IBM adds assessment tools to data center services

New tools automate much of the manual labor of collecting IT inventories and building assessments

Using its research in analytics, IBM has created 18 assessment tools that it is incorporating into its IT services offerings.

The tools would allow IBM Global Technology Services to offer data center assessment services that would cost less and take less time than competing offerings, said Steven Sams, IBM vice president of site and facilities services. They automate much of the manual labor of collecting IT inventories and building assessments, he said.

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After contracting with Global Technology Services, a customer can have IBM run these tools to understand the impact of a potential change to the IT infrastructure, in terms of finance, reliability, and growth of business. "They can compare different kind of scenarios and understand what might be the best fit for their business," Sams said.

IBM Research developed the analytical reasoning capabilities that power the tools, and has applied for 21 patents around some of the fundamental ideas.

The tools generally do three things, Sams said. They assess the current state for inefficiencies. They can compare different options for improving the infrastructure. They also offer capabilities to help automate deployment.

The tools cover a range of scenarios, from planning server consolidation to better understanding the benefits and downsides of cloud computing.

One tool, for instance, is called the Alternate Cash Flow Analysis. It compares the current cost of running a data center with the costs of upgrading or building out a new facility. Another tool, the Physical Threshold Capacity Analysis, can predict network capacity requirements for future years.

Other tools assess middleware environments, virtualization, and storage networks.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com.

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