RealTime IT News

A One-Stop Console for Administrators

The release of a new dashboard in IBM's new Tivoli Storage Manager 5.3 marks the beginning of an effort to consolidate all IT administrator functions under one console.

IBM Friday announced the push for developer support of the Integrated Solutions Console (ISC), a portal to create a consistent user interface for administrators. The Armonk, N.Y., systems vendor plans to release administrative dashboards for other IBM products this year and into 2006.

The Administration Center replaces the administrative Web interface found in earlier versions of TSM, the company's data backup, archiving and recovery application.

It's the first software application and second major component to find its way into the Integrated Solutions Console (ISC), a framework for plugging in components of administrative functions, similar to the intranet portals used by corporations to view company information under one consistent user interface. Several administrative functions in the IBM Virtualization Engine, launched last year for managing servers, have been wrapped into the ISC.

"It's part of our initiative to start bringing some consistency and some integration from an administrator's perspective on how he or she perceives the components of a data center," said Ric Telford, IBM director of autonomic computing architecture and technology, "to give a homogeneous view of the monitoring and management of these various components."

The self-optimization value of bringing these functions under one roof is one of the tenets of IBM's autonomic computing strategy, which seeks to improve the way networks are run in the enterprise. Rather than using a mish-mash of disparate dashboards created by the vendor or in-house developers, each with their own look-and-feel and functionality, all the dashboards can run under one console.

Developers looking to create portlets for the ISC will need the WebSphere Studio Site Developer 5.1.1 or the WebSphere Portal Toolkit 5.0 and WebSphere Studio Site Developer 5.1.1. The underlying technology for the component portlets is Java Specification Request-168 (JSR-168), though some of the technology in IBM's portlets pre-dates the specification.

Future IBM releases will incorporate the final Java Community Process (JCP) standard, though Telford wasn't able to give a timetable on third-party inclusion into the ISC.

"The goal is not just the integration of IBM administrative interfaces because that doesn't meet the total requirements of a lot of our customers today," he said. "They want to be able to integrate third-party applications with their application suite portlets as well."

"There's no reason they shouldn't be able to go to one dashboard, one command center, and have consistency in the way they view and work with user interfaces for these heterogeneous products."