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IBM and Cisco Unveil Innovative Approach Toward a Self-Healing Infrastructure

Companies Collaborate on Technologies and Standards to Address IT Complexity

Armonk, NY & San Jose, CA - 10 Oct 2003: ...IBM and Cisco today announced a set of open software technologies designed to increase the end-to-end intelligence and responsiveness of the global IT infrastructure -- representing a major advancement in the development of "self-healing" computing systems and networks.

IBM and Cisco are working on a set of proposed technologies and standards creating a common language to detect, log and resolve system problems. The two companies will further outline this initiative next week at IBM's annual CIO conference in San Diego, CA.

IBM plans to start integrating these new autonomic technologies into its entire portfolio of software, storage and server hardware products immediately. In the second phase of this initiative, Cisco intends to integrate these technologies into its products and services. Together the system and network enhancements will help to enable a self-healing enterprise infrastructure.

Pioneered within both companies development labs, the new problem determination technologies are envisioned as the basis for standardized exchange of problem determination data across the IT enterprise. These new technologies lay the foundation for systems and networks to detect, analyze, correlate, and resolve IT problems and automatically diagnose the root cause of a problem in complex systems. Customer data centers have a large set of products with diverse and often proprietary instrumentation, which makes end-to-end analysis difficult or impossible.  Adapting an architected, standards-based design results in an infrastructure that helps enable delivery of end-to-end problem determination and problem remediation.

"As system and network complexity in IT infrastructures has grown it has become increasingly apparent that this trend cannot continue without some major change in the way the infrastructures are managed," said Alan Ganek, vice president, IBM Autonomic Computing. "IT professionals from medium and large businesses have told us that 25-50 percent of their IT resource is spent on problem determination. Given the pressures on budgets, time, and skills, our work on standards based technologies for problem determination will make it faster and easier to improve availability and reduce downtime in their IT infrastructure."
 
"Today's IT environment is becoming increasingly complex for enterprises to manage," said Greg Akers, senior vice president, Cisco Systems.  "Recognizing this trend, Cisco and IBM are collaborating on technologies and standards that will form the foundation for an interoperable, extensible, and systemically developed adaptive networking and services architecture.  We hope others in the industry will adapt the proposed standards and help enterprises realize the benefits of an autonomic, or self-managing, IT infrastructure."

The new technologies are part of the companies' commitment to develop and drive open standards. IBM and Cisco are working across the industry to develop an open standards approach. IBM has submitted a Common Base Event (CBE) format, which is envisioned as the basis for standardized exchange of problem determination data via web services, to the OASIS Standards Body.

"Toshiba has been working with IBM to accelerate practical autonomic computing, such as the combination of Toshiba ClusterPerfect and IBM Director," said Akira Bannai, Senior Fellow, Toshiba Solutions Corporation. "Now, by adopting common base event technology into Toshiba's products and system integration services, Toshiba will deploy more powerful solutions to reduce the complexity of today's heterogeneous enterprise environments."

Once problem determination tools and processes are implemented, enterprises have the ability to diagnose problems more quickly, and often before they happen, reducing downtime and the associated revenue losses.

Building and implementing networked self-healing systems into the enterprise environment is a gradual one and IBM has already begun helping the industry by developing a common approach and terminology to architecting autonomic computing systems. In April IBM introduced the autonomic computing blueprint, which is based on open standards and is designed around developing self-managing systems that use intelligent control loops to collect information from the system, make decisions and then adjust the system as necessary. IBM is also working with the business partner community, providing ISVs with the latest technologies as well as supporting them in bringing new applications to market with these latest capabilities, all built around open standards.
 
One of the factors contributing to the complexity in problem determination can be attributed to the multitude of ways that different parts of a system report events, conditions, errors, and alerts. Today, even simple e-business solutions may contain as many as 25 to 40 logging mechanisms. These log files contain a variety of content formats because systems are built using disparate pieces and parts, often with products from multiple vendors. Technology developed by the IBM Research Division has been crucial to overcoming these difficulties by providing a way to automatically learn the format of log files, thereby reducing the time required to process and develop interfaces to new log data (often from days to hours).

The network has always played a pivotal role in enabling companies to automate their business processes.  As the network increases in strategic value, the intelligence of the network becomes the determining factor in customer success. Cisco continues to lead in the creation of integrated intelligent networks through the delivery of faster, smarter, lasting systems, services, products, and technologies.

During this process, businesses can expect to see value on numerous levels, including a reduced total cost of ownership, improved availability and productivity.

IBM and Cisco have a global strategic alliance, which offers customers industry-leading, integrated e-business solutions. The two companies draw on their strengths in Internet infrastructure, e-business systems, networks and services to deliver end-to-end Internet business solutions to enterprises and service providers.

More information is available at www.ibm.com/autonomic.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business.  For more information about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.  News and information are available at www.cisco.com.

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Cisco, Cisco Systems, the Cisco Systems logo and Cisco IOS are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. in the U.S. and certain other countries.  All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.

Contact(s) information

Michael Loughran
IBM Media Relations
(914) 784-5206
mloughra@us.ibm.com

Kim Gibbons
Cisco Systems, Inc.
(408) 525-4909
kgibbons@cisco.com

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System i, System p, System x, System z, BladeCenter, and Supercomputers
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