Tivoli Directs Traffic

Tivoli Systems Inc. is developing a module for its Enterprise Manager, code-named Ignite, that will give IT managers a much-needed policy-based bandwidth allocation tool that prioritizes network traffic.

In an effort to give designated applications the priority levels needed to help enforce service-level agreements, Tivoli is also working with hardware partners such as 3Com Corp. that will add support for Ignite, according to a source familiar with 3Com's plans.

"There [is] a lot of value in a Tivoli-3Com partnership," said analyst Elisabeth Rainge, research manager at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Massachusetts. "3Com knows networks, and Tivoli knows management."

The end result of this cooperation is expected to be a policy server that snaps into the Tivoli framework to enable the modeling of network policies that map to business priorities.

Phase one of Ignite will likely enable the monitoring of applications from client to server and back again, according to one Tivoli official who asked not to be identified.

The second and more important phase of Ignite will take the network from a passive tracker to an active role as chaperone of network traffic to guarantee pre-defined service levels.

"The need for policy-based bandwidth allocation is being driven by ERP [enterprise resource planning] applications," said Mike Turner, vice president of applications at Tivoli. "The network [infrastructure] fails to keep up to the level they require."

In order to allocate network resources accordingly, however, IT managers are looking for solutions that solve the quality-of-service problem across the enterprise.

"Life isn't as simple as giving a specific application higher priority in the network pipeline," said an IS manager at a Fortune 50 oil company in Texas. "It has to be a whole package, including the server and the router."

The final phase of Ignite enlightens the network about guiding user and group traffic, as well as application traffic, said the official at Tivoli. To perform these tasks, however, a directory service will be required to integrate the overall solution, but it appears that no particular directory has yet been tapped.

"Tivoli is directory agnostic," said Tivoli's Turner, when asked if Tivoli was partnering with any particular directory services provider at this time.

The initial release of Ignite is expected to coincide with the release of Windows 2000, said the official at Tivoli.

3Com officials did not respond to inquiries by press time.

Tivoli Systems Inc., in Austin, Texas, is at www.tivoli.com.

Tivoli-3Com efforts

-- Integration of Tivoli agents with 3Com DynamicAccess adapters-- Integration of 3Com Transcend management software with Tivoli's TME 10 management framework-- Distribution of software updates from Tivoli to 3Com adaptersSIDEBAR: Tivoli Leads Y2K ChargeVendors are offering new tools to help fix year-2000 problems from the mainframe to the desktop.

Tivoli Systems (www.tivoli.com) will soon announce Tivoli Manager for Year 2000, which uses existing Tivoli tools to assess year-2000 problems. The program uses Tivoli's inventory management and network management tools to monitor changes to desktops, network devices, and software, and then uses its decision-support program to analyze year-2000 readiness. It will be available in December.

IBM (www.ibm.com) unveiled three development tools last week to help users of its S/390 Parallel Enterprise Servers address the year-2000 problem. Two run-time tools -- the Runtime Analyzer and the Millennium Runtime Windowing Tool -- adjust dates as applications run, without changing source code. The IBM Unit Test Assistant enables companies to determine if their applications can accept dates beyond the year 2000 and still run.

The About Time Group (www.pcfix2000.com) has launched PCfix 2000, which fixes year-2000 hardware problems in any IBM-compatible PC. Priced at US$94.95 and due to ship in 1999's first quarter, the product corrects the date and time in the PC's real-time clock as well as in the BIOS chip and the OS.

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