Autonomic Computing

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IT operations costs are accelerating, and today's increasingly complex architectures and distributed computing infrastructures only make matters worse. The solution: autonomic computing. Autonomic systems are self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing, and self-protecting. They operate intelligently and dynamically, acting on your policies and service requirements. This book presents everything IT leaders and managers need to know to prepare for autonomic computing -- and ...
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IT operations costs are accelerating, and today's increasingly complex architectures and distributed computing infrastructures only make matters worse. The solution: autonomic computing. Autonomic systems are self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing, and self-protecting. They operate intelligently and dynamically, acting on your policies and service requirements. This book presents everything IT leaders and managers need to know to prepare for autonomic computing -- and to begin leveraging its benefits.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131440258
  • Publisher: IBM Press
  • Publication date: 3/25/2004
  • Pages: 309
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

RICHARD MURCH has worked with IBM and Andersen Consulting. He iscurrently a Project Manager and Consultant in Columbus, Ohio. A regularspeaker at systems development conferences throughout North America,Europe, Asia, and the Pacific, he has managed IT projects of virtuallyevery type and size over a period of 30 years. His Prentice Hall booksinclude Project Management: Best Practices for IT Professionals, and Intelligent Software Agents.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xix
Preface xxi
Part 1 Autonomic Beginnings 1
Chapter 1 Autonomic Attributes and the Grand Challenge 3
Introduction 3
Definitions 6
A Quick Guide to the Human Autonomic Nervous System 6
E-Business on Demand 8
Autonomic Computing Elements 10
Self-Configuring 10
Self-Optimizing 11
Self-Healing 12
Self-Protecting 13
Open Standards 13
Autonomic Computing--Why Now? 15
Is Autonomic Computing New? 16
What Happens if it Does not Change? 17
Creating the Autonomic Culture 18
Why is a Culture Important? 18
Is Autonomic Computing Working Today? 19
Same Soup--Different Flavor 20
Summary and Conclusions 21
Notes 22
Chapter 2 Complexity--in All its Forms 23
Introduction 23
Some Examples of Our Complex Society 24
Cartoons are Simple 24
Software Complexity and Disasters 25
What is Complexity? 27
A Complexity Case Study--IBM 29
IBM Transformation--A Summary of Results 30
Complexity in it 32
Simplifying the it Infrastructure 33
Autonomic Computing: one Answer to Complexity 34
Complexity--the Enemy of Cios 34
It Complexity Transformation 36
The Cost of it Complexity 36
Corporate Complexity Assessment 38
Goals 38
Infrastructure Assessments 39
Summary and Conclusions 40
Recommended Reading 41
Notes 41
Chapter 3 Autonomic Products and Applications 43
Introduction 43
IBM's DB2 Database Management System 43
DB2 Today 44
Future Autonomic Functionality in DB2 Releases 46
Autevo from Intamission 47
Autonomic Space Systems 50
Summary and Conclusions 55
Part 2 Industry Demand 57
Chapter 4 The it Industry--An Engine of Growth and Opportunity 59
Introduction 59
A Snapshot Introduction 59
It Industry Segment Fundamentals 61
The Software Generations 64
The Fifth Generation--Almost 66
The Internet--from Whence it Came 67
Slower Economy--Smaller it Budgets 68
Software Predictions 69
Predictions for 2004 and Beyond 70
IBM and on Demand 72
Summary and Conclusions 72
Notes 74
Chapter 5 Fast and Faster 75
Introduction 75
Life at Internet Speed 76
No Patience? 78
Moore's Law 79
Speed in Business 81
Summary and Conclusions 82
Notes 83
Chapter 6 Human Capital 85
Introduction 85
U.S. Population Growth and Employment Trends 85
Occupation Growth 87
The Dynamics of the it Labor Market 89
Origins of it Staff Shortages 89
High-Tech Visas and Legislation 91
Costs of the it Recruitment Crisis 92
Current it Unemployment 92
It Skills Development 94
Keys to a Successful Skills Management Endeavor 96
Skills Management for Autonomic Computing 96
Summary and Conclusions 97
Notes 98
Chapter 7 The New Agenda--E-Business on Demand 99
Introduction 99
E-Business on Demand Challenges 101
E-Business on Demand Operating Environment 102
The Emergence of the E-Business on Demand Enterprise 104
A Brief History of E-Business on Demand 104
E-Business on Demand, A Case Study--Teinos 107
The new Reality: E-Business on Demand is Here to Stay 109
What the New Agenda Requires 109
Summary and Conclusions 113
Part 3 Autonomic Computing--More Detail 117
Chapter 8 AC Architectures 119
Introduction 119
Control Loops 119
Autonomic Component Description 121
Autonomic Manager Collaboration 122
Autonomic Manager Development 123
Architectures--As is and to be 129
Summary and Conclusions 132
Chapter 9 Autonomic Computing and Open Standards 133
Introduction 133
A Brief History of Open Standards 134
A Case for Open Standards--Department of Homeland Security 135
Types of Standards--Proprietary Versus Open 135
Web Services Interoperability Standards Organization 137
Important Standards for Autonomic Computing 139
New Standards for Autonomic Computing 144
Open Standards and the IBM Portfolio 145
The E-Business on Demand Service Provider Business 147
Summary and Conclusions 156
Notes 157
Chapter 10 Autonomic Implementation Considerations 159
Introduction: Take Action--Be Prepared 159
It Staff Obstacles to Acceptance 160
Who is Using Autonomic Computing Today? 161
Evolution, Not Revolution 162
Autonomic Assessment 163
Autonomic and Metrics 166
Development Software 170
Summary and Conclusions 171
Note 171
Chapter 11 Grid Computing--An Enabling Technology 173
What is a Grid? 173
Grid is in Use Today 174
Benefits of Grid Computing 174
Underutilized Resources Can be Exploited 176
What Applications Run on a Gird? 177
Grid Types 179
Software and Licenses 181
Grid and Open Standards 181
Grid and Autonomic Computing 183
Recommended Reading 184
Chapter 12 Autonomic Development Tools 185
Introduction 185
The IBM Emerging Technologies Toolkit 185
Autonomic Computing and Open Source 190
The IBM Commitment to Open Source 193
Autonomic Computing with Open Source 194
Problem Determination--A Log and Trace Analyzer for Autonomic Computing 194
Heterogeneous Workload Management: Business Workload Manager Prototype 195
The Solution Enabler 196
Software Agents 197
Autonomic Agent Technology 200
Summary and Conclusions 202
Note 203
Chapter 13 Independent Software Vendors 205
Challenging Times for Software Vendors 205
The New ISV Agenda 206
Isvs Drive the Autonomic Marketplace 207
Early Adopters and IBM 208
A Sample List of Isvs 208
Tools and Templates 210
Autonomic Computing Business Partner Initiative 211
Autonomic Alliance with Cisco 212
The Acquisition of Think Dynamics 213
Summary and Conclusions 216
Notes 216
Chapter 14 Other Vendors 217
Introduction 217
Sun--NI 218
Microsoft--Dynamic Systems Initiative 221
Microsoft, HP, and the Dynamic Data Center 222
Trustworthy Computing 223
HP--The Adaptive Enterprise 226
Intel--Proactive Computing 228
Autonomic Alliance with Cisco 230
Other Management Software 232
Summary and Conclusions 234
Note 234
Chapter 15 The Tivoli Management Suite--Autonomic Features 235
Introduction 235
Self-Configuring 237
Self-Healing 238
Self-Optimizing 240
Self-Protecting 242
Tivoli Case Studies and Success Stories 244
HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt Kgaa 245
Santix AG 248
Summary and Conclusions 250
Notes 251
Part 4 AC Markets and the Future 253
Chapter 16 Small Business and Personal Computing 255
Introduction 255
The Role of Small Businesses in the Economy 255
The Growth of Small Business Technology 257
IBM and Small Business 258
SMBS and Autonomic Computing 259
Autonomic Personal Computing 262
Autonomic Computing Beyond the it Industry 267
Summary and Conclusions 269
Notes 270
Chapter 17 Autonomic Research Challenges 271
Introduction 271
Research Challenges 272
The Life Cycle of an Autonomic Element 272
Relationships Among Autonomic Elements 274
Scientific Challenges 278
Research Projects in Autonomic Computing 280
University Research Projects in Autonomic Computing 282
Summary and Conclusions 284
Notes 284
Chapter 18 Final Thoughts 285
Introduction 285
It's All About Speed 286
The State of Autonomic Computing Today 287
Then and Now 288
Future Recommendations 289
Conclusions 290
Glossary of Autonomic Terms 293
Index 297
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The term and technology of autonomic computing is unfamiliar to mostIT people. However, it will become familiar and understood after readingthis book. Today, IT organizations are faced with the growing challengeof supporting the needs of the corporate enterprise with a reducedbudgets and persistent or growing computing demands. For manyenterprises, the challenge is compounded by complex architectures anddistributed computing infrastructures that were developed over the last20 years. This situation has caused system management costs to escalatewhile budgets and corporate spending are shrinking.

CIOs and CTOs everywhere are now tasked with reducing the costs ofthe IT organization while continuing to support the ongoing and growingcomputing needs of the enterprise. To succeed, the CIO must find newways to operate the computing infrastructure of the company moreefficiently. Solving this problem requires a new computing model--onethat allows for efficiencies in IT infrastructure and resources. Indeedone such model is now emerging. IBM calls it autonomic computing. Thisis a new methodology for managing enterprise computing environments.Autonomic computing is a new approach that enables software to operateintelligently and dynamically, basing decisions on IT policies andservice requirements. Top hardware vendors, such as IBM, Microsoft,Hewlett Packard and others are looking at how to develop servers,operating systems and system management tools and services thatencompass the fundamental requirements of autonomic computing.


The word "autonomic" meansacting or occurring involuntarily. Autonomics is used to describeanaction or response that occurs without conscious control. In physiology,it relates to the activities controlled by the autonomic nervous system(ANS).

Autonomic computing is the ability to manage your computingenterprise through hardware and software that automatically anddynamically responds to the requirements of your business. This meansself-healing, self-configuring, self-optimizing, and self-protectinghardware and software that behaves in accordance to defined servicelevels and policies. Just like the autonomic nervous system responds tothe needs of the body, the autonomic computing system responds to theneeds of the business.


Autonomic computing is a newapproach to computer and systems management. The purpose is to reducethe cost of managing the IT infrastructure, and at the same time,increase service.

The goals autonomic computing is to reduce the cost of servicethrough far more automated and efficient use of available resources andcapacity. This includes dynamic resource allocation, self-healinghardware and software, and setting service-level agreements according tobusiness needs. Autonomic computing have four basic value propositionsthat can be stated as business goals:

  • Reduced costs--achieved by better and more efficient resource usage,and by reduced system-management (labor) costs.
  • Improved service levels--achieved by dynamic adjustments or tuning ofIT services.
  • Increased agility--achieved by rapid provisioning of new services orresources and scaling of established services.
  • Less complexity--by self-managing and intelligent decision making inIT operations much of the complexity is managed without humanintervention.

There are eight key elements of an autonomic-computing system:

  1. Knowledge of itself, in terms of resources and capabilities--Anautonomic system has knowledge of its components, status, capacity andconnections with other systems to govern itself.
  2. The ability to configure and reconfigure itself--The autonomicsystem is capable of configuring itself and making dynamic adjustmentsto that configuration as its environment changes.
  3. The ability to continuously self-optimize itself--The autonomicsystem monitors its constituent parts and fine-tunes workflow to achieveestablished system goals.
  4. Self-healing capabilities--The autonomic system must be able todiscover problems or potential problems and find alternate ways of usingresources or reconfigure the system to keep functioning smoothly.
  5. Self-protection capabilities--The autonomic system must be able toprotect itself from various types of internal/external attacks andfailures to maintain overall system security and integrity.
  6. The ability to discover knowledge of its environment and context--andto adapt accordingly--The autonomic system must be able to understandhow to best interact with neighboring systems, using available resourcesand adapting to its environment.
  7. The ability to function in a heterogeneous computingenvironment--The autonomic system must be able to function in aheterogeneous world--in other words, it cannot be a proprietarysolution.
  8. The ability to anticipate and adapt to user needs--The autonomicsystem must be able to meet the goals of the business without involvingthe user for data collection, analysis, and decision-making.

The fundamental process is to have autonomic systems that canenforce your computing policies and service-level agreements through theuse of intelligent hardware and software. Maintenance and processingtasks are automated and computing resources are dynamically allocatedfor maximum efficiencies.


With the continuos and unrelenting demands for cost reduction andeconomies of scale that are placed on IT organizations today, newmethods for managing the computing enterprise are essential. ITorganizations must operate as efficient service centers or contend withthe choice of being outsourced. Service centers must operate efficientlyand keep costs low to sustain their business. This requires ITorganizations to operate differently--using new methods. Automating work,using intelligent software, and managing the enterprise with a holisticview are essential today. Autonomic solutions are required forcost-efficient operations--and must be based on the policies andservice-level agreements of the enterprise. The major hardware vendorshave initiatives underway to deliver servers, operating systems, andutilities that are self-configuring, self-optimizing, and self-healing.The ISVs must deliver software that not only meets those requirementsbut add additional value. This leads the major hardware vendors tostrive for automatically adjusting servers and dynamically managingworkload. It also forces independent software vendors (ISVs) ofenterprise management tools to develop autonomic solutions that not onlymeet the same requirements, but also take advantage of this importanttechnology.

The intent of this book is to provide all readers with andunderstanding of the scope, issues, elements and examples of autonomiccomputing and prepare IT for the benefits that can be achieved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2004

    Poorly edited

    Autonomic computing is portrayed by Murch as an important and essential next step in the evolution of computing. In large part to reduce the complexity often present in current computing environments. Sadly, the message is undermined by signs of hasty writing and slipshod proofreading. In the three pages of the Preface, there are 7 typos. Not a reassuring sign for the reader. Especially if you read the blurb on the back cover, and then read the Preface for more information, as part of your deciding whether to get the book or not. The rest of the book contains more typos. Plus, several figures, like Fig. 5.1, are poorly done. They look like screen captures, where the detail is blurred. The figures should have been redrawn, using some graphics package, for greater clarity. Then there are inaccuracies, like this: 'More importantly, despite Microsoft, IBM, and other proprietary software suppliers' rapid involvement, the Internet started life as openly as possible, with shared code as the normal mode.' Well, the Internet's first connection was in 1969. Microsoft was not started till 1975. Six years later. It had nothing to do with the early Internet. And even after Microsoft was founded, for several years, its products were for isolated personal computers, possibly being able to communicate via modems. The implementation of an IP stack in MSDOS did not come till the 1980s. Well alright, you might say. Can we put these aside? What about the overall message? Okay, it is aimed at the management level. For example, you need to know about XML, which is one of the underlying standards used, but you do not necessarily need to know how to use XML itself, though that certainly does not hurt. There is some overlap in content between chapters. Probably unavoidable. It does have the advantage that you can pick an arbitrary chapter to start reading from, and not have to know much about the preceding chapters. At the book's level of discussion, it does furnish a good overview of IBM's efforts in this field. Plus the descriptions of competitors' offerings seems pretty objective. The overall impression given is that much remains to be fleshed out, by the entire computer industry, in terms of building actual autonomic systems.

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