IBM: Let The Billing Begin
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IBM has tucked in the technology from its purchase of CIMS Lab, and is now offering the software to help customers track and bill computer usage.
IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager is a Web-based tool that automatically logs the ebb and flow in the consumption of virtual server, software, middleware, storage and network assets on computers.
The software then calculates the cost of computing and bills internal departments within companies or the individual customers of IT outsourcing providers.
The software virtualizes servers, obviating the need for outsourcing companies to allocate separate servers to each customer to help meet service levels.
Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager also analyzes usage trends and tells administrators where resources should be placed for clients with offices in multiple remote locations.
Such software can help businesses manage their technology budgets and plan for future resource requirements at a time when company CIOs have tightened spending and are mindful of unnecessary power consumption.
The Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager is patterned after the way utility companies gauge and charge home and commercial consumers for the electric, gas, oil and water they suck up per month.
In fact, IBM said in a statement that the Salt River Project, the third-largest public power utility in the nation, is using the technology to analyze computing resource usage.
The logging and billing traits make the virtualization software an attractive asset for a utility computing platform.
In this model, users procure computing power over the Internet at the press of a button. The users can usually then deploy resources without having to perform traditional configurations to get the hardware and software to work together.
To date, one of the major stumbling blocks to mass adoption of virtualization and utility computing models has been the lack of a standard way to track usage and allocate costs of a shared infrastructure to internal departments or whole companies.
IBM hopes the Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager is a suitable solution as it seeks to compete with companies like Sun Microsystems, which offers a $1 per hour per CPU grid computing model.
IBM has made Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager available now at $599 per server for IBM x86 servers, and for $75,000 to IBM mainframe customers in the U.S.
The software will be available for IBM System p server later this year.