The value of IBM i platform management

As companies move to incorporate Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions, Hardware Management Console (HMC), and Blades in addition to Power™ partitions running IBM i, AIX® and Linux®, managing the resources within your enterprise is increasingly critical and more complex. A sound platform management solution needs to be integrated out-of-the-box, and provide simplicity and solve a customer's cost and skill problems. The need for such comprehensive platform management solutions is increasing. Many factors play a role in this increase, including the prevalence of networks, the increased dependency on IS resources, and the growing complexity of IS environments. IBM i differentiates itself from competitors by focusing on simplicity in deployment and management, and maintaining its low cost of ownership. It integrates IBM i platform management solutions and manageability instrumentation into the operating system. IBM i management tasks together with capabilities to manage Power, Blades, storage and virtual environments are available in the IBM Systems Director products. IBM i and Systems Director work together to solve the platform and data center management needs of our customers within a wide range of basic and complex data center environments.

In this fast-paced world, one vendor cannot supply all of the solutions. We recognize this, and have embraced a platform management strategy that includes these elements:

These elements are fundamental in the IBM i approach to platform and data center management. Our approach supports a powerful combination of business solutions that reduce your total cost of ownership. Each element of IBM's approach is designed to meet the vast variety of real-world needs our customers have. In combination, the elements of our strategy are designed to maximize the speed with which IBM can deliver management function to our customers. This strategy affords us maximum flexibility for solving the wide variety of management issues our customers may face. All of the elements support the low total cost of ownership

Function integration

IBM i function integration is one of the main elements of our platform management strategy. Platform management functions integrated within IBM i provide a set of solutions to every customer at no additional cost. IBM i platform management function capabilities include managing your system, basic operations, work management, configuration and service, network, integrated server administration, security, users and groups, databases, journal management, performance, file systems, internet configurations, and more. The management console capabilities have been expanded to incorporate access from an out-of-the-box web console, IBM Systems Director Navigator for i.

Instrumentation for management

Because there are many management solutions our customers have to choose from, IBM i management strategy includes instrumentation of resources to industry standard models and interfaces. This allows IBM i resources to be managed by any application that uses the industry standard mechanisms.

The Common Information Model (CIM) standard allows seamless systems management across platform and domain. CIM, adopted and evolved by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), is a published systems management standard and was developed in open forum by DMTF member companies, including IBM. Defined and promoted as an industry standard for managing systems, CIM is designed for describing management information between differing management applications, running in many different operating environments. This interchange takes place through the Common Information Model Object Manager (CIMOM), which is an object management engine that exists between the managed system and the management application.

IBM i includes CIM functionality with the operating system. Many resources already have been instrumented to be managed via CIM. The breadth and scope of CIM instrumentation will continue to be a focus of Power and IBM i.

In addition to CIM, in order to more completely leverage the system management capabilities of products in the IBM Systems Director family, the full, rich set of agent services are available on IBM i through the use of IBM Director 5.20 agent, on par with the agent function available in the IBM Systems Director Common Agent.

Taken in total, the ability to discover and manage Power and IBM i resources via the CIM and agent services capabilities allow Power and IBM i to be managed by a large number of IBM and industry solutions.

IBM Systems Director

The cross-platform management functionality of the IBM Systems Director family comprise another main element of the IBM i management strategy. These products provide solutions for multiple i environments and the many heterogeneous environments in which IBM i is installed. The IBM Systems Director family includes IBM Systems Director, IBM TotalStorage® Productivity Center, Active Energy Manager, and many more solutions. These solutions include open, highly scalable management environment which helps customers to manage the interaction between critical business applications, systems, networks, storage, and databases.

IBM Systems Director is an easy to use, point-and-click, simplified management solution. It is a platform management solution that streamlines the way physical and virtual systems are managed across a multi-system environment. Leveraging industry standards, Systems Director supports multiple operating systems and virtualization technologies across IBM and non-IBM platforms, including IBM i. Through a single web-based user interface, Systems Director provides consistent views for visualizing managed systems, determining how these systems relate to one another while identifying their individual status, thus helping to correlate technical resources with business needs. Specific IBM i management tasks are included with Systems Director 6.1 to deliver a simple but powerful management tool for i operating environments.

IBM Systems Director is the solution of choice for businesses that want to manage multiple i environments as well as heterogeneous environments. With Systems Director 6.1 over 300 tasks are available for managing i environments. In addition, IBM Systems Director can collect inventory of virtual storage and associated storage pools that are hosted by IBM i and used by client logical partitions and iSCSI attached BladeCenter blade and System x servers.

Partner solutions

Partner solutions are fundamental to our IBM i management strategy. IBM i continues to expand and grow the environments it supports and the solutions it provides. As this occurs, it is important to engage with systems management Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to help respond to the broad range of solutions and environments within which they are deployed. IBM targeted specific management needs for IBM i, identified a set of corresponding third-party solution providers, and worked with those ISVs through our ISV Advisory Council and ISV partner program. The focus for these solutions are more specialized areas of management such as paging, complex monitoring, security management, cross-platform scheduling, and cross-platform monitoring. These solutions are complementary to the functions provided by the integrated IBM i and IBM Systems Director family.

IBM i function integration is truly unique. When you compare it to other systems you will find that IBM i offers a wide variety of solutions that allow you to improve the way you manage your system resources. IBM i management solutions allow you to plan your path, and select particular solutions based on your specific systems management needs. These solutions can come from any of the IBM Systems Director products to address complex management needs, or one of the partners involved with our ISV partner program for specialized solutions.

IBM i management technologies

IBM i is an integrated operating system that delivers a relational database, security, communications, systems management, and many other functions, all which have been tested and work together. With IBM i, the base platform management infrastructure supports IBM i management function, provides interfaces for ISVs solutions, and provides instrumentation to be managed by IBM Systems Director products and other systems management solutions. Integration has long been a strength of IBM i and has reduced the overall complexity of platform operations and management. IBM i management functions continue to build on this strength.
IBM Systems Director Navigator for i provides an out-of-the-box Web console interface to platform management and administration for IBM i. This includes integrating solutions, the operating system, and platform management tasks with an easy-to-use Web console front-end to the system. Systems Director Navigator gives i users and administrators a familiar graphical explorer-like interface via the Web which is intuitive and easy to learn and use. The user interface helps new users approach the system and existing users become more productive as well, reducing training costs and providing more powerful functions to the user. All of this is provided at no additional cost to our customers.

As part of its integrated solutions, the base set of management capabilities extends the value proposition of i further into the network. IBM i contains many functions that you would traditionally pay extra for on other less robust systems. Some of these functions include:

IBM i delivers these functions and many others either as part of the operating system or as a no-charge feature.

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