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IBM

Tivoli Thinks About Linux 68

An anonymous reader wrote in to say "In this story Tivoli refers to the enterprise management software and a business unit of IBM. Tivoli is not only considering porting the gateway portion of the Tivoli Framework (the gateway allows management of workstations, windows, netware, os/2, as/400, etc.), but making it the only gateway platform supported!!! Thus every Tivoli implementation would require Linux. It would be important to note that currently many flavors of Unix and WinNT are the supported gateway platforms for Tivoli Framework 3.6 and there is no support for Linux at all right now. "
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Tivoli Thinks About Linux

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  • Posted by Largo_3:

    I'm a Tivoli Enterprise Consultant, and the Linux version of Framework already exists. However, it will not be released until Tivoli has a proper support division setup to support Linux. Linux will however be a supported Endpoint very soon regardless of when the Framework part comes out, also - using common sense, when Framework for Linux is released, Linux will then also be - a managed node.

    nice post and all, but its hardly a rumour, I've see the Tivoli Framework for Linux myself.

    Rodney Caston
  • Well, then that could be technically classified as a "BAD" thing.

    I guess the unspoken question is:
    Does RedHat want to be known as the Microsoft of Linux Distributions?

    I use RedHat 6.0, having only started my journey with RH 5.0. I like it, it does what I need it to do. The minute Robert Young begins to comb his thinning hair like Bill Gates, he will get a noogie.

    The real problem is getting all the suits to trust the all the guys in t-shirts. Isn't there a HOW-TO on this?
    Just as we don't want suits to force us to use a particular OS, we can't expect to force suits to use our OS. (It is ours, BTW, speaking of everyone.) They will use what gives them an advantage. They guage advantage in dollars. We use Linux because it gives us an advantage. We guage that in control.
    Now if a suit CHOOSES to use our OS, then they are beginning to see that money isn't the only way to guage advantage. I like those businesses.

    So there you are.
  • It certainly won't be any of these [ibm.com]. Despite IBM talking the talk very well, I'd like to see more consistent action. I'm thrilled with all the s/w stuff they've done, but a hardware strategy would be nice, too....
    (and yes, I'm well aware of VA Research, Penguin and other fine companies etc.)
  • Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is it? I know it's a network management software of some sort but beyond that I'm clueless.
  • Posted by Largo_3:

    Tivoli is about 4 feet of books.
  • Sing it, sister!!!

    Big corps are being challenged and unless they are willing to mutate (quickly), the small furry critters running around at their feet are going to suck the juices right out of their eggs.

    Hmm, the Internet as being analogous to the Chicxulub [lawrence.edu] Mass Extinction Event? Yup.
  • by drwiii ( 434 ) on Friday June 18, 1999 @05:07AM (#1844300)
    Thus every Tivoli implementation would require Linux.

    Is that necessarily a good thing? It'd be nice to see freedom of OS choice prevail over freedom of Linux distribution choice for their application. I'm all for Linux, don't get me wrong, but I don't think forcing people into using it (or anything) is a good thing.

    Don't want to turn into a you-know-whosoft [min.net], you know..

  • by Khan ( 19367 )
    I think while this is a GREAT thing for Linux, I have to agree that it should not be the ONLY platform for implemantation. Freedom of choice is what Linux has been about and Tivoli should follow suit. Right now we run it on AIX and it kicks butt! But, it would sure be nice to have a Linux portion added. It's great to see an Enterprise level application moving in this direction.
  • Linux is free, remember? They can bundle Linux with Tivoli if folks want. Think of it as a very sophisticated runtime environment.

    You're certainly not forcing people to buy it, so comparisons with a certain large Washington state software company are non sequitor.
  • Not quite the same thing. There are plenty of apps that run exclusively on certain operating systems. Tivoli should have the same freedom to innovate [microsoft.com] and choose a particular OS to target and support, especially if that strategy gives them an advantage:

    From the article [informationweek.com] -

    "If the only gateway we supported was Linux, it would be cheap, said chief technology officer Tim Bishop. "It would make configuration testing much easier and it would be easier to support."

    I hardly think that Tivoli has a monopoly on network management applications. Whereas it can be argued, indeed, is being argued [yahoo.com], that another company has such a monopoly on operating systems.

    Besides, if Linus became like Bill, we'd just give him a noogie and tell him to stop it.

    John Hebert
  • It seems to make sense to me. It would let them ship an all-in-one solution without really increasing the cost of their product. These management platforms tend to be really dependent on the host OS and very demanding. I'd much rather seem them standardize on a particular unix flavor - like Linux - than bail out and go to NT. Most of the time when people implement a management platform of this type they usually put in on a new, dedicated box anyway. I think it would be pretty cool to be able to install the application at the same time as the O/S.
  • I agree that freedom of choice is great, but sometimes the product suffers because of all the work put into porting to so many different operating systems. Maybe they are getting tired of supporting so many different platforms. They might have already had an initiative to move to one platform, and then made the decision to make that platform Linux. I think people would have been more upset if the requirement had been NT or AIX or any other $$$ OS. That is all speculation of course, maybe they are just trying to make money off all of us Linux people!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 1999 @05:35AM (#1844306)
    I really, really can't wait. Linux NetView.

    If Tivoli is supporting the general management stuff, that means ADSM for Linux. That means that the Linux could run the ADSM and spool the data for NT, UNIXes, and so on. That means a bulletproof management platform as part of a package. Do y'all realize how many awful copies of HPhUX OpenView has sold?

    That means that Linux would get serious jukebox and tape vault support, probably stuff for the big EMC coffins. Because it needs to be watched. That means that 3Com and Madge and Fore and Intel will be releasing networking tools that work with Linux and interface with the Tivoli tools.

    That means that SAP with DB2 or Informix (or Oracle or Sysbase if you must) will be able to pull some serious numbers, especially with the JFS coming in one descrition or another. And all of this will interface with the management tools, and will bring in batching stuff, financial stuff, and possibly a Linux Workload Manager (ohhhhhh -- kids -- you have no idea how sweet that would be). That means more serious database tools for Linux, because the large storage would be there, with the backup, with the databases, all managed. That means SAS tools. That means clustering and more VMs.

    That means that I might get a chance to work with Linux/SAP/DB2 combos backed up with ADSM on DLT libraries, terabyte storage on EMCs and SAS tools to mine it, all controlled with the Tivoli stuff reducing the 04:00 pages, and all making Linux the simple and clear choice for hard core ERP. All with a workload manager like MVS.

    Guys, this is the entering wedge. This is the beginning of the end. I predict that in five years Microsoft will be 1/20th the size it is today and will be acquired by someone else for legacy service contract support. Perhaps IBM will get their revenge after all.

    The next big thing will be when one of the large UNIX companies (I am betting Compaq) opens up their UNIX code to the world under GPL or close and decides to contribute heavily to Linux to cut their development costs. Then another (I am betting one of the smaller ones, like DG), then another (HP?), and then the largely NT big iron companies will start to come over (NCR, anyone).

    Savor the sweet taste of cold revenge ...
  • I think people would have been more upset if the requirement had been NT or AIX or any other $$$ OS.

    Having one business unit(Tivoli) actively attempt to prevent the sales of another(AIX) is something that I wouldn't have expected even IBM to consider.

  • by rhaig ( 24891 )
    So, does this mean they'll stop shipping their product with perl4 and use perl5 instead?
  • Tivoli have too many large customers that rely on that 'can't keep it up to save your life' os: NT.
    ---
    Ryan Wilhelm
    Lotus Notes Administrator
    Executive Risk, Inc.
  • I agree that this is great for us penguin heads and the os, and it's a good stab in the side of the evil empire (M$), but what the H311 is big blau doing here. Market it as a price-point advantage to go with the Linux version at the same time continue support on other platforms.
  • I doubt they would 'bundle' it; more likely, they'll add their modifications to the kernel and ship that. This is probably why they want to use linux; since a lot of what they are doing is running at a very low level (raw packet level), they want something they can control at that level. Although you can do this in Solaris/AIX/NT, if you have kernel sources, it becomes easier.

    Of course, at this point, you can almost run this like Cisco's IOS, shipping a firewall OS.

    It's a bold step, but I can't see it happening anytime soon; Tivoli might start shipping linux stuff by the year end, but I doubt they'll drop other OS support for at least two years, possibly more.
    --

  • Unless I missed something, the IBM guy did not say that they were going to support Linux only now, just that it would be cheaper. This is pretty obvious - it's cheaper to support one OS than lots.

    I think they would have difficulty trying to get everyone to use just Linux, in companies and deperatments where they currently have no Linux installations, and hence so sys-admin. This is for enterprise level stuff, so this is important.

    At the moment, all they seem definate about is adding Linux support, to their current list. Migrating to Linux-only seems more like wishful thinking in the short/medium term.

    (gripe mode on) If you're going to post stories like this, why couldn't you post one I submitted the other day - Sun licensing their JavaServer Pages/servlet source code to the Apache Group, and letting Apache distribute that source code under the Apache license. see the Jakarta home page [apache.org] and this JavaWorld article [javaworld.com](grip mode off)

  • Well, this would definitely be a good thing for Linux. This would really help dent NT's appeal and could help make people see the benefits of free software.

    This has been addressed before, but here goes. Other OS makers love to discredit Linux's "free" appeal because they claim that "the OS is a minimal cost in terms of the big picture." How valid a statement is that? It merely jumps the issue. Linux is free so you pay nothing for it. Is it the only cost in a computing solution? Of course not.

    Big or small computing, the OS is going to factor in. In the PC market, the OS is the only major componant that seems to increase its price. How can we call OS price insignificant? On a PC, you can eliminate somewhere near $100 if you don't add Win98. On large multi-user systems, the cost of liscencing and per-user are zero under Linux. How can that be insignificant?
    -Clump
  • Um, could you send me your e-mail address? I think we have the beginnings of a business plan here...

    John Hebert
  • by ajf ( 7321 )

    Having one business unit(Tivoli) actively attempt to prevent the sales of another(AIX) is something that I wouldn't have expected even IBM to consider.

    I take it you've never been an OS/2 user then. Those of us who have wouldn't be surprised at all.

  • Tivoli is a very expensive package, which usually means that it is used in large shops that have large operating budgets. I have no hard stats, but I'd be willing to bet that it is these shops that have higher beauracracy and unwillingness to commit to an "unsupported" OS for mission critical apps yet.

    I'd be very happy to just see Tivoli support Linux as an endpoint / managed node. Still an interesting development in Linux's preogress to world domination!!!
  • I always thought it was that amusement park in Copenhagen...
  • Man, did this you just about cream yourself or what? Slow down..... take big deep breaths....

    :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    THIS COMMENT IS ENTIRELY OF MY OWN OPINION AND DOES REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER, TIVOLI SYSTEMS.

    If you read the acticle carefully, you'll notice that Tivoli never stated that they would support Linux Gateways as the only platform. They said it would be cost effective if they did.

    Tivoli will not drop its entire OS support line for Gateways in favor of linux. Nobody in their right mind would. There is too much money to be made. However, I can see the need and usefullness of supplying pre-built gateways running linux to customers. When a new customer(or existing one) is considering the layout of a 3.6 Tivoli Implementation, machines designated as gateways are necessary for the implementation. Often new machines need to purchased. Customers always ask what kind of machine do I need to buy? Unix or NT? Sun or AIX? By having the ability to supply the customer with a machine pre-configured as a gateway, which happens to run on the linux, this is a cost-effective solution that we COULD OFFER to our customers.

    However, since Tivoli Systems is a software company, not a hardware company, I don't see in the forseeable future Tivoli shipping a pre-configured linux box with the Tivoli Gateway installed. However, I can see Tivoli Systems partering with a company who would supply those machines. This partner would be responsible for the Hardware and OS support while Tivoli Systems would support the Tivoli Software.

  • ..a little trouble with your CAPS LOCK key, dude?
  • Hmm... a good point. What makes it acceptable to support only one OS and not only one distribution?

    Thing is, I can answer that one. The differences between distributions are sufficiently small and user-configurable (if the app says glibc 2.0 on a kernel not prior to 2.0.2 with libraries of this-and-such versions being installed, that's easy to do without changing distro). Heck, my RedHat 5.2 is practically Mandrake... If I'd gone another route it could be very similar to any other RPM-based distro.

    So, should I be supported? What about someone who bought another RPM-based distro and modified it to be like Red Hat? Why even make a distinction?

    These issues don't exist across multiple OSs... there are very real issues there (the nonportability of binary code and OS-specific bugs/features being among them) -- and you can't tell someone running HPUX, as you can someone running Slackware, to just use a Linux 2.2 kernel.
  • Cary,

    Could you send me an e-mail at my work address [mailto]? I started at CA recently; I'll try to find out for you.

    Jeff

  • This is not specifically true. The biggest advantage to using Endpoints is that you can have more than 200 of them in one TMR, in addition to the smaller footprint. Looking at the big picture, very soon there won't be many things that will need Managed Nodes. There are man services that right now today in Tivoli 3.6 require that Endpoint be installed on the Managed Node.

    Still and all, Tivoli rocks, Linux or no. One issue that I'd be concerned about is that while I would like my gateways (technically, gateway proxy hosts) to be appliances, we still have that PC-hardware is hard to manage remotely in the datacenter (the serial-port console issue from the other day).
  • It's IT management software for large high end enterprise situations... Take a look at their webpage (cited in the article).
  • True, but two points. First, the Linux box is only the gateway, not the management console or the managed boxes. You can still manage things from your NT desktop box, and manage NT, Unix and other types of boxes. Second, those large customers need Tivoli. It's much like word processing: if you need to use MS Word, you buy whatever OS MS Word runs on. Considering that it's one box out of hundreds that needs to be replaced if Tivoli goes to a Linux-only gateway, that's not a big deal.

    And I doubt those large customers will mind not having to worry about the management gateway crashing on a weekly basis.

  • What problems are you having with Tivoli? It looks to me like you have nothing really to say, but a one-liner's worth of FUD.
  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 )
    Firstly, let me say that if you're enterprise is running on Windows, then the cost of the OS is still going to be significant. If you're using Windows NT client, you're going to be paying through the nose. Still, compared to say, the cost of all the sys-admin involved with Windows NT, plus the hardware, infra-structure, training etc, it might not be that significant. Though, after the initial payment on the hardware (once off), the ongoing software costs are going to be pretty significant, as it's yearly. If you want to include hidden costs though (ie loss of work due to system outages), then we could be much crueler to Windows...

    On the other hand, if we compare to proprietary Unix OSs, then the software costs are much lower. Unix software is generally considered expensive - this is often true for a single user, or small number of users, but often it becomes very cheap (per user) for an enterprise setup. For example, the RRP for Solaris workstation is about $400, though you can get it much cheaper than this - free for non-commercial usage. That's obviously more than Windows. However, getting an infinite user license for Solaris costs $1500 or something, meaning if you have 1000 users in your company, it costs $1.50 for each one for the OS. NT workstation is $250 (or something like that) per user, and you don't really get volume discounts.

    Putting it on a different level... for the high-end/datacenter level, the hardware could easily cost several million. Compared to this, a couple of hundred for the cost of the OS is nothing. Besides which, the cost of the proprietary OS will be included in the cost of the hardware, effectively for free. (I believe you can get Sun hardware without the OS, which does give you a small discount - the cost of the CDs, books and other media, which is about $20 or something)

    On another level... the cost of migrating can be pretty huge - first, you need to re-train your sys-admin (or chuck out the old ones, and get in some new) which can be pretty painful. Ditto if you have software developers. Then you need to re-train your staff, port your specialist software (if applies), etc etc. You also have to figure in the cost of downtime while this is all going on. This is why people are still using 'ancient' mainframes - because a) the risk of moving is too much, and b) it probably does what you need already anyway.

  • someone moderate this down as it's obviously just a troll
  • It is important to remember that they are talking about only Linux just on the middle server. This box is responsible for communication between the agents on the end-point managed machines (servers doing the actual work or workstations used by employees) and the software used by the people responsible for managing the network. In other words, Linux will be run on a box that has a very singular purpose, data collecting and playing middle man and runs only software from Tivoli. Usually no one sits at or tries to run another application on it.

    For this reason, supporting one OS at this level is a decent idea. Tivoli will not have test fewer combinations of OS's used. Their management environment is already complex considering the different types of end-point boxes they can handle (workstations to high-end servers and mainframes). Now communication to these end-points will be coming from only one OS and one code tree.

    To me, this is kind of like choosing Linux as an embedded OS becuase in most cases it will be serving one purpose and that is all. Nice, closed, and manageable.

    Users lose little or nothing because of this. The network management people still get their NT, 98, Solaris, or whatever in front of them on their desk.

    Still this approach to integrating Linux is backwards from the normal. Usually, a company would add Linux support on the periphery. In this case that would mean allowing Linux to be a managed end-point. Minimal risks. Instead, they are yanking it in and counting on it.

    Before, if their customers had chosen NT to run this server and NT puked on them, the could say that it was the customer's fault because the chose NT. Tivoli has no way out here if Linux fails, except to fix the problems in Linux that are causing the failures, resulting in a better OS for us.

  • While it's good that Tivoli's gateway will run on Linux, it's VERY bad if it only runs on Linux. Not only is it the very thing we currently protest (programs only available on Windows or Mac), but homogenous networks are scary. If something takes down one system it can take down them all (e.g. recent viruses and worms on Windows), while on hetrogenous networks only some hosts will be vulnerable. I'd rather have some systems run Linux, some run *BSD, some run Solaris, and a few with other, less common systems (MacOS X, BeOS, etc) than all Linux. It's more of an administration hassle to manage many diffirent systems but I feel safer with a hetrognenous network.
  • Heh, 4 feet of books is right. I just started on a project working with this thing, and I've spent my first week reading manuals and doing cbt's. It's basically a software package for maintaining most aspects in an enterprise of computers. You can distribute software, manage users and groups, monitor events (like log file entries), run or schedule jobs, monitor the network, and a whole slew of other things. All of this from a single console or parse it up any way you like. You can have multiple admins with different privledges and areas to watch over. You can run it on several varieties of unix, 95, 98, and nt. No support for the mac yet, and as you can see, linux is in the works. The good thing about working with this thing is the labs you get to play in, and all the travel to customer sites installing it :-)
  • IBM will start to run soon.

    Step one, more to come. Time is on our side. Linux doesn't rely on quarterly income to keep succeeding, while the alternatives to Linux (except for freeBSD) do. Hmm, come to think of it, now _that_ would be a nice OS dominance war, between the open source UNIXes of Linux and freeBSD. Only good can come of that!

    (remember, Lotus Notes/Domino is owned by IBM also, and they are releasing a Linux version of the full R5 server edition this year).

  • From what I am reading, this sounds like an application where they can embed Linux so deeply into the server that nobody needs to know what OS it is running or how. I envision them shipping a single CD with OS and server application (and of course source code for the Linux part of the project- for what that's worth) and it being a plug-and-play solution. They can tailor and fine tune the Linux part of the distribution and make it exactly what they want. I don't see them, in this vein, supporting any currently existing 'distribution' of Linux. It's to their advantage to roll their own. There also will be no reason for them to GPL any of their code.

  • Isn't Tivoli owned by IBM? They might make a good "partner".
    --
  • Posted by Largo_3:

    Shesh, it sounds like you work for my company (SRA) :P
  • You've got to consider the IBM mentality. To the big blue, everything should be run on mainframes. They're big machines that are fast as all get out, but they only do one or two things. The gateway software will only run on Linux. They'll ship with their product a preinstalled box that just does this gateway stuff. It doesn't really matter what os it's running on because it's only a gateway. It's like a collating, stapling printer for Tivoli. It's not going to hurt you if your printer internally runs on Linux as long as it connects to NT and AIX perfectly which is what these gateway machines will do.

    I think this is not only a great step for Linux, but a great step for the Enterprise Server Industry. The middleman machine is once more going to be a fast as hell one-trick bitty box, but now it will be completely reconfigurable when no longer useful as a gateway.

    Summary: Good Thing

  • What if that line read:
    "If the only gateway we supported was Red Hat, it would be cheap, said chief technology officer Tim Bishop. "It would make configuration testing much easier and it would be easier to support."??? (Italicized part is edited)


    Comments, anyone?
  • This is fantastic news. I worked with Tivoli 3.2 at my previous job and was really wowed by the neat stuff they have. Of course, the first question I asked of the sales-support guy was, "Does it run on Linux?" A lot of the features and optional packages are done (often done better) in other products, but having them all use the TMF framework is incredibly handy at times, and reduces headaches.

    However, I'd like to point out that not ALL Tivoli installations require a gateway server; only those that deal with so-called "endpoints" in the Tivoli Lite Client Framework (LCF). The LCF was introduced in an earlier version of TME 10 (the old name for Tivoli Enterprise) and was designed originally to make Win9x machines work better with Tivoli and to allow for a smaller Tivoli footprint on end-user workstations. My understanding is that LCF is gradually becoming the preferred method of connecting Tivoli clients, but servers (both Un*x and NT) work better with the old "managed node" scheme, which doesn't require a gateway.

    So if you're not using Tivoli to manage end-user PCs, a gateway is not really required.

    Just a minor point of correction :)
  • I've heard employees pronounce it "TIH-vo-lee" (long O).

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."

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