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IBM's Autonomic For The People

Looking to overcome the tedious nature of software installation, IBM has cooked up a technology and XML schema to improve self-configuring capabilities for on-demand infrastructures.

The Solution Installation for Autonomic Computing, which IBM has also submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for approval as an industry standard, makes it possible for developers to create packaged autonomic software for disparate platforms.

Software vendors could then easily package, install and support software for customers. The goal is to eliminate time-consuming, sometimes error-prone configurations.

Self-configuring technology joins self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting as one of the four technology pillars in IBM's broad autonomic computing initiative, a cornerstone for the company's e-business on-demand strategy.

Autonomic computing is IBM's strategy for improving the intuitiveness of computers, allowing them to self-diagnose and fix themselves with as little manual intervention as possible.

IBM and partners Novell , InstallShield Software and Zero G Software, feel strongly enough about the model that they have submitted specifications for the Solution Installation schema to the W3C.

The goal is to one day make it free under a royalty free license, according to David Bartlett, director of Autonomic Computing at IBM. The engineer said IBM and others are calling for the formation of a standards working group to formalize a specification for software packaging.

Bartlett told internetnews.com that an open format for the packaging of applications and installation across various environments will help customers get software in data centers up and running in quicker fashion.

The engineer said such technology has been a long-time coming in the computing industry, which is why IBM is moving forward with support from partners. InstallShield and Zero G have been working closely with IBM on the new packaging schema and are incorporating it into their products, Bartlett said.

He said his team is also developing manageability interfaces that products can use to relate packaging and configuration information to resources across the infrastructure. The interfaces will extend the self-configuring capabilities across heterogeneous environments.

Bartlett said there is no timetable for the Solution Installation for Autonomic Computing schema but that IBM and its partners are in active conversations with the W3C to drive the model forward.

He said IBM will look to standardize self-healing, self-optimizing and self-protecting processes going forward.