None of the major system vendors, such as Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, and Tivoli, had shown much interest in the AS/400 in the past. But at Tivoli that started to change when the company was acquired by IBM in early 1996.
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Up to that point IBM was planning to serve its AS/400 customers with the SystemView product set, launched for the platform six months earlier (and still available and supported today). But with the acquisition of Tivoli it made more sense to deploy that company's existing system management expertise for AS/400 users, and that has been the thrust of development since then.
Up to 1996 Tivoli had been concentrating on Unix, and to a lesser extent Windows NT, as its major areas of expansion. The company was particularly strong in the Sun and HP Unix, Windows NT and Novell environments. But in 1997 Tivoli started supporting the AS/400 on its flagship product set, Tivoli Enterprise, by introducing a TEC (Tivoli Enterprise Console) Adapter for the product. This allows monitoring of alerts via a centralised console.
That small beginning was followed a year later by the introduction of full support for the AS/400 as part of Tivoli Enterprise Version 3.6. This brought the AS/400 within the architectural framework of the Enterprise product set as a single managed object, or endpoint. It was done via a piece of software called a Tivoli Management Agent, or TMA. The TMA communicates via a gateway with a management server, which provides the system management functionality, maintains the associated database, and displays messages and information on a central console.
Tivoli initially introduced two of its five main system management applications for the AS/400: real time monitoring and inventory management. Monitoring is performed at job, subsystem and communications levels, and incorporates automated responses to preprogrammed sets of circumstances. Inventory management covers hardware, software (AS/400 licensed program products) and PTFs.
These have successively been followed by the other three applications: software distribution; user administration; and security. Software distribution covers PTFs, files, and objects, as well as program products. User administration allows you to control who is on the system and what aspects of it they have access to. Security allows control by object, resource and group.
All five of these applications are centrally managed from a console, using the same techniques as for all other platforms. So an AS/400 running any version of OS/400 still supported by IBM can now be managed in an IT environment in exactly the same way as a mainframe, a Unix, or an NT server, and by the same people who are already doing this without their needing any additional training. Other than OS/400, the only software prerequisites are TCP/IP and an AS/400 source editor, such as Code/400 (used for configuration and to create tasks).
Tivoli is planning to expand on this, by 'moving the AS/400 up the Tivoli architecture', as AS/400 marketing segment manager Aaron Tobin puts it. 'We will be supporting the AS/400 as a Tivoli gateway,' promises Tobin, 'which means you can attach end points to an AS/400, and manage them from it.'
With this facility TMA software sits in the object to be managed, and communicates with the gateway. It can download programs from the gateway on demand to sort out problems. AS/400s running OS/400 V4R3, and above, will be able to run the gateway.
Tivoli is also planning to add application management, providing similar facilities dedicated to and tailored for specific applications. Two applications are currently planned, Domino and MQSeries.
Tivoli Manager for Domino is scheduled to become available on the AS/400 during this summer - the release date had not been finalised as we went to press, but it will probably be about the time this issue is published.
According to Tobin: 'You will be able to manage Domino on an AS/400 as you can do today on NT.' Tivoli's product will support Domino 4.6 and 5.0, and will run on OS/400 V4R3 and above, as will Tivoli Manager for MQSeries, which is a little further down the track but should still be out this year. It will support MQSeries for AS/400 V4.2.1, and will provide configuration management, availability, and performance monitoring, event management, and software distribution and installation.
All of this Tivoli Enterprise product set is aimed at the large corporate user running AS/400s as part of a complex IT infrastructure that typically includes mainframes and Unix and NT servers, as well. But what about the smaller customer, for whom the AS/400 is the principal server platform?
Tivoli has a separate product, IT Director, aimed at SMEs. According to European product manager Greg Slade: 'Small to medium companies have the same management issues and needs.' So IT Director contains much the same functionality as Tivoli Enterprise, but differs in that it is not tied to the Enterprise framework. This makes it easier to install and use, essential for sites without a large staff of skilled IT professionals.
IT Director was introduced for users of NT, Windows 95, and OS/2 systems. Tivoli added AS/400 support around a year ago, in the third quarter of 1999, in Version 2.1 of IT Director. This allows both support of AS/400s as managed objects and use of the AS/400 as the management server, using DB2/400 as the data repository.
The three major functions offered by IT Director are real time monitoring; inventory; and hyperautomation.
Monitoring covers all the key AS/400 resources, and allows the user to set performance thresholds that trigger alerts. Inventory covers both hardware and software, and includes IP addresses. Hyperautomation is Tivoli's word for automating responses to predefined sets of circumstances.
For the future, says Slade: 'We will start application monitoring and, specific to V4R4, we will be able to do software distribution.' Application management, says Slade: 'Is one of the big requests; users want to manage the applications as well as the systems. Mainly this is for Domino.'
With the growth of e-commerce, and the arrival of storage area networks, storage management is becoming an increasingly important part of system management, both from the user's point of view, and from the supplier's (Tivoli expects to gain more revenues from storage management than from its traditional system management products for the first time this year).
According to Tivoli San strategy manager Ron Riffe: 'One of our themes is to assist customers in lowering the total cost of ownership. Our approach is to integrate traditional system management techniques with storage management techniques, to provide a common solution.
'Tivoli has created techniques for network management, consolidating events, creating help desk functions, centralised reporting, and fixing of problems, and trending analysis - we have products in all those areas. One of our big initiatives is to take all our storage management products, and fully integrate them with Tivoli event console and application management pieces. Everything we create will be able to be integrated with system management.'
Tivoli is starting here from a much stronger position in the IBM market than it did with its system management products. IBM has offered a version of its ADSM product for the AS/400 since 1994. Since last year this product has been marketed by Tivoli, and it has accordingly been rechristened Tivoli Storage Manager. With the advent of AS/400 support within Tivoli Enterprise, these two products can now be integrated in the way Riffe describes.
Tivoli Storage Manager provides traditional storage management facilities, such as backup/restore, archiving, and disk space management, and also hierarchical storage management, allowing migration of data from one storage device to another, according to predefined policies.
More recently, Tivoli has allowed the AS/400 to be used as a client within an enterprise infrastructure where another platform is designated as the server. That applies from OS/400 V4R3 onwards.
So Tivoli is offering AS/400 users system management facilities that have just not been available up till now. The company feels it has a real advantage in tapping the huge market of AS/400 users. As Greg Slade says: 'Nobody does what we do: nobody is doing integrated system management from a centralised console.'