IBM's Tivoli cloud management tool upgrade includes the ability to deploy virtual machines in seconds and manage public cloud environments with the same data center management tool. But there's potential for frustration as well: IBM's list of supported platforms, at least in this first iteration of the beta release, includes some notable absences.
"There are still some things that need to be done," said Melvin Greer, a senior fellow and chief strategist for cloud computing at Lockheed Martin Information Systems, an IBM user. Greer attended IBM's Pulse conference here to discuss the new tools with IBM officials.
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IBM said Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM), which now has the ability to rapidly deploy VMs, will support the following virtual environments: AIX LPARS (logical partitions) WPARS (workload partitions), KVM, Solaris Zones and VMware. Among the missing: Microsoft's Hyper-V.
IBM also said TPM will extend its service management capabilities to clouds outside the data center. But the only one mentioned was IBM's own cloud, not Google's, Amazon.com's or another public cloud provider, although IBM officials indicated plans to support a list of providers. It does have monitoring tools for some of these environments.
Lockheed Martin is a major vendor for the federal government, and its customers are heading in all types of cloud directions. His cloud customers have a need for broader support.
"When we talk about a hybrid cloud environment, we're not just talking about enterprise to an IBM cloud, we're talking across cloud implementations," said Greer. Lockheed Martin is working on tools to help it harmonize these clouds and make their management more interoperable and secure.
"We are building cloud computing capabilities that do that because our customers use all different clouds," he said.
Greer added that IBM is moving in the direction of broader support. "One of the challenges that all cloud providers have is to move from this siloed cloud perspective to one that is interoperable and that provides for better data portability," Greer said. The product announcements that IBM made this week "are starting down that path."
Greer also pointed to some of IBM's recent acquisitions as evidence of the company's push.
Those acquisitions include three companies last year that specialize in integration and management: Cast Iron Software, a cloud integration company; Lombardi Software, a provider of business process management software and services; and Sterling Commerce, which integrates customer, partner and supplier networks across industries.