IBM has been talking about autonomic computer--the Holy Grail of self-regulating IT, as in the way the nervous system regulates and protects the human body autonomically--since the beginning of the century. To be precise, in October 2001 IBM Research published the "IBM Autonomic Computing Manifesto," with the premise:
"It's time to design and build computing systems capable of running themselves, adjusting to varying circumstances, and preparing their resources to handle most efficiently the workloads we put upon them. These autonomic systems must anticipate needs and allow users to concentrate on what they want to accomplish rather than figuring how to rig the computing systems to get them there."
In other words, reduce the complexity of deploying and managing infrastructure, letting machines do what they are good at and minimize human intervention.
This week IBM introduced a new version of its Systems Director Active Energy Manager (AME), energy management software that tracks power consumption in data centers and applies automomic capabilities to monitor and minimize the cost to run systems. AEM lets users set maximum power levels per system and manage power usage to increase energy efficiency.
Active Energy Manager will be available next month, starting at $100 per system. In addition, IBM is applying the autonomic description to automation features in its vast Tivoli software product line.
IBM is riding the wave of the industry hyper-focus on energy efficiency. Last week, the company introduced an energy efficiency certification program, in which Neuwing Energy Ventures provides a third-party verification of energy efficiency that can be traded for cash or credit on the energy certificate market.
Increased automation and energy savings are the mantra of every company selling into enterprises. IBM rival HP calls it the adaptive enterprise, and recently acquired Opsware to assist in that effort. HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling technology automatically (autonomically) adjusts settings if changes occur that impact temperature in a datacenter. And, today HP announced a new blade server configuration of its ProLiant BL460c that the company claims uses up to 47 percent less power than traditional 1U servers.
Combining green thinking and technologies to reduce power consumption (and costs) and automation in the form of more self-regulating systems is the one sure way to keep money from corporate IT budgets flowing into vendor pockets.