IBM Links Development, Operations with New Toolkits

With the release of two toolkits this week, IBM has dramatically sped up the time it takes to find and solve application problems by more closely linking development and operations, analysts said.

The company has integrated Tivoli, its application management software, with Rational, its testing and development tool.

Find, Solve Problem

The Problem Resolution Toolkit allows support personnel to access the performance and quality information stored in Tivoli. The other, the Performance Optimization Toolkit, will identify problems that come up in the testing of applications, point out the probable causes and suggest resolutions.

“It’s an obvious good thing to do and, starting with performance monitoring, is the right first foot to put forward,” Melissa Webster, IDC research director, told TechNewsWorld. “This is the wave of the future. We’re going to see lots of vendors trying to reduce these friction points.”

It is more likely that systems will experience performance slowdowns as opposed to going down completely. Finding and fixing the problems quickly can make a big difference in how much business is lost, or for service providers, if they are meeting their service level agreements.

Less Wasted Time

“Ideally you want to be able to isolate the problem at the tier-one service level instead of giving problems to application developers to solve and wasting their time,” George Hamilton, Yankee Group senior analyst, told TechNewsWorld. “Just getting the problem in the right hands is an issue. Often, the wrong people have to look at the problem to try to figure out where it’s coming from before it gets into the right hands.”

Most system management software never looks at the application source code, he said, but in a recent Yankee Group survey of 300 IT managers in the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, 23 percent said their No. 1 cause of problems is software bugs.

Immediate Benefit

IBM has a great advantage in that it owns both the performance management and testing software and has a large and overlapping install base of customers who will immediately benefit from the toolkits, Webster said. “It should be very well received,” she said.

Hamilton said that it was the first time he had seen such tight integration between performance and development tools. Because the two departments can be separated not just on the organizational chart, but also physically by miles or even time zones, being able to easily access the information and having a tool that can point to probable causes without having to root the issue through several departments and layers of trouble-shooting should speed resolution from days to hours, Hamilton and Webster agreed.

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