Tivoli Updates Enterprise Management Suite

Tivoli Systems Inc. (Austin, Texas, www.tivoli.com) has announced a new name and a new version of its flagship TME 10 enterprise management package. Tivoli Enterprise sports a new three-tier architecture and a significantly streamlined client-side agent that is designed to ease management chores. But the release has generated mixed reviews from analysts.

In addition to the management server and client, Tivoli has added a gateway tier, which acts like a traffic cop within each Tivoli management region, according to Martin Neath, Tivoli's executive vice president. As a result, each management server can now handle 10,000 desktops distributed among 10 gateways, up from 2,500. "The gateway enables more flexibility because the customer can place them close to the systems to be managed," Neath says.

On the client side, the Tivoli Management Agent has been enhanced with what Tivoli is calling One Touch Management: Once the agent is installed, all future updates of this and other desktop software can be updated and installed from the server. The new agent is considerably smaller than the previous version, which makes for quicker installation as well, Neath says.

As a result of the enhancements in the architecture and the client component, Enterprise can be deployed much more quickly than previous versions, Neath says. "The previous version scaled to large environments, but it took a long time [to implement]," he says.

The Gartner Group (Stamford, Conn.) predicted that the previous version would take more than 18 months to deploy in a large environment. On the other hand, Halifax PLC, a British bank based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, was able to deploy Enterprise to a network with 21,000 workstations within 7 weeks, according to Neath.

In a statement on the Tivoli announcement, International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass., www.idc.com) analyst R. Paul Mason wrote that the drastic decrease in size of the management agent -- from 60 MB in the previous version to about 1 MB in the new version -- means that "Tivoli Enterprise is now able to effectively provide the full range of management services for large numbers of desktops and servers (rather than for just a few servers) and without lengthy and costly software installation."

Ray Paquet, a research director in the network and systems management service at Gartner Group, also praised Tivoli’s new management agent. "The fact that you only have to touch a machine once to deploy the software -- they've tackled that one technology issue," he says.

However, Paquet cautions companies hoping to find a technology solution for their IT management problems. "I don't think there's anything wrong per se with the Tivoli products," Paquet says. "[But] 80 percent of your budget should be on organization and process. Technology is the least important part of the solution. Technology is never going to solve this problem."

In order to improve management, companies need to answer questions about their IT organization and goals instead of relying on technology, Paquet says. "Tivoli doesn't help to answer these questions, but neither does anyone else," he explains.

Several companies have agreed to ship the Tivoli Management Agent with their products, including 3Com Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.), which has installed the agent onto its network interface cards; Microsoft Corp., which plans to ship the agent with NT Server 5; and IBM Corp., which is shipping the agent on Netfinity servers, ThinkPad laptops and many desktop models. Any of these products will be automatically recognized by Enterprise when installed on the network, Tivoli’s Neath says.

Tivoli also announced updated versions of several of its management packages, including Software Distribution, User Administration, Inventory, Distributed Monitoring, Enterprise Console, Security Management and Remote Control. Also, the new suite includes several new applications, such as Tivoli Service Desk, which is designed to help IT managers fulfill service level agreements they have made with the department they support, and Tivoli Decision Support, which administrators can use to analyze data generated by the Enterprise management system.