Accelerating IT Agility: Lessons from the World
Wide Web

When you share information across IT, you also increase business value

Tivoli Beat. A weekly IBM service management perspective.

Every IT manager is familiar with, and possibly weary of, the phrase "seamless interoperability." But it's clear that going forward, interoperability as a concept is more critical than ever as architectures become increasingly dynamic and automated—think cloud computing.

Today the methods by which interoperability is achieved, however, tend to be relatively limited. Common methods include:

OSLC is Service Management Interoperability: the Next Generation

Does that sound too good to be true? It's not. It's OSLC (Link resides outside of ibm.com) (Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration).

"In recent years, enterprises, integrators, software vendors, and open standards organizations have jointly been pursuing a fundamentally superior idea: linked data to create interoperability that could theoretically work for any two solutions, across all domains."

The case for this offering is straightforward: the more easily, swiftly, and consistently IT organizations can carry out everyday tasks involving production servers, the better the business can save or make money—many of those tasks can be automated.

OSLC, an initiative formally launched in 2009 with IBM as a founding member, aims to solve the general problem of cross-solution integration in a way inspired by an exceptionally interoperable system: the World Wide Web.

Consider that Web sites are information repositories (just like IT solutions), and for the Web to work properly, any Web site can link to any other. Information, in other words, is universally accessible—from any point on the Web to any other point.

What OSLC posits is that any two IT solutions ought to be similarly interoperable, using linked data, a Web-like scheme, and technologies to share information on demand.

To accomplish this, OSLC integrations can be enabled by a platform registry. Solutions notify this registry of their own capabilities and data. They can also query that same registry looking for capabilities or data that they need in order to serve IT purposes. A query from solution A can then be forwarded to the appropriate solution B—a very Web-like lookup process. It's so Web-like, in fact, that it uses many of the same HTTP operations (POST, DELETE, GET, etc.) used by the Web itself.

This means that once rendered OSLC-capable, IT solutions can interoperate far more effectively and universally. They can all simply leverage the shared platform registry to link data as required for particular purposes.

Furthermore, OSLC has already proven to be a success. Since 2009, IBM has been utilizing OSLC in its software development portfolio to help developers more easily get information they need at any point in the development lifecycle. If, for instance, developers need information about the configuration of the test servers in which their software will be running, they can easily get it—then make sure their software will support that configuration. The shared open services functionality that makes this possible spans numerous software development products and solutions, and is collectively known as ‘Jazz (Link resides outside of ibm.com)’.

Introducing Jazz for Service Management

If you discover the recipe for success, why not get as much use out of it as possible? The multi-vendor interoperability initiative that has already worked so well for software development and design can also work for service delivery and service management.

That's why, in the months to come, IBM will be adding OSLC functionality to its service management portfolio and enabling these integrations via Jazz for Service Management, an open and shared set of integration services available to IBM partner or any multi-vendor tools.

While IBM’s service management solutions already offer a long list of integrations, OSLC will take the premise of information sharing to an entirely new level. Loosely coupled OSLC-enabled offerings will be able to interoperate with other OSLC-enabled offerings—whether from IBM Tivoli or a third-party vendor.

The benefits of OSLC to IT operations teams will be tremendous:

Third-party integration means limitless possibilities

OSLC, as an independent set of community defined specifications, allows any application provider, enterprise, integrator, or reseller to OSLC-enable virtually any application. Every time that happens, the power and benefits of OSLC are multiplied beyond the single tool, as data can be shared simply and consistently across tools and organizations for better collaboration, decisions, and workflow.

Take for example this service management scenario demonstrating the power of OSLC:

This is just one scenario organizations can address through the power of OSLC. To learn more about OSLC, or how Jazz for Service Management can help your organization, please join us for an exciting podcast series hosted on the Tivoli User Community (Link resides outside of ibm.com).

If you want to start benefiting from OSLC and Jazz for Service Management today, visit us at IBM developerWorks (Link resides outside of ibm.com). And for more information on OSLC enabled products, early access to beta software, and other offers.

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