of the reasons IBM is trying to contain the revolution in house this go around.

To this end, IBM is not basing their virtual provisioning solution on existing frameworks such as VMware or even existing Tivoli management solutions such as successessay Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) which is including as part of Tivoli Service Automation Manager (TSAM.)  Instead, IBM has built out a number of SmartCloud solutions in house; the flag ship of which is SmartCloud Orchestrator  (SCO.)

IBM’s approach falls in line with the new vision of IT where the cloud includes business process management and knowledge management. This offering even provides for a self service model of IT, where a department is allocated a bucket of CPU, RAM, network, and hard disk to allocate as they see fit, independent of the hardware and infrastructure riding beneath it.  This solves many of the high availability (HA), disaster recovery (DR), and even business continuity (BC) issues that are associated with a purely physical/software approach since failures can be immediately recovered from since the services are independent of any physical basis.

From this vantage point it is hard to see where this is all going, but it is certain to play out in the next 6 to 18 months and we’ll see what sticks in the marketplace.

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