IBM has come out with a new package of services and software to promote greater automation of IT operations, and Web services is being employed throughout. The mechanism by which a lot of the inter-systems play that is required for automation is the WSDM standard, or Web Services Distributed Management. WSDM was approved as an OASIS standard earlier this year.
I had an opportunity to chat earlier this week with Dave Bartlett, IBM’s vice president of autonomic computing, who said that WSDM provides the standard format for representing events across a network. "This enables us to take all the raw trace files from different applications, different vendors, different operating systems, networks, network, different databases, and converge them into a single format. You get an end-to-end view of what’s occurring in the system, and therefore very rapidly identify root cause of problems, and take automated action to fix the problems."
IBM has been working closely with HP and Computer Associates to promote the WSDM standard not only to enable autonomic computing, but also grid architectures, as explained in this article.
Data center automation represents the next great frontier of computing. Big Blue estimates companies can achieve a 30 to 50 percent time savings on IT tasks. IBM reports that it has woven more than 475 autonomic features into 75 of its products since 2001. Many of the autonomic features and technologies are designed to automate the process of locating infrastructure problems, which when done manually, can be very time consuming.
WSDM is actually a twofer, comprised of Management Using Web Services (MUWS) and Management of Web services (MOWS). That's because when it comes to management, Web services becomes both the problem and the solution. Not only do Web services need to be managed, but Web services themselves can serve as management tools.
If OASIS WSDM catches on, vendors will be employing MUWS within their management tool offerings. Thus, Web services could handle a variety of IT functions such as performance monitoring, load balancing, provisioning, security, versioning, and compliance. MOWS is a different animal, but may be our best hope for taming the spaghetti networks that could make Web services too untenable for SOA.
IBM has also submitted a self-configuration specification to OASIS, Bartlett says. "When you go to deploy applications, or any type of software, is it a standardized packaged format in which you can capture all of the dependencies that are required, so they can be handled in a programmatic fashion."