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Extreme thinking helps APS score key wins for IBM

It's no secret that IBM customers are looking for ways to increase their IT system's responsiveness. Simply put, more responsiveness typically equals greater user productivity and satisfaction. And that's where Advanced Performance Services (APS) comes into the picture. The APS system is able to optimize a customers' IT environment at the lowest possible cost--through precise data collection and analysis of critical system resources. That's also where the IBM Extreme Blue™ program comes into the picture.

According to Kevin R Bryant, IBM open systems performance analyst, the opportunity to work with the Extreme Blue internship enabled his team to really refine and perfect APS. The Extreme Blue program's short term, highly focused approach on projects can be just the recipe to jump start a development effort that, for whatever reason, hasn't gotten the priority it needs.

"Quite simply, had we not been given the opportunity to be a part of the Extreme Blue program this summer, I have serious doubts as to whether or not APS would even be in existence today," Bryant says. "We actually used a previous version of APS for quite some time on many customer engagements, but to really accomplish what we had set out to originally do, it was essential to be part of something like the Extreme Blue program."

Bryant claims the entire reason APS was first created was to assist in and reduce the time it takes to do data analysis on customer engagements.

"Saving time on a contract is a huge issue because it enables the customer to save money through reduced labor costs. It also allows us--as performance analysts--to do our job more effectively because we're actually providing quicker recommendations, as opposed to merely crunching data," he says. "So by design, APS is now doing exactly what we had planned."

As it stands now, APS is in full production and is actively being used on customer engagements. In addition, Bryant's team (Peter Rossi, Hunter Presnall and Denny Pichardo), is also working on making APS part of the standard, e-business on demand offering, and continues to work closely with several third-party vendors on adding support for their tools with APS.