Intelliden is a natural fit with IBM Tivoli Netcool
Like twin storm fronts colliding, two trends are hitting many communications service providers (CSPs) and enterprises today: operational and IT infrastructures are becoming increasingly complex, and organizations increasingly depend on them to deliver key business services.
As a result, there’s a strong new demand for automated, centralized management tools. Tools of this type provide an important layer of abstraction for IT and operation managers—making it easy to ensure that the infrastructure serves business goals, reducing management complexity while also spurring service levels to new heights and driving operating costs to new lows.
For this reason, IBM acquired a major solution provider: Intelliden. Intelliden creates intelligent network automation solutions that give IT powerful, real-time insight into what’s happening in the infrastructure, as well as the features needed to take action in the ways that make best business sense. And because automation is built into the Intelliden portfolio at a deep level, that action can be carried out not via manual processes, but by business-centric policies informed by proven best practices.
Does that value proposition sound familiar? It should, especially to anyone familiar with the IBM Tivoli Netcool service management portfolio, which similarly delivers enhanced visibility, control, and automation for IT and operational infrastructures. The Intelliden suite of tools is thus a natural fit with IBM Tivoli—and a logical extension of IBM’s commitment to helping organizations achieve superior service management by optimizing how IT and operations delivers and supports key services.
In the months to come, as the Intelliden solutions are increasingly integrated with the Tivoli platform, that argument will only get stronger and stronger.
Smart automation delivers trusted network insight and control
Intelliden’s tools are built around this basic principle: the more deeply organizations can leverage automation to manage their network assets in a consistent, swift, and cost-effective fashion, the better the business outcome they are likely to achieve. And, of course, that’s particularly true for CSPs, where the infrastructure is incredibly large and complex and user expectations for service levels are incredibly high.
One good example, for instance, is discovery and reconciliation. Intelliden tools continually scan the IP network, discovering new additions to it and a full range of information pertinent to those additions in each case. For example, as new devices are added, Intelliden tools not only detect them, but also obtain key data from them, such as cards, open ports, serial numbers, configuration information etc. This data is then added to network inventories and presented in a clear, comprehensible fashion via an industry-standard interface—both features that make life much easier for IT managers by keeping them continually apprised.
Or consider network configuration and change management. Enterprise networks are in a constant state of flux; assets ranging from firewalls to database hosts to network switches must all continually be configured to deliver best business value. Intelliden solutions make that process exceptionally fast and cost-effective by allowing configuration to be automated—based on data-driven, customizable templates. Intelliden’s support of comprehensive change histories means that if problems occur with any new configuration, devices can easily be restored to any earlier configuration—without disrupting critical business services. IT governance models, to minimize risk, can be pursued via multi-level approval processes, if necessary. Further oversight can be obtained from configurable reports.
Additionally, Intelliden SmartModels™ are a unique and patented feature of the R-Series platform. SmartModels are built for each combination of device VTMOS, and simplify the complexities and capabilities of disparate configuration languages into a common XML based representation. Unlike the basic script-based approach to device configuration, modeling is the basis for understanding whether a device can support a specific service, its role in the network, and how it is currently being utilized. SmartModels enable standardization of the multi-vendor network environment, ensure accuracy of changes through real-time state awareness, and provide greater scalability and repeatability through data-driven changes.
Compliance represents a fourth area of strength for Intelliden—and in a very comprehensive sense, too, meaning not only government regulations but also industry guidelines and internal protocols in areas such as security. Like IBM Tivoli, Intelliden offerings deliver a closed loop of control in which the whole lifecycle of compliance management is fulfilled and can be continually optimized to yield better and better results. This happens based on a policy engine; compliance policies can either be created from scratch or used out-of-the-box, then validated and enforced. Should policy violations be found, those violations can then be resolved. And Intelliden tools fulfill all of these goals in an incredibly fast and scalable way: they support up to a million validations per hour.
Combine IBM Tivoli Netcool and Intelliden and multiply the value of both portfolios
Going forward, IBM Tivoli Netcool customers will find that the new Intelliden solutions not only deliver impressive business benefits by themselves, but also, by working in concert with IBM Tivoli Netcool tools, extend their value even further.
Consider how Intelliden and Tivoli Netcool solutions might work in concert in a real-world scenario, such as with a major communications service provider. This CSP might already be using leading Tivoli tools, such as IBM Tivoli Netcool Performance Manager to handle performance management and IBM Tivoli OMNIbus and Network Manager to handle fault management. These domains are two key lenses through which overall service assurance can be perceived (and enhanced).
A third lens, however—change and configuration management—can be obtained from the Intelliden suite. Via Intelliden, the CSP gains even more insight into what’s happening in its infrastructure in real time, and even more control over that infrastructure to remediate failures or bottlenecks.
If, for instance, a recent configuration change to one or more network devices turns out to inadvertently create a business problem, the Intelliden tools will inform the CSP of the exact nature of that configuration change and the affected range of devices. Then they empower the CSP to roll back those devices to an earlier configuration state, restoring service and minimizing the impact on the customer experience—possibly even before customers have a chance to notice a problem exists.
Or, alternately, imagine an enterprise of a more conventional nature—one whose infrastructure primarily delivers internal services. Imagine that this enterprise has recently moved to a cloud architecture to accelerate service delivery and dramatically reduce operating and labor costs of many kinds. But for this enterprise to really get ideal business value from the cloud, its virtual network components must be managed both intelligently and automatically—as intelligently and automatically as its virtual servers, virtual storage, and other elements.
Here, too, the Intelliden suite delivers in a way that complements IBM Tivoli. Following the request for a new service, IBM Tivoli tools, such as IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment, might be used to optimally automate virtual server provisioning.
And thanks to rapid, automatic management of network components, such as virtual local area networks (VLANs), provided by Intelliden offerings, our hypothetical cloud could perform important functions such as network isolation and zoning just as optimally. Thus, by working collaboratively with the IBM Tivoli suite, they help to make the cloud faster, more available, and more cost-efficient.